We’re at peak haplotype

Credit: Razib Khan
Credit: Razib Khan

Sometimes when I see treatments of the history and development of evolutionary genetics from outsiders I notice how jargon creeps into their descriptions in a way that’s not adding much value. For example, several times over the past year I’ve seen people refer to how one can construct genetic clusters using “haplotypes.” The fact is that haplotypes are not necessary for the construction of genetic clusters; any form of genetic variation will do. Haplotypes can add something of value, but they’re not necessary. Terms such as “haplotypes” or “SNPs” might percolate into broader public discussion, but too often it seems that they’re used like the term Abracadabra!, an incantation.

But it did get to me thinking, how common has utilization of the term haplotype become in the scientific literature? When asking a question like this I did what I usually do: go to Google Scholar and see how many hits I get for a term by year. As you can see the use of the term levelled off in the mid-2000s, as the HapMap took off and became part of the background furniture of human population genomics.

Here’s the raw data….

Year Hits
1970 27
1980 1110
1990 2500
1995 3810
2000 6830
2001 7730
2002 8900
2003 11300
2004 13900
2005 14600
2006 18100
2007 18700
2008 20800
2009 21000
2010 21300
2011 21700
2012 21600
2013 20300
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