It’s not creation, but it’s a technical achievement full of promise.
To say that Craig Venter’s latest contribution is garnering hype would be one of the understatements of the year. The paper, whose title begins “Creation of a Bacterial Cell…” was published in the print version of Science on July 2—Daniel Gibson was the first of many authors, Venter the last—but it had already appeared online on May 20 and generated a lot of comment, not least of all by Venter himself. Read more
Some thoughtful comments, and some attempted answers.
The comments on my last posting, “We Can’t All Be Mozart,” were so thoughtful and interesting that I decided to post another blog on this. To my general claim that innate talent matters, I opposed a fact close to home that seems to contradict it: I have two grown daughters, Read more
Genius may be 90 percent perspiration, but it helps to have the right starting point.
A comment by Jack Davis on my last blog entry leads me to write something about talent, genes, environment, and how we succeed. Jack asks about a new book by David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong. Read more
Can genes explain brain disorders? Yes. Sometimes.
Over the past few weeks two articles have shown the promise and the difficulty of studying brain genes. One appears in the New England Journal of Medicine of May 20, and zeroes in magnificently on a gene for Tourette’s Syndrome. Read more
In the Darwin bicentennial, new insights into fossils, genes, birdsong, and cancer.
The latest issue of Nature to land in my mailbox-the May 28th one-was not a tribute to Darwin in honor of his 200th birthday and the 150th of The Origin of Species; Nature has been there, done that. But it might as well have been another celebration for him, Read more
New evidence forces us to consider the role of genes in all behavior
Just over a quarter century ago, I wrote my first book, The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit. In it I addressed the objections that many liberal scientists and others of that day had against behavioral genetics, some of which I shared.
Brain science's astounding pace of discovery is bringing new hope to many.
I want to take a rest from the political and religious wars and instead do a little of what I do with my students at the start of each semester. I'm teaching my course on the human brain this fall, and as usual my first lecture was called "While You Were Catching Rays-Discoveries Since the End of Last Semester."
Evil is real, and so are evil genes.
Today I stumbled on a C-SPAN presentation by Barbara Oakley about her book Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. I haven’t read the book, but it evidently overlaps with many things I’ve long thought and written myself, in The Tangled Wing and elsewhere.
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
Whose genome matters more–the weirdest mammal or the decoder of DNA?
This month my mailbox has been filled with genomic goodies. Last month we had Jim Watson’s very own genome–the discoverer of DNA is out there now with all his base pairs.
May 1st, Nature reported on variation in eight human genomes, not counting Jim’s. The idea was to spot “one-armed bandits,”