Category Archives: genetics

Inbreeding depression in man

by Greg Mayer In a paper soon to appear in Nature, Peter K. Joshi and a cast of thousands show that inbreeding can make you shorter, ‘dumber’, and less likely to succeed in school, but not a blowhard. In a study of hundreds of thousands of people from dozens of populations from all over the […]

A miracle? Sawfish born of a virgin mother

It’s been known for a while that many species, including some vertebrates, can reproduce without sexual reproduction. But of course to observe this, one usually needs to keep animals in the lab and then see them produce offspring without ever having mated. But a new article in Current Biology by Andrew Fields et al. (reference below, abstract […]

Is natural selection making the Dutch taller?

A piece by Carl Zimmer in Thursday’s New York Times called my attention to a new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B (reference and link to download below) by Gert Stulp et al. on the remarkable height of Dutch people and some evidence that natural selection (probably via sexual selection) is acting to promote […]

Mae-Wan Ho and Suzan Mazur: the blind leading the blind about evolution

Mae-Wan Ho is a scientist known, to me at least, for unproductive work: dissing GMOs and biotechnology and, especially, relentlessly attacking “neo-Darwinism”, the modern theory of evolution. Ho is also head of an unfortunately named organization; as Wikipedia notes: Ho is the director of the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), an interest group that campaigns […]

How often do genes move between distantly related species?

Did you read Matthew’s post on the okapi yesterday? I hope so, because I’m worried, in view of the paucity of comments on science posts, that people are skipping them. Perhaps that just reflects the dearth of things that non-scientist readers have to say. I hope that’s the answer, for it takes about four or five times […]

Genetics humor

Courtesy of reader Doris. I won’t explain this, as it would take too long and involve showing why the caption, though funny, is wrong. If you know genetics, you can have a muted chuckle:   These are weird goats, you must admit. And there is at least one goat farmer among the readers who can […]

Britain: a marvelous mongrel mix of migrants

JAC: I asked Matthew—actually, I twisted his arm—to tell us a bit about the new paper in Nature dissecting the genetic composition of inhabitants of the UK, which showed lovely genetic clusters reflecting history and ancestry. Of course, as the “race critics” would assure us, those clusters are only social constructs! by Matthew Cobb One of the key issues in […]

Francis Crick was a fricking genius—and Matthew’s new book

I am reading a pre-publication copy of Matthew Cobb’s new book about the genetic code, for he asked me if I could provide a blurb. Now, I never tout a book unless I’ve read the whole thing, but in this case it’s a labor of love. His book is called Life’s Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race […]

Riddle me this: how did these twin sisters come about?

These are twins: two girls (now women, really) born at the same time from the same mother. They’re clearly not identical twins, but are they twins in the sense of having the same father? It is known, after all, that a single “litter” of humans can be fathered by more than one male—if the woman had […]

William Lane Craig goes after me about Adam and Eve

O frabjous day! Just when I thought I had nothing to say today—and these days happen—Ceiling Cat (praise be unto Him) sent me something interesting in an email from reader Brian. Brian called my attention to the latest “Reasonable Faith” podcast by theologian William Lane Craig, a broadcast called “The historical Adam and Eve.” It’s 14.5 […]


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