A visit with Dick Lewontin

by Greg Mayer While on the East Coast to attend the Evolution 2019 meetings in Providence, Rhode Island, I also stopped for a few days at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Jerry’s and my alma mater), and got a chance to visit with Dick Lewontin, Jerry’s Ph.D. advisor, and my de jure Ph.D. advisor (my […]

Teaching Evolution: Richard C. Lewontin: The genetic basis of evolutionary change

by Greg Mayer Our seventh installment of Teaching Evolution is an extract from The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change by Richard C. Lewontin. As regular WEIT readers will know, Dick was Jerry’s Ph.D. dissertation advisor (and mine too in the de jure sense, since my de facto advisor, Ernest E. Williams was retired). In this […]

More on biology and race

by Greg Mayer Jerry posted yesterday on an article at Quillette by Bo Winegard, Ben Winegard and Brian Boutwell on biology and race, commending it for its sensibleness. I thought I’d chime in with my own thoughts. Jerry’s a population geneticist and I’m a herpetologist, but our views turn out to be quite similar. So, […]

Dick Lewontin and Tomoko Ohta nab the Crafoord Prize

I’m so pleased: my Ph.D advisor, evolutionary geneticist Dick Lewontin, has received the prestigious Crafoord Prize in Biosciences this year, along with Japanese theoretician Tomoko Ohta. The press release announcing it (and describing their contributions) is here, and there’s also a video that you can see by clicking on the screenshot at the bottom. Lewontin made major contributions […]

The human genome ten years on (part 2) – it ain’t necessarily so

by Greg Mayer In a post a couple of months ago, Matthew took note of the tenth anniversary of the completion of the draft human genome, noting that Nature had published a retrospective.  Matthew rightfully took issue with the dreadful “blueprint” metaphor for the genome, but also concisely noted the meager medical results: …despite all […]

More on Dick Lewontin and WEIT: what’s the deal with natural selection?

Several days ago I called attention to Richard Lewontin’s review of WEIT and several other books in The New York Review of Books.  In it, Dick (excuse the informality, but he was my Ph.D advisor) praises the book but takes me to task for implying that the evidence for natural selection is as strong as […]

Dick Lewontin reviews Brown, Gibson, Darwin, and Coyne in the NYRB

Richard Lewontin (who, I confess, was my Ph.D. advisor at Harvard) reviewed WEIT and three other books in the latest New York Review of Books (Janet Browne’s Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography, James Costa’s The Annotated Origin,  Greg Gibson’s  It Takes a Genome: How a Clash between Our Genes and Modern Life is Making […]

Dick Lewontin is 80 today

My Ph.D. advisor, mentor, and friend Richard C. “Dick” Lewontin turns 80 today.  Still active at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, churning out pieces for The New York Review of Books (here’s a good exemplar), and chopping wood on his Vermont farm, let no one say that Dick has reached his dotage.  Distressing to the […]

Coat color in wolves

by Greg Mayer An alert reader has directed my attention to an interesting paper on coat color in wolves (abstract only without subscription) in today’s issue of Science by Tovi Anderson of Stanford and 14 colleagues from the US, Canada, Italy, and Sweden. Coat color in wolves is a polygenic trait affected by age, but […]