Tagged genes

Genes, Memes, and the Mess of Cultural Evolution

Next to the Genome, Culture is a Mess, and Its Evolution a Much Harder Puzzle

Okay, so what are memes? This is a term invented 30 years ago by Richard Dawkins, to try to find an equivalent for genes in cultural evolution. The term is now in general usage among those who study cultural evolution, and it has a certain usefulness.

However, it’s a mess compared to the concept of gene. A gene is Read more

Jim’s Genome, and Yours

Welcome to the Age of Personal Genomics

I had a celebrity sighting in mid-town Manhattan a few weeks ago. It was unmistakable: the unkempt sparse white hair, the glasses slipping a bit on the nose, the eyes intense in conversation, the head leaning into the world—this was James Watson, who 55 years ago, with the late Francis Crick, played around with some cardboard cutouts representing nucleic acids and (with some help from Rosie Franklin’s X-rays) built the strange spiral that changed the world.

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