Genetics


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Detail from a cross section of a human brain organoid revealing the formation of neural rosettes. All photos courtesy and © Muotri Lab/UC San Diego

Essay/
Human evolution
Brains in a dish

What pea-sized brain organoids reveal about consciousness, the self and our future as a species

Alysson Muotri

Participants in the annual Twins Days Festival parade in Twinsburg, Ohio, 4 August 2012. Photo by Lisa Wiltse/Corbis/Getty

Essay/
Genetics
The science of terrible men

The pioneers of social genetics were racists and eugenicists: should we give up on the science they founded altogether?

Kathryn Paige Harden

Three-year-old twins Estaban and Salome Hernandez at home with their parents Fabio and Mabel, 15 March 2020. The Hernandez family were awaiting the result of the Washington DC school lottery which determines which school they will attend. Photo by Michael S Williamson/Washington Post/Getty

Essay/
Genetics
The genes we’re dealt

The new field of social genomics can be used by progressives to combat racial inequality or by conservatives to excuse it

Erik Parens

Les Baigneuses (1912), by Albert Gleizes. Courtesy Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris/Wikipedia

Essay/
Human evolution
Choose your own birth

Every human is both an animal with a deep evolutionary history and an individual who must bring their existence into being

Ada Jaarsma

A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society (1831) by Edward Landseer. ‘Bob’ a Newfoundland dog, saved 23 persons from drowning on the London docks and was made a distinguished member of the Royal Humane Society. Courtesy Wikipedia

Bone as an endochrine organ. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of cancellous bone tissue. Photo by Steve Gschmeissner/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Genetics
Hormones united

The hormone system works like a democracy: every tissue in the body is an endocrine organ asserting its needs and demands

Liam Drew

At Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1984. Photo by Pierre Perrin/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Essay/
Genetics
Haunted by history

War, famine and persecution inflict profound changes on bodies and brains. Could these changes persist over generations?

Pam Weintraub

Cave art from Sulawesi in Indonesia is now thought to be the oldest in the world. Photo courtesy Maxime Aubert/Indonesian Heritage Department

Essay/
Human evolution
In to Asia

New evidence about the ancient humans who occupied Asia is cascading in: the story of our species needs rewriting again

Christopher Bae

From ‘Amours Difficiles’ (Hard love stories); four stories of mothers and daughters. Eugenia and Violeta. Photo by Adriana Lestido / Agence VU

Essay/
Human reproduction
We are multitudes

Women are chimeras, with genetic material from both their parents and children. Where does that leave individual identity?

Katherine Rowland

Fancy bird; a Voorburg-Cropper Pigeon. Photo by Richard Bailey

Essay/
Genetics
Wild thing

How and why did humans domesticate animals – and what might this tell us about the future of our own species?

Jacob Mikanowski

Giraffes in Kenya. Photo by Mitsuaki Iwago/Minden Pictures/National Geographic

Essay/
Genetics
Unified theory of evolution

Darwin’s theory that natural selection drives evolution is incomplete without input from evolution’s anti-hero: Lamarck

Michael Skinner