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I am currently working towards a PhD in microbial genetics. Before that I spent a bit over a decade working as a programmer, with most of that time spent writing computer games. I have degrees in Mathematics (MMath), Life Sciences (BSc) and Molecular Genetics (MSc).


Feb
5
comment Can you answer Ray Comfort's question on Biological Evolution?
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Creationism.
Jan
16
awarded  Yearling
Jan
14
awarded  Nice Answer
Jan
13
comment Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
@Herman: No, although that can also be a factor. Have a look at this image - bit.ly/1iHOMss - and note how there is no clade that includes both Africans but not the Europeans. This is because the European population is a subpopulation of the African population. The two African populations shown are as different from each other as the European population can be from the first African population. In reality, there are many more distinct African populations than shown here.
Jan
13
comment Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
@Herman: Evolution follows a branching, hierarchical structure (broadly, it's more complicated than that) and Europeans group within the various African populations, i.e., they're essentially a subpopulation of a particular African population.
Jan
13
comment Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
@Herman, from the answer to the question you link "So to sum up, DNA analysis can tell the gender, skin color, and eye color of the suspect, but very little about height and weight, and virtually nothing about age."
Jan
11
comment Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
It depends what you mean by race; because race isn't actually meaningful you obviously can't reconstruct it. However, given a DNA sample it is possible to make a good approximation of the appearance of the person the sample is from. I don't think such a reconstruction would be reliable enough for law enforcement purposes, but it's pretty good none-the-less.
Jan
11
comment Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
@terdon: The bird of paradise are not a species, as you note in your answer and I don't think it's clear - at all - that humans show relatively little phenotypic variation. I would say that humans are probably on the high side (likely due to the huge range that humans occupy).
Jan
11
answered Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
Jan
11
comment Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
Hmm... I'm not sure how useful comparing natural variation (human phenotypes) to artificial variation (dogs, cats and pigs) really is. Are you humans really less phenotypically variable than wild animal species? I guess ring species might make a good comparison?
Sep
7
answered Why can't cell division happen the other way around?
Aug
22
comment What is the difference between these worms: Caenorhabditis elegans and Eisenia fetida?
@Mys_721tx: I don't see how you can have 41 amino-acid substitutions at a single site between two homologous genes. Surely you can have at most one substitution per site on each gene?
Aug
22
comment What is the difference between these worms: Caenorhabditis elegans and Eisenia fetida?
What does "there are about 41 amino-acid substitutions per site" mean?
Aug
19
reviewed Close How come that we “feel” it when someone's watching us
Aug
17
answered What is the advantage of restriction enzymes cutting only at specific sites?
Aug
15
comment Why did the urinary bladder evolve?
@PaulA.Clayton: Not really. There are grades of speculation, aren't there? And we're free to disagree on what its reasonable and what is not. The rest of your points are good, I just disagree that the first in plausible.
Aug
15
answered Why did life not evolve to use radio?
Aug
14
comment Why did the urinary bladder evolve?
I doubt the validity of your first point; I do not see how urine could be used for scent marking until it has evolved. I think it's a case of exaptation of an existing feature for a new purpose.
Aug
14
answered If body temperature is 37°C (98.6°F), why are most people more comfortable at around 21°C (70°F)?
Aug
14
answered Why are some fungi poisonous?