September 25, 2012
to be posted on

Dr. James Watson
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Road
Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724
516 376 8800

Dear Dr. Watson:
While reading The Science of Human Perfection by Nathaniel Comfort I was reminded that you are truly one who has gone boldly where nobody went before.  Rather more timidly I have found myself having gone to such a place and I must say it’s lonely out here.

The issue is of consanguinity.  Patrick Bateson has observed that there is such a thing as inbreeding – which is destructive – and excessive outbreeding – which also entails a penalty, for instance histocompatibility group complex genes can have too little diversity and too much, neither consistent with the best immune capability.  Bateson calls this Goldilocks degree of consanguinity “optimal outbreeding.”

My interest is in fertility.  Not medical intervention or identified abnormality, just the usual variation.  It turns out that maximal fertility also follows “optimal outbreeding” logic.  This principle has been confirmed with multiple scientific papers in humans and in animals.  There is a perfectly good evolutionary reason it should be true.  I make bold to attach a little summary I did for Robin Fox, the renowned anthropologist.  A bit of it is unpublished data, but anything you find on you can consider public property. 

I have a paper on the fruit fly experiment mentioned in the attachment, but it has languished I guess about a year on the desk of one possible reviewer or another.  By and large they don’t say yes and don’t say no.  They don’t say anything.  I doubt they are busily trying to reproduce the experiment.  I don’t know what they are thinking. 

Doesn’t anybody out there have grandchildren?  Doesn’t anybody care what’s going to happen to that generation as populations implode? 

You’re a tough cookie.  Any advice?  What do you think?


M. Linton Herbert MD 

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