In this talk, New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer explores the history of heredity, a concept that has come to define us and yet defies our intuitions. Today, millions of people are getting their DNA sequenced to understand how their ancestry made them who they are, but making sense of these tests demands that we escape mistaken views about how we inherit genes and what effects they have on us. Zimmer calls for a broader view of heredity, one that can potentially include other channels flowing from one generation to the next.
Carl Zimmer is an award-winning science writer. He writes the weekly “Matter” column for the New York Times, and his latest book is She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity (Dutton, May 2018).