The autobiography of the human species is due out – the map of the human genome is 90 percent complete. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, will scientists be able to tell us what it means to be human, how we evolved, and what we can do about disease? Also, why flies told us how genes control behavior, what "maternal instinct" really means, and finding depression on male ring fingers.
Science writer Matt Ridley is the author of "Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters." He says that the mapping of the human genome is almost completed, and tells Jim Fleming about the marvels, and the dangers, this will unleash. Also, Rutgers University evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers shares some of his research about men's fingers with Steve Paulson. Trivers says relative finger length can predict depression, infertility and musical ability.SEGMENT 2:
Jonathan Weiner talked with Judith Strasser about his biography of biologist Seymour Benzer. Benzer's work with the genetics of fruit flies provided insight into human sleep disorders, memory problems and neuro-degenerative diseases. The book is called "Time, Love and Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior.SEGMENT 3:
Shelly Smith runs The Egg Donor and Surrogacy Program in Los Angeles. It's on-line at eggdonation.com. She tells Jim Fleming what customers are looking for when they shop for donor eggs, and how the business has changed in he few years it's existed. Also, anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy tells Steve Paulson that some of our beliefs about the nature of motherhood are not supported by biology. Sometimes mothers (including human mothers)have to make hard choices to survive. Hrdy's book is "Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants and Natural Selection".Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 00-02-13-A.
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