Junk DNA deniers and Darwin Day

Is it is logically possible to accept the science of evolutionary biology and still deny the existence of junk DNA? I’m not sure. It is OK (though unfortunate) to be a biologist who is wrong in their assessment of an evolutionary topic. This is not a rejection of the mechanisms and rationale of evolution in…

What if conference talks were video preprints?

Conferences are about the rapid dissemination of new science to specialists in the same field. We should treat conference talks as we treat preprints, as a deliberate science dissemination process, and make video recording and proper archiving ubiquitous. Speaker-led demand Recording already happens of course, at some conferences, in a rough and ready way. My…

What are the frontiers in Open Science?

Many seem to misconstrue what ‘the frontier’ means in science, imagining a hard intellectual boundary, everything past which is unknown. I want to use a geographic frontier analogy that distinguishes the very limit (boundary) of human exploration (knowledge) from the area approaching that boundary. Frontier can mean both, but here I’m going to use it…

Darwin the dropout

It annoys me slightly that almost all the pictures of Darwin circulating around on #DarwinDay are of some grey-haired old guy. Darwin made many of his important break-throughs as a young man. I mentioned ‘Darwin the dropout’ to my new class of evolution students this semester. Darwin was hassled by his dad to get a proper…

Tardigrade comparative genomics

There is now a second Tardigrade genome described in a manuscript (Koutsovoulos et al 2015), only days after the first (Boothby et al 2015– not OA). Koutsovoulos et al however strongly suggests that the widely publicised rampant horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is problematic. This alternate genome comes from Mark Blaxter’s group in Edinburgh, and has in fact…

Autonomous evolving advertising

Is it possible for advertising to evolve without human intervention? Today I was having a great coffee break discussion with Domino Joyce and James Gilbert about student classes and evolution experiments. We moved on to whether it is possible to evolve Twitter clickbait[1]? Why would you even want to? Well it might make for an interesting…

Jobs at EvoHull

We have two jobs open at the moment in the Hull Evolutionary Genetics group @EvoHull. Both are, I think, quite exciting; not your standard postdoc positions and the group is looking forward to getting two new colleagues. 1-Year Lectureship in Evolutionary Biology This is maternity cover for Dr Domino Joyce. You will be covering teaching in…

Professor Godfrey M Hewitt

10 JANUARY 1940 – 18 FEBRUARY 2013 I was asked to write a piece about my PhD supervisor Godfrey Hewitt for the UK Genetics Society magazine, and have reproduced a version here. I’d been putting off writing about Godfrey since he died in February, making excuses to myself, so a big thank you to the…

Steve Jones should publish more

In today’s Guardian newspaper geneticist Steve Jones has a short column replying to a 7 year old child who had asked “Will humans evolve into a new species?“. Jones is known in the UK as the media’s favourite geneticist and evolutionary biologist; he is a frequent guest on media shows and contributor in print media….

How can we ensure the persistence of analysis software?

I’ve been thinking about sustainable and accessible archiving of bioinformatics software, I’m pretty scandalized at the current state of affairs, and had a bit of a complain about it before. I thought I’d post some links to other people’s ideas and talk a bit about the situation and action that is needed right now. Casey Bergman…