Gobbling Up The Family Tree: Understanding our phylogenetic tree

It’s Thanksgiving. Your mom and dad are debating the art of properly basting a turkey, while grandma is showing you and the rest of the grandkids your family tree. By now, you’ve noticed how long and complicated your tree is. Along with parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, there are second cousins, great aunts, great grand nieces, etc. And, while you may have never known these people directly, all are in some way related to your family and yourself. But what about the family tree that extends beyond your ancestral family tree?

The Human Color Swatch: How variation affects your skin color

Have you ever found yourself in the paint aisle, staring wordlessly at the seemingly endless array of color fusion? I inevitably find myself staring at those swatches and wondering how on earth there can be hundreds of variations of yellow. Perhaps, I think, I'm just an unrefined savage when it comes to discerning paint color, or perhaps the colors really aren’t that different and it’s simply a trick presented by paint advertisers. However, upon closer inspection, I see the vague tinges of shade difference. So, when presented with such an array of colors and all the designating names categorizing them, I realize that we humans have a deep understanding of color variation. This ability to see color has allowed us to note the vast diversity of skin color among our own species.

Supervillain or Superhero? The effects of autosomal recessive disorders on human evolution  

Often when we watch movies, we root for the superhero and despise the supervillain. After all, why would we want Dr. Evil and Mr. Bigglesworth to successfully dominate the world by turning the moon into a death star? His success offers no benefit to anyone other than himself and his cohort of miscreants.  If he … Continue reading Supervillain or Superhero? The effects of autosomal recessive disorders on human evolution