Thursday, August 04, 2011

Culture in your DNA

“Dad, when people change cultures, does that affect their DNA? Like when the aborigines moved to NZ and became Maoris?” - Michael.

We were on our way home from an appointment with the visiting cardiologist at the Royal Hobart. (All good as far as they can tell). I said “That's a great question, but the aborigines didn't go to New Zealand”. Michael claimed he had read it in a book. I said as far as I knew the Maoris came from the Pacific to New Zealand in around 1000AD, and they called their home island Hawaiki. This (although a bit shaky) had enough detail to convince him I knew what I was talking about.

I told him that the aborigines did have a big cultural change when white people came this country with guns, smallpox and sheep. Very few aboriginals still live a traditional life, mostly they have embraced or been forced into a western way of life. But no, it would have no effect on their DNA as far I know.

Michael was very patient while we waited for the doctor - we had a 2.20 appointment and went in at about 3.30, which always happens. He was unfazed by the chest ultrasound and spoke to the doctor very confidently about a few odd pains he's had - which we think are just normal stitch from running and so on. I was very proud of him.

And then on the way home he came out with his super question. What a kid.

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