Two Sharp Takes on Mukherjee’s The Gene

Nathaniel Comfort, “Genes Are Overrated”: Mukherjee gives us a Whig history of the gene, told with verve and color, if not scrupulous accuracy. The gene, he tells us, was first described by the Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel, in the mid-19th century. Tragically, no one noticed—not even the great Charles Darwin. “If Darwin had actually read” the reference […]

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James Watson as genetic error

Adam Rutherford addresses James Watson’s attempt to dodge his past: Like all contemporary biologists, my career is largely based on his work. The medal? If I could afford it, I wouldn’t want it. My field, human genetics, was founded by another racist, Francis Galton, who sought to demonstrate white British dominance over the colonies using biometrics. He […]

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Geneticists blast Nicholas Wade for misrepresenting their papers

Today a group of over 130 prominent geneticists, responding to a review I wrote for The New York Times Sunday Book Review of Nicholas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance, published a letter to the Review taking Wade to task for misrepresenting their work. Wade cited the work of many of these geneticists in arguing his book’s central contention, which is that humanity’s “major races” have genetic differences that […]

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Talking Genetics and Writing with David Goodman

My journalist friend and colleague David Goodman had me on his radio show “The Vermont Conversation” this past Wednesday, over at WDEV’s fine studios in Waterbury, Vermont, and we spent a few minutes discussing writing about science; my review of Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance; depression and neurology; and my mother’s lover. My segment starts shortly after the 2-minute mark and runs to about minute […]

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