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Posts tagged with "Genetics"

  • The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
    David Quammen

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    An engaging history reveals the scientific struggle to understand horizontal gene transfer

    Eight percent of the human genome originated in virus genomes, including genes now essential to human life. This is just one insight gleaned from the current deluge of genome data that is providing ever more evidence for what we have long known to be true about microorganisms: The transfer of genetic material from one organism… Read More
  • Extended Heredity: A New Understanding of Inheritance and Evolution
    Russell Bonduriansky and Troy Day

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    A pair of evolutionary biologists takes a closer look at nongenetic inheritance

    In the 19th century, August Weismann severed the tails of mice, observed no reduction in tail length among their offspring, and declared Lamarckian inheritance refuted. Had he instead removed “teeth” from the amoeba Difflugia corona, he would have found reliable inheritance of the disfigurement. The amoeba experiment was conducted by Herbert Jennings in 1937, but… Read More
  • Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity
    Theodore M. Porter

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    Genetics in the Madhouse

    Decades before Gregor Mendel studied pea plants or Thomas Hunt Morgan cultivated fruitflies, an isolated but vital international community gathered enormous bodies of data on hereditary traits. As Theodore Porter describes in his fascinating and original Genetics in the Madhouse, physicians and state officials tasked with overseeing insane asylums throughout the 19th century attempted to… Read More
  • She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity
    Carl Zimmer

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    A fascinating history of heredity research reveals the field’s highs and lows

    With hundreds of ancient human genome sequences at our fingertips and millions of contemporary samples provided by customers of consumer genetics companies, now—more than ever before—we are able to discover, decipher, and interpret mixing, migration events, and genetic variants in human populations. Into this zeitgeist enters Carl Zimmer’s most enjoyable new book, She Has Her… Read More