This article outlines the benefits of mixing genetics from diverse countries and should not be misinterpreted as anything but that
Expats who have children with Thai people often get together and when the conversation turns to their offspring they are in no doubt – not only are our “mongrel” kids better looking than most of those “pedigree” specimens they are smarter too!
And evidence that came out recently certainly seems to back up the view that kids with a diverse cultural heritage have all the advantages. In fact farangs who have procreated in Thailand should be thanked for what they are doing for the human race.
Children of parents who are more distantly related tend to be taller and smarter than their pure bred peers. Yes foreigners in Thailand producing the generations of tomorrow are improving the gene pool dramatically leading to a better tomorrow for all!
Until the study was released last year the evidence tended to be anecdotal. We all saw our children and thought…blimey they are beautiful with all the best characteristics of the Thai and the foreigner rolled into one sensational package.
They are taller than the Thai but have the great bone structure associated with the Thai face. And they have attributes of both sets of intelligences that makes them brainier. Also their common sense of values taking the best of both worlds makes them nicer to be around, more grounded and more informed than their insular and less diverse cultural cousins back home.
But were they just brainier than the pure Thai kids or smarter than the ones with two foreign parents as well. They certainly seemed to be…..
I noticed this phenomenon with my own daughter. As soon as she left the womb – six weeks early by C-section incidentally, the Thai wife was impatient – she was obviously going to be beautiful. The wife was after all good looking and clever in a way I was not – she always seemed to have a sixth sense that I was up to no good behind her back, and was usually right!
So my first born grew up and though she had the benefit of international school she could have taught herself if the truth be known. She started telling me what was right and wrong at age two. At school she won the form prize every single year. In Year 11 she received some of the very top marks in IGCSE results in the world in several subjects. She left after Year 13 with the Valedictorian Cup for best all round student in the school. She was a model for Garnier but her mathematical genius told her to use her brain not her looks in employment. She studied Economics at Warwick in the UK – a first of course – then got a scholarship to Oxford to do her masters. She now earns a fortune on the equities desk at Canary Wharf.
My son who has a brilliant analytical mind and high IQ was born a couple of years later – he was far too smart for his teachers and left early to seek his fortune as a record producer in England where he continued his studies. He is another who has done modeling work but prefers to use his considerable brains to earn his living.
But that’s just my anecdotal contribution, what of the evidence that exists for the advantages of having children with diverse gene backgrounds.
A major study published out of the respected University of Edinburgh found that there were only four traits that were correlated with genetic diversity – but they are vital ones. They are height, lung capacity, general cognitive ability and educational attainment.
That roughly says our kids will be taller, fitter and brainier. (The good looking aspect goes without saying – it’s plain to see).
The Guardian newspaper reported that: “The children of parents who are more distantly related tend to be taller and smarter than their peers. Height and intelligence may be increasing as a growing number of people are marrying from more distant parts of the world.
The study was far reaching – it looked at the genetic background and health of more than 350,000 individuals from 100 communities across four continents.
Nathan Richardson, head of molecular and cellular medicine at the Medical Research Council which funded the study, said: “Most people would believe a diverse gene-pool is a good thing but the discovery that height is associated with diversity wouldn’t have been foreseen.
Dr Peter Joshi of the University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the paper, said: “Our research answers questions first posed by Darwin as to the benefits of genetic diversity. Our next step will be to hone in on the specific parts of the genome that most benefit from diversity.”
The study, published in the journal Nature, used genetic data to look for instances of when people had inherited identical copies of genes from both their mother and their father – an indicator that their ancestors were related. Then they compared this relatedness to measure 16 biomedical traits.
And even better for the world at large was the news that foreigners in Thailand were doing their bit for the human race – Jim Wilson, Reader in Population and Disease Genetics at the university and an author of the study said the findings suggest that “outbreeding” would have had advantages over the course of human evolution.
He added: “A smarter prehistoric man would have a survival advantage and we can of course imagine circumstances where the taller you are the better chance you have of survival”.
The results of the survey could also go some way to explain what is known as the “Flynn effect” or the increase in intelligence from one generation to the next documented through the last century.
Surely now that more and more farangs are doing their bit for humanity by sowing their seed in Thailand we can look forward to an ever improving human race.
The world should be thankful to us.