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Scientists Find Gene That Controls Type of Earwax in People
NY Times ^ | January 30, 2006 | NICHOLAS WADE

Posted on 01/30/2006 3:02:26 AM PST by Pharmboy

Earwax may not play a prominent part in human history but at least a small role for it has now been found by a team of Japanese researchers.

Earwax comes in two types, wet and dry. The wet form predominates in Africa and Europe, where 97 percent or more of people have it, and the dry form among East Asians. The populations of South and Central Asia are roughly half and half. By comparing the DNA of Japanese with each type, the researchers were able to identify the gene that controls which type a person has, they report in today's issue of Nature Genetics.

snip

The dry form is quite common in Native Americans, confirming other genetic evidence that their ancestors migrated across the Bering Strait from Siberia 15,000 years ago.

snip

But earwax seems to have the very humble role of being no more than biological flypaper, preventing dust and insects from entering the ear. Since it seems unlikely that having wet or dry earwax could have made much difference to an individual's fitness, the earwax gene may have some other, more important function. Dr. Yoshiura and his colleagues suggest that the gene would have been favored because of its role in sweating.

They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated, since populations with dry earwax, such as those of East Asia, tend to sweat less and have little or no body odor, while the wet earwax populations of Africa and Europe sweat more and so may have more body odor. Several Asian features, like small nostrils, are conjectured to be adaptations to the cold. Less sweating, the Japanese authors suggest, may be another adaptation to the cold in which the ancestors of East Asian peoples are thought to have lived.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Japan; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: earwax; godsgravesglyphs; humanevolution; races
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Hmmmm...mine is wet sometimes and dry others.
1 posted on 01/30/2006 3:02:28 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: blam; PatrickHenry; SunkenCiv

Not for your ping lists necessarily, but your interest.


2 posted on 01/30/2006 3:03:19 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy
Hmmmm...mine is wet sometimes and dry others.

Does that mean you're a hybrid?

3 posted on 01/30/2006 3:05:04 AM PST by Sally'sConcerns (Native Texan now in SW Ok.)
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To: Pharmboy

Finally, something useful out of the NYT.

Well, maybe.


4 posted on 01/30/2006 3:05:17 AM PST by leadpenny
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To: Pharmboy

Wow, I can sleep at nights now!

j/k I actually think this is very interesting.


5 posted on 01/30/2006 3:06:14 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Pharmboy; Junior
Thanks. Junior may want to archive it. This is not for the evo list, but I know of another list that may be appropriate ...
6 posted on 01/30/2006 3:10:44 AM PST by PatrickHenry (True conservatives revere Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, and the Founding Fathers.)
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To: Pharmboy
They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated, since populations with dry earwax, such as those of East Asia, tend to sweat less and have little or no body odor, while the wet earwax populations of Africa and Europe sweat more and so may have more body odor.

So I guess French people squirt liquid earwax streams sideways?

7 posted on 01/30/2006 3:11:00 AM PST by ovrtaxt ("I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."- Reagan)
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To: longshadow; VadeRetro; balrog666; Senator Bedfellow; RadioAstronomer; js1138; whattajoke; Shryke; ..
"Bodily Fluids and Secretions" Ping List
Don't ask to be added to or dropped from this list; I know what you like.

8 posted on 01/30/2006 3:12:33 AM PST by PatrickHenry (True conservatives revere Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, and the Founding Fathers.)
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To: Pharmboy

Shouldn't this be in "Breaking News"?


9 posted on 01/30/2006 3:13:22 AM PST by DugwayDuke (Stupidity can be a self-correcting problem.)
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To: Pharmboy
It's NOT genetic!!!!

Oops, wrong thread...

;o)
10 posted on 01/30/2006 3:18:58 AM PST by LIConFem (A fronte praecipitium, a tergo lupi.)
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To: DugwayDuke

Only on a slow newsday...I did hit the "Earwax ping list," though.


11 posted on 01/30/2006 3:19:26 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

Please allow me to be the first:

This is HUGH and SERIES!!!

(It's good to know that the gene folks are working on the important stuff first.)


12 posted on 01/30/2006 3:20:07 AM PST by Pete'sWife (Dirt is for racing... asphalt is for getting there.)
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To: Sally'sConcerns

I must be...at least I know my Y-chromosome comes from Sctoland.


13 posted on 01/30/2006 3:20:14 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: LIConFem

LOL!!


14 posted on 01/30/2006 3:21:07 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy
Mine is wet after a shower.
15 posted on 01/30/2006 3:23:09 AM PST by Ninian Dryhope ("Bush lied, people dyed. Their fingers." The inestimable Mark Steyn)
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To: Pharmboy

FWIW, I was once working in the lab, searching for resonant frequencies of piezoelectric crystals, which we had groen * hand polished, and while tuning the freqs my ear emitted a huge ball of earwax. EUREKA! Funny how so many discoveries occur when one really isn't searching for that thing anyways.


16 posted on 01/30/2006 3:27:57 AM PST by Cvengr (<;^) Adversity in life and death is inevitable, stress is optional.)
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To: Pete'sWife
Kid: What did you do today, Daddy?
Father: I studied ear wax, Son.

What a role model!

17 posted on 01/30/2006 3:28:11 AM PST by Carolinamom
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To: Pharmboy

http://www.tchain.com/otoneurology/disorders/hearing/wax2.html


Ear wax defined


Ear wax is a normal product of the ear which protects the skin of the ear from water and infection. Ear wax is formed from wax glands in the external ear canal as well as other components such as dead skin, sweat, and oil. The primary component of ear wax is keratin (derived from dead skin). Ear wax thus differs slightly from cerumen which is the secretory product of the ceruminous glands in the external auditory canal (Hawke, 2002).

Different individuals vary considerably in the amount and consistency of their ear wax. There are two types described, wet and dry, which are inherited. Dry wax is common in Asia, while wet wax is common in western Europe. Dry wax, also known as "rice-bran wax", contains by weight about 20% lipid (fat). Oddly enough, rice-bran wax is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer (Hawke, 2002).

Wet wax consists of approximately 50% lipid (Burkhart et al, 2000). Wet wax can be either soft or hard, the hard wax being more likely to be impacted. While ear wax is generally simply felt to be a nuisance, in medieval times, ear wax was used as a component of pigment for illumination of manuscripts (Petrakis, 2000). Too little ear wax increases the risk of infection (Fairey et al, 1985). Too much wax also increases the incidence of infection and hearing loss. So, you want just enough.

While we are not aware of a study of this, some people (and some ears) are "wax producers", and others remain wax free without much maintenence.

What can go wrong with ear wax ?
Wax can plug up the ear, causing hearing to be reduced, and a full feeling in the ear
Wax can trap bacteria in the ear, leading to infection. This is usually painful or at least itchy.
Ear wax can obscure vision when the doctor looks in your ears, possibly hiding a dangerous process.


18 posted on 01/30/2006 3:31:36 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Pharmboy
HUH?
19 posted on 01/30/2006 3:45:17 AM PST by Ken H
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To: Pharmboy

lets hope we didnt pay a fortune in taxes to fund this study.


20 posted on 01/30/2006 3:46:09 AM PST by Vaquero (time again for the Crusades.)
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To: LIConFem
It's NOT genetic!!!!

It's determined by the way you were raised and by childhood experiences.

21 posted on 01/30/2006 3:46:53 AM PST by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Pharmboy

Whew, glad these scientists have this solved. Now they can move onto some serious study - navel lint.


22 posted on 01/30/2006 3:48:03 AM PST by Condor51 (Better to fight for something than live for nothing - Gen. George S. Patton)
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To: PatrickHenry

LMBO!

Some interesting topics covered under that ping list, I'm sure...


23 posted on 01/30/2006 3:50:12 AM PST by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [or perhaps just reading comprehesion challenged])
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To: Condor51
Science is on it!
24 posted on 01/30/2006 4:00:32 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

Genes for earwax but not for the stuff between the ears.


25 posted on 01/30/2006 4:01:34 AM PST by aculeus
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To: Pharmboy

That's just a little too much information.


26 posted on 01/30/2006 4:01:51 AM PST by Blogger
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To: Blogger

...and I held back.


27 posted on 01/30/2006 4:06:59 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy
Wow! Didn't know they had that solved.

Hmmm, I guess the last unsolved body mystery for the scientists is... Toe Jam!

;-)

28 posted on 01/30/2006 4:08:07 AM PST by Condor51 (Better to fight for something than live for nothing - Gen. George S. Patton)
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To: Pharmboy

Dry or wet. What about chunky?


29 posted on 01/30/2006 4:08:39 AM PST by Rebelbase (I love global warming in the winter.)
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To: Pharmboy
I must be...at least I know my Y-chromosome comes from Sctoland.

Aw, too bad about your Y-chromosome coming from Sctoland because if it had originated in Scotland we might have been related in some manner.

I'm so disappointed because I'm always on the lookout for long lost relatives even if they are somewhat removed.

30 posted on 01/30/2006 4:15:46 AM PST by Sally'sConcerns (Native Texan now in SW Ok.)
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To: Sally'sConcerns

Aw geez...it's Mnoday morning.


31 posted on 01/30/2006 4:25:19 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

Mine used to be wet when I lived on the Gulf coast. Now that I am in the desert, it's dry.


32 posted on 01/30/2006 4:28:50 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly With God Micah 6:8)
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To: Pharmboy

"They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated"

Does this mean that you only have to clean the wax out of your ears when your BO gets really strong? Who woulda thought it?

I wonder how many millions were pissed away on this research grant?


33 posted on 01/30/2006 5:01:39 AM PST by DH
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To: Pharmboy
I am more interested in removing earwax myself,,,,lol

34 posted on 01/30/2006 5:03:37 AM PST by meanie monster (http://guptonator.myvideochat.net)
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To: Pharmboy

Aren't they those planes that fly around and provide radar tracking and early warning in combat areas?

Oh, EARwax! I didn't hear it right the first time.


35 posted on 01/30/2006 5:04:23 AM PST by SlowBoat407 (The best stuff happens just before the thread snaps.)
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To: Pharmboy; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; SandyInSeattle; Darksheare; tiamat; ...


36 posted on 01/30/2006 5:05:53 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("Ooga Chakka, Hooga Hooga, Ooga Chakka, Hooga Hooga" --D. Hasselhoff)
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To: Pharmboy
They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated

Are those separate ping lists? One for earwax and one for armpit odor?

37 posted on 01/30/2006 5:17:02 AM PST by Mr. Brightside
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To: Condor51

....."Now they can move onto some serious study - navel lint".........

Then onto toe jamb!


38 posted on 01/30/2006 5:18:16 AM PST by aShepard
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To: Pharmboy

Some types of earwax are used for sweet roll frosting recipes.


39 posted on 01/30/2006 5:18:19 AM PST by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Pharmboy
Can't be true. We are all the same. No differences in groups in fact groups do not exist nor does any stereotype.

Is this not what the left tells us all the time. If we believe that there is a difference in ear wax then what next, IQ?

40 posted on 01/30/2006 5:26:54 AM PST by Wurlitzer (The difference between democrats and terrorists is the terrorists don't claim to support the troops)
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To: Fester Chugabrew
***Some types of earwax are used for sweet roll frosting recipes.***

No offense, but remind me never to have dinner at your house.

41 posted on 01/30/2006 5:27:29 AM PST by Condor51 (Better to fight for something than live for nothing - Gen. George S. Patton)
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To: Pharmboy

My favorite rascists - the japanese
still making the south africans look like pikers.
Only they would have a study showing the superiority of asian earwax to european and african earwax ( and body odor).

Guess they haven't woke up and smelled the kimshi.


42 posted on 01/30/2006 5:42:18 AM PST by Waverunner
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To: Pharmboy

I've read that Indians in the east have a higher incident of 'wet wax' than do Indians in the west.


43 posted on 01/30/2006 5:50:04 AM PST by blam
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To: Pharmboy

Quick, alert Bertie Bott!

Mark


44 posted on 01/30/2006 5:51:27 AM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: Ken H

 

All is not lost.



45 posted on 01/30/2006 5:53:58 AM PST by Fintan (One day we'll look back on this and plow into a parked car.)
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To: Pharmboy

And some folks thought this research would yield no useful products. Imagine - genetically engineered ear wax.


46 posted on 01/30/2006 6:09:53 AM PST by jimfree (Freep and Ye shall find.)
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Mine is a thick paste that causes hearing loss at least 4 times a year.


47 posted on 01/30/2006 6:13:06 AM PST by LukeL
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To: Pharmboy

Marginal Genetic Genealogy ping?

NAAAAAAAAHHH

< |:)~


48 posted on 01/30/2006 6:13:46 AM PST by martin_fierro (Hines Ward is my son! OK, not really, but it'd be nice.)
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To: Mr. Brightside; PatrickHenry

I would think that PatrickHenry has them on one list...


49 posted on 01/30/2006 6:15:40 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

I think if a person waits long enough between showers all people are created equal in the arm pit smell arena...


50 posted on 01/30/2006 6:19:01 AM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit our sister.. but we knew what to do.. we gathered rocks and squashed her!)
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