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BOOK REVIEWS Methods and Theories ofAnthropological Genetics. Edited by M. H. Crawford and P. L. Workman. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1973. Pp. xviii+509. $20.00 (cloth). The process ofchange in science need not be progressive and constructive or a result of a new development. Sometimes change is "created" by sheer faddism and, like Aladdin's lamp, merely to provide a new veneer to an old face. A good example is the name changing of disciplines because of suspected stigmata or of fears of stagnation related to "classic" connotations. This may occur when people believe that the name of the discipline is failing to attract bright students or losing the attention of funding agencies: they seldom examine the quality of the name bearers of the discipline. So, in a few medical schools, "anatomy" is replaced by a department of biological structure, physiology becomes biophysics, embryology is reborn as developmental biology, etc. Now there appears "anthropological genetics," which is actually synonymous with human genetics as viewed or expressed by some anthropologists. The past 30 years have witnessed a remarkable technological and analytical mushrooming of investigations in the genetics of human populations, resulting in a branching off of specialized subdisciplines and journals, a proliferation of textbooks, and the formation of new departments in universities. In this volume's opening chapter, Roberts (p. 1) describes the dramatic growth of activity : "The prompt harvest of the serological field, yielding more and more blood group systems; the vigor that would stem from the fertilization of human genetics by the slowly accumulated pollen of the general theory of population genetics ; the great flowering of technical advance that was to display undreamed-of richness of genetic variability in man; and the computer revolution that was to provide the power for (1) the cultivation of models of genetic structure and (2) the evolution of populations of previously unattainable complexity. For physical anthropology, the outcome was a great stimulus by human genetics." Early in 1971, a symposium entitled "Methods in Anthropological Genetics" was arranged in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the School of American Research. Some geneticists and anthropologists were assembled (for the rath time?) "for a discussion of the methods and theories that arise from a common concern with the study of variation within and among human populations." Two of the original contributions do not appear in this volume, while a number of those published were solicited "to fill the more obvious gaps" of unrepresented areas. As is the case with many such edited publications, the quality and style of the papers vary considerably. Much of the content is review in nature, with few new ideas or data expressed. In fact, quite a number of the contributions have played no part in the development of methods and concepts in genetics; Morton, Be144 I Book Reviews noist, Livingstone, Roberts, and Spuhler are notable exceptions. However, the total of the areas of human genetic interest blanketed provides a useful survey of recent and current research activities in human genetics and displays many of the weaknesses and strengths of existing knowledge. The volume includes papers on gene-frequency differences in human populations ; the use of the omnipresent blood gene markers; studies on isolate and hybrid populations and inbreeding; and demographic methods. The measurement of population distances and computer simulations are discussed in a number of papers. A number of geographic populations are assayed and compared , and the studies on population structures in Micronesia by Morton and his colleagues are models of excellence that budding anthropologists in this field may attempt to emulate. In general, this compendium is a useful source book for graduate students embarking on genetic research in physical anthropology. It is not as comprehensive and encompassing as The Genetics ofHuman Populations by Cavalli-Sforza and Bodmer, and it overlaps considerably with both The Assessment of Population Affinities in Man edited by Weiner and Huizinga and TLĀ· Structure of Human Populations edited by Harrison and Boyce. In the latter two volumes, papers similar to a few in the book under review appear, written by the same authors. Ronald Singer University of Chicago Brain Control: A Critical Examination of Brain Stimulation and Psychosurgery. By Elliot S. Valenstein. New York...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 144-145
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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