genetics


Model splicing

This is another archival repost, written for the old blog in January 2008. The central dogma of molecular biology, first described by Francis Crick in 1958, describes the flow of information between DNA, RNA, and proteins.[1] The central dogma is interesting, but I believe that its use in teaching is […]


The selfish gene drives an operon

This is another archival repost first written for the old blog in 2007. On Monday I mentioned John Maynard Smith’s videos at People’s Archive. They really are marvelous, and you should watch them all. One of the topics he discusses is horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, a subject I discussed […]


Risk compensation, shared space and unstable evolutionary strategies

This post probably doesn’t quite work, but at At War With The Motorist I continue the thread on shared space by considering the mechanism by which it works: risk compensation — the idea that when traffic management is ripped out, road users will perceive the road to be more risky […]


Lay Science: The Selfish Genius

This was originally written a year ago on a now disused blog. I’m reposting it here because I enjoyed writing it so much that I wouldn’t want it to disappear. People love a good argument with Richard Dawkins. So many people are so desperately seeking reassurance that he is wrong, […]


Evelyn Fox Keller on genes, evolution, and epigenetics

This is another archival repost from the old blog, first published way back in March 2008. I’ve been following CBC’s How To Think About Science series, and caught the Evelyn Fox Keller episode the other day. It was interesting, but there were a couple of issues that I just can’t […]


Having a BLAST with Darwin

-or- “(One of many reasons) Why genomics matters” This is an archival repost which was originally posted on the old blog in feb 2009, during the Darwin 200 celebrations. In chapter 14 of The Origin Darwin discussed embryological stages and their utility in classification. This utility derives from the fact […]


Origin Ch.9: Recombination

This post is part of a series on The Origin Of Species.  It was originally posted on the old blog in feb 2009, during the Darwin 200 celebrations. In chapter nine, Darwin takes a long look at hybrids. And I mean a long look: he can really go off on […]


The lazy gene: in which I review a nature versus nurture debate six years late

This is another archive repost from the old blog, written in aug 2008. The psychologist Oliver James was on The Late Edition a couple of weeks ago.[1] His argument was unconvincing and his behaviour unimpressive. So I took a quick look at his website. He offers for download a Radio […]


Light years upstream, dipping in the River out of Eden

This is another archival repost, originally written for the old blog in May 2008. Darwin’s 1837 phylogeny, with root and branches. I’ve talked about Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) on the blog a few times before, particularly in the context of bacteria acquiring genes for things like antibiotic resistance, and in […]