Many people see their fate as rather like a cake, which can be sliced into a piece called Nature – what you are born with: your DNA -- and another known as Nurture --the way you live. Life -- genetics --alas, is not so simple; to separate those ingredients one would have to unbake the cake, which is impossible.
The UK’s Professor Steve Jones is keenly interested in understanding diversity, the role of natural selection and the nature of genetic differences between species. His research has led him to study the ecological genetics of snails, fruit flies and humans. In more recent years however, with information on the genetics of human populations expanding, Jones’ interests have moved more towards human genetics.
In this talk, the award-winning science writer discusses everything from the genetics of the royal family and the Siamese cat to what happens to those who eat too much cake and whether genes might indeed influence our chance of becoming obese.
Jones was guest of the CSIRO in Canberra.
Professor Steve Jones is Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at the University College London. He has written a number of popular books on genetics and evolution, including "The Language of the Genes", "Y: The Descent of Men" and "Darwin's island".
Jones has won the Rhone-Poulenc book prize and the Yorkshire Post first book prize in 1994; and the BP Natural World Book Prize in 1999. He was awarded the Royal Society Faraday Medal for public understanding of science in 1997 and the Institute of Biology Charter medal in 2003. More recently, he won the 2009 Zoological Society of London/Thomson Reuters Award for Communicating Zoology, for his book "Coral: A Pessimist in Paradise".
In 2011, he was elected President of the UK Association for Science Education.
Evolutionary biologist Steve Jones says the genes responsible for circulating testosterone in men are also to blame for most violent and criminal behavior. He argues, however, that the environment in which a person is raised plays an equal role.