Debunking the biggest genetic myth of the human tongue
In 1940, the prominent geneticist Alfred Sturtevant published a paper saying the ability to roll one’s tongue is based on a dominant gene. In 1952, Philip Matlock disproved Sturtevant’s findings, demonstrating that seven out of 33 identical twins didn’t share their sibling’s gift. If rolling the tongue was genetic, then identical twins would share the trait. Sturtevant later acknowledged his mistake.
But, of course, it stayed in the textbooks. Apparently, the skill can be taught to some people, but …
This doesn’t mean tongue rolling has no genetic “influence,” McDonald says. More than one gene could contribute to tongue-rolling abilities. Perhaps the same genes that determine the tongue’s length or muscle tone are involved. But there isn’t a single dominant gene that’s responsible. More.
In short, nobody knows, and—happily—it doesn’t matter. No medical disorder is involved.
Fun but true: I, O’Leary for News, 65, just tried tongue rolling in front of a mirror in the elite and highly sophisticated offices of Uncommon Descent News a couple minutes ago. For the first time in my life. I have never heard of the “skill” before; people used to work for a living at one time and some of us still do.
And I discovered that I can do it. But have no intention of ever asking kinsfolk to try. Or asking anyone anywhere to take lessons in it.
Just as Darwinism is due for a shakeup, maybe Mendelian genetics is too.
I used to sit in classrooms hearing Mendelian genetics expounded that really didn’t make sense to me, unless one was trying to grow beans, as Gregor Mendel was—quite properly and honourably—doing.
You see, the classroom example I was taught involved brown vs. blue eyes. Brown eyes were supposed to be dominant over blue eyes. But in my own environment, when people with blue eyes married people with brown eyes, all the children could end up with blue eyes.
However, I quickly learned to shut up and pass.
Not any more, though. It sounds like a lot of people need to talk, seriously for once.
Follow UD News at Twitter!