Monthly Archives: November 2009

Orchids and dandelions on the Brian Lehrer Show

I’ll be on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show this morning, 11:06 to 11:25, discussing my Atlantic story about the “orchid gene” hypothesis, which recasts some of our most important vulnerability genes — depression, ADHD, hyperaggression and the like — as genes that can also underlie heightened function both as individuals and a species.

The Neurocritic: Genomarketing!

Is this the foreshadowing of a highly unethical marketing practice? Marketing based on MAO-A genotype, as determined from mailed-in credit card applications and payments? Credit card companies will have in-house labs to extract DNA from stamps and envelope flaps (Sinclair & McKechnie, 2000; Ng et al., 2007).1 Taking it one step further, entire marketing campaigns…

I’m not vulnerable, just especially plastic. Risk genes, environment, and evolution, in the Atlantic

This is a transformative, even startling view of human frailty and strength. For more than a decade, proponents of the vulnerability hypothesis have argued that certain gene variants underlie some of humankind’s most grievous problems: despair, alienation, cruelties both petty and epic. The orchid hypothesis accepts that proposition. But it adds, tantalizingly, that these same troublesome genes play a critical role in our species’ astounding success.