Category Archives: science

My cousin Shoma was obsessed with Antoine Lavoisier. She had a bunch of books about him as a teen. I know this because I visited Bangladesh in 1989 and there […]

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I’m still broadly supportive of the heuristics and biases program. I still think Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment and Thinking, Fast and Slow are worth reading. This sort of […]

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Both conservatives and liberals are ignoring the realities of biology

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Many years ago I suggested to Ta-Nehisi Coates that he should interview Neil Risch after Coates waxed on about race and biology. He subsequently did so. The reason I suggested […]

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Man and dog share a long history. In much of the world, a history as old as humanity. The latest genetic evidence now tells us that the emergence of the domestic dog lineage occurred soon after the human expansion out of Africa 50,000 years ago, in the depths of

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Man and dog share a long history. In much of the world, a history as old as humanity. The latest genetic evidence now tells us that the emergence of the domestic dog lineage occurred soon after the human expansion out of Africa 50,000 years ago, in the depths of the last Ice Age. We came. We saw. And we befriended. This we knew, but now we can closely examine how. A paper out today in Science uses 27 ancient dog genomes from the past 11,000 years to construct an evolutionary history nearly as rich as that produced by human population geneticists over the last decade. The authors found five lineages of ancient dogs that were present at the end of the last Ice Age. These were the dogs that interacted with human migrations during the rise of agriculture and the fall of civilizations to produce the riotous dog diversity that we know today. Familiar breeds like the Pekingese and the St. Bernard, as well as stray Asian village mutts, they’re all the products of a …

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Genetic testing will soon be cheap, routine, and ubiquitous.

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Congrats to India on launching the Chandrayaan! Here is an explainer. And an older WSJ piece, India Looks for Its Own Elon Musk to Win the Space Race with China. It’s a commentary on our times that the 21st-century “space race” is between India and China (and Elon and Jeff). As for me, I’m pretty …

Continue reading “From the earth to the moon!”

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Nordic “Northern Lights”One of the most curious aspects of our species, in particular, modern humanity, is our tendency to wander, to push the limits of habitation beyond reason for rhyme. Humans have been using tools for millions of years, and Neander…

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Ostrich eggAncient DNA has transformed our understanding of the biological past. The sequencing of mammoths, moa, and Neanderthal have opened up a window upon evolution which we had previously only perceived through material remains. Whereas 20 years a…

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 32: Tibetan Denisovans!Denisovan MandibleThis week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts) Razib talks to Dr. Frido Welker, a pioneer in the field of ancient protein phylogeneti…

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 28: Altitude Adaptation and DenisovansK2This week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts) Razib talks to Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, a computational biologist at Brown University abou…

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 27: Neolithic MassacreThis week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts) Razib talks to an archaeologist and geneticist who were authors of a paper that documented a Neolithic mas…

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 26: The Epigenetics RevolutionThis week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts) Razib talks about the “Epigenetics Revolution” with John Greally of Albert Einstein School of Medi…

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Conrad Waddington’s “epigenetic landscape”In most graduate programs students must complete a series of oral exams or make a presentation to professors to “qualify” to proceed in their research. The goal here is to make sure that a student goes forward …

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 24: Deconstructing the DenisovansThe Dali skull, 200,000 years old. A Denisovan?This week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts) Spencer is back, as we go back to our old two-ma…

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The Siberian cave where a new human species was discoveredWe are all aware of the iconic fossil finds which mark the various milestones of our understanding of human evolution. The story of how our species became what it is today. Raymond Dart’s Taung …

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 21: The Genetic History of Ice Age EuropeAurignacian artifactsThis week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts) we discuss the genetic history of Ice Age Europe with Cosimo Posth…

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5,000 years of changeMost evolutionary biologists would agree with the contention that evolution has no long-term direction. In other words, evolutionary change is shaped by the contingencies and exigencies of the present set of circumstances, searchin…

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The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 17: Polygenic risk scores and diversityThe risk for coronary heart diseaseThis week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Podcasts) we discuss “polygenic risk scores” (PRS) and genetic diversity …

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Razib Khan