Do Races Exist? A Genetic Perspective

February 6, 2018
Do Races Exist? A Genetic Perspective

People are often taught that races are entirely made up. And while we would like to accept this view on ideological grounds of equality, the obvious differences in appearance always leave us feeling like something isn’t quite right with that answer. Clearly some kind of difference exists. But what is it? And does it matter? …

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A Free Online Bachelor’s Level Biology Education

March 3, 2016
A Free Online Bachelor’s Level Biology Curriculum

Could it be possible to put together the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in Biology entirely through free massively open online courses (MOOCs) offered by top tier universities? Lately I’ve entertained ideas of going back to school for a PhD in Biology. Most programs require that you have the equivalent of a B.S. in Biology, …

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Coursera Review: The MOOC Experience

November 23, 2014
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Nearly three months ago I disappeared from public life. And the reason is Coursera. One of my pet obsessions these days is the microbiome and when co-founder of American Gut, Rob Knight, announced that they were organizing a class on the microbiome I knew I had to be there. It was to be hosted by …

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What Do You Really Know about GMOs?

March 20, 2014
Is GMO Inherently Evil?

“GMO” is a heavily loaded term. Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) the savior and solution to the problem of feeding 9 billion people that marketing departments at companies like Monsanto and Pioneer portray them to be? Are unsafe and unhealthy GMO foods being released onto the unsuspecting public in a mass uncontrolled experiment? What do …

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Genealogy 101: Rediscovering Lost Family History

October 24, 2013

What country did my ancestors come from? Were there any famous people in my family tree? Was great-great-great grandma a full blooded Cherokee? Gaining deeper insight into those that came before us gives us deeper insight into ourselves. Even if much of the time you think your ancestors are just a bunch of old dead …

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23andMe Review: Unzipping Your Genes

July 30, 2013

[NOTE: This review is based on the pre-Nov. 22, 2013 version of 23andMe. The version of 23andMe made available after FDA approval in 2015 differs in some respects, but much of what I say here still applies.] When big stories splash across the news like Angelina Jolie deciding to get a double mastectomy (i.e., cut off …

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