Gregory Radick – Disputed Inheritance: The Battle over Mendel and the Future of Biology

The Dissenter | 5 February 2024 | 1h 12m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Gregory Radick about his book Disputed Inheritance: The Battle over Mendel and the Future of Biology. Discusses the inter-relationships between the work of Mendel, Darwin and Francis Galton; the early 20C debate between William Bateson and W. F. R. Weldon about whether Mendelian genetics should be the standard entry point for learning about genes. Argues that if Weldon had lived longer and his view of Mendelian genetics as a special case ignoring environmental effects won out, we would have framed genetics fundamentally differently, with less of a framing of heredity as destiny.

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Sarah Blaffer Hrdy on Human Evolution and Parenthood

The Life Scientific | 7 November 2023 | 0h 30m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Sarah Blaffer Hrdy about her life and work researching evolutionary biology. Discusses her study of infanticide among langur monkeys that overturned assumptions about male monkeys’ murderous motivations; reproductive and parenting strategies across species and the evidence humans are primed by evolution to need a lot of support raising our children.

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Cat Bohannon Rewrites the History of the Female Body in Eve

KQED’s Forum | 5 October 2023 | 0h 55m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Cat Bohannon about her book Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution. Discusses evolutionary history, arguing that until recently scientists have effectively ignored women: the majority of subjects in clinical drug trials are male, and too many researchers still mistakenly assume that sex differences are mainly about sex organs, rather than a panoply of biological and physiological features that evolved in the female body over millions of years.

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Lucy Cooke, “Bitch: On the Female of the Species”

New Books in Biology and Evolution | 28 March 2022 | 0h 48m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Lucy Cooke about her book Bitch: On the Female of the Species. Overturns the male dominant/female passive evolutionary biology paradigm, showing that females can be as dynamic as any male. Examples include same-sex female albatross couples that raise chicks, murderous mother meerkats, and the titanic battle of the sexes waged by ducks.

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Itai Yanai: The Society of Genes

The Dissenter | 28 October 2021 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Itai Yanai about his book The Society of Genes, co-authored with Martin Lercher. Discusses the “selfish gene” metaphor; the randomness of mutations; how genes cooperate and compete with one another; pleiotropy and polygenic traits and what they tell us about how genes work; the evolution of sex; what we can learn about genetics by studying cancer; genetic diversity and how to deal with genetic ancestry in medicine; epigenetics; gene editing; and some unanswered questions in genetics.

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Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human with Richard Wrangham

The Innovation Show | 26 December 2019 | 0h 49m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Richard Wrangham about his book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Argues that the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow; helped structure human society; and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as “the cooking apes.”

This is one of my all-time favourite books.

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Carole Hooven on Testosterone

The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan | 18 June 2021 | 1h 40m | Listen Later | iTunes
Interview with Carole Hooven about her book T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us. Discusses her research with chimpanzees in Africa; the evolutionary origins of human behaviour; the role of testosterone in differentiating male development and masculinising behaviour; how prenatal testosterone differences in utero shape life trajectories; how it drives sex differences and how that affects relations between men and women and societal outcomes.

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