Apr 22 2014

Genes and the Science of Self

Scientists are celebrating the success of a new experiment to make precision changes to the DNA of mice to cure a liver disease. The DNA “edits” as they are calling are the latest in a series of genetic studies that are part of a scientific revolution stemming from the Human Genome Project and related gene sequencing surveys.

Genes, we are taught in high school biology, are inherited from our parents and determine, to a great extent, our physical, physiological, and even psychological traits. But, humans share an overwhelmingly large percentage of our genes with one another. What then creates the stunning diversity we see among humans? Do our genes direct our behaviors and our disposition to diseases? What wins out in the age-old contest between nature and nurture?

Attempting to ask and answer these questions is science writer and journalist Jennifer Ouellette whose new book is called Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self.

GUEST: Jennifer Ouellette, author of Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self. Her earlier book is The Calculus Diaries. Ouellette has written for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Discover, Salon, and Nature. Her science and culture blog is called Cocktail Party Physics.

Click here to read Ouellette’s blog and here to read more of her writing.

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