Video: Adam, Eve and human genetic diversity

This video summarises my understanding of the current genetic evidence on whether or not humans could have passed through a bottleneck of a single couple at some point in our history. It is a talk I gave in May 2020 for a group of scientists from across Europe who identify as Christians. This audience came… Continue reading Video: Adam, Eve and human genetic diversity

Why phylogenetics is difficult

Here is a short video I made for one of my MSc classes, explaining why building phylogenetic trees is not easy. For examples of this phenomenon in my own research see here and here.

What was Darwin thinking? The origin of his ‘abominable mystery’

Happy Darwin Day 2021! This blog is about Darwin’s thought in the final years of his life, written for the Nature Ecology and Evolution community and re-published here. Back in 2012, The Natural History Museum of Milan invited me to give a talk for their Darwin Day symposium. Predictably for a botanist, I took the… Continue reading What was Darwin thinking? The origin of his ‘abominable mystery’

Could we predict personal coronavirus risk from our DNA?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This article, co-authored with my colleague Prof. Richard Nichols, was published at The Conversation on 17th March 2020. Since then, Science has published a news article about efforts to do the type of studies that we advocated. NB. This is not about testing to see if we have coronavirus – this is about testing how… Continue reading Could we predict personal coronavirus risk from our DNA?

Adam and Eve our ghostly ancestors?

That a single couple could be the ancestors of all living humans is widely seen as an area of conflict between genetics and the Abrahamic religions. Though little detailed attention has been paid to this idea in the scientific literature (see ‘Adam and Eve: a tested hypothesis?’), current models of the history of genomic variation in… Continue reading Adam and Eve our ghostly ancestors?

Unselfish gardeners? Christianity and the environment

Human degradation of the natural environment is a great tragedy of our time. One of its major drivers is selfishness leading to over-consumption and waste. Despite growing concern about the environment, the majority of us struggle to forgo convenience and consumption for the long-term good of the planet. We find it easy to signal environmental… Continue reading Unselfish gardeners? Christianity and the environment

Lost elms of Kent

Mature elm trees in the English landscape are something I and many other have never seen. Dutch Elm Disease killed them all in the 1960s. Only the older generation can remember what we have lost. Browsing through some local photos from the 1930s this weekend, my eyes were opened to the size and grace of… Continue reading Lost elms of Kent