Last evening I spoke for the Reading Geological Society on Darwin’s “abominable mystery”: the origin of flowering plants. My previous talks and publications (here and here) on this topic have focused mainly on the nineteenth century. In this new talk, I outlined twentieth century efforts to solve the mystery, which is something I continue to… Continue reading A new talk on Darwin’s abominable mystery
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
Here is a 20 minute lockdown video I published on YouTube a few days ago. In it, I make one major point: it is as hard to be an atheist today as it was 2400 years ago. In fact, a little harder. I have seen a few responses to this video by atheists since I… Continue reading Video: More than evolution
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.
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’
A paper published yesterday supports a hypothesis that Richard Nichols and I made in March 2020. We published an article in The Conversation arguing that we need to know if someone’s chances of severe COVID symptoms are affected by their genes. We suggested: “It may be that just one or two genes are involved. Perhaps… Continue reading A genetic basis for COVID susceptibility
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?
Imagine that my wife and I walk into our living room one morning to find that our son’s toy box has fallen over, and pieces of BRIO train set track lie jumbled on the floor. But eight of the pieces are joined together in a perfect circle, lying on the floor, with a train on… Continue reading Did Darwin make atheism credible?
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?
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