Lunch hour lectures repository Autumn 2010
- Incest and folk-dancing: why sex survives
- Eyeing the brain
- Bubbles in the blood: from the 'bends' to magic bullets
- From dust to diamonds
- What does London owe to slavery?
- Breast screening: some inconvenient truths
- Piracy: The law of the high seas
- Doomed to fail? The challenges of coalition government for Westminster and Whitehall
- Who or what killed Franz Ferdinand?
- Energising the city
- Philosophy and public policy
- Light and darkness in the accelerating universe
- Can HIV treatment stop the AIDS epidemic?
- The missing 650 million?
- Listening to foreign judges from far away places: Why the European Court of Human Rights is a good idea
- Angels, putti, dragons and fairies: A biological dissection
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Incest and folk-dancing: why sex survives
15 October 2010
Tuesday 12 October 2010
Professor Steve Jones (UCL Biology)
Sir Thomas Beecham once said: "Try anything once but incest and folk-dancing" (he pointed out that brass bands, too, are all very well in their place, "in the open air and several miles away"). Sex with a relative is often frowned upon, but is in fact universal, for we all share ancestors in the recent past. On average, two randomly chosen Britons of European descent are sixth cousins, with their common ancestor alive in Darwin's day. Darwin himself was worried about the effects of close intermarriage, for he married his own first cousin. This lecture will talk about sex, about how inbreeding is an escape from true sexual reproduction, about how some creatures abandon sex altogether - and about how mating within the family is still surprisingly common in some populations (including some within Britain) although it may, at last, be on the way out.
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