Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

E&E in A&D: Genetic profiling as art?

Posted 13 Feb 2015 / 0

Smithsonian Magazine “Creepy or Cool? Portraits Derived From the DNA in Hair and Gum Found in Public Places” I find a lot of art to be gimmicky. I know as a professor at an art and design school, that could get me into some trouble, so let me explain what I mean. “Gimmicky” art to Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Computer Science, Ethics, Genetics, Human Evolution, Risk & Uncertainty, Science in Art & Design, Sociology

Do humans form genetically similar social groups independent of kinship?

Posted 26 Jul 2014 / 1

Proponents of kin selection as the most parsimonious explanation of how cooperation evolves face a problem when it comes to humans: counter to the predictions of kin selection theory, humans aim a fair amount of altruism at non-kin. While we do not aim our helping behaviors solely at our relatives, we also do not randomly Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Genetics, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Sociology

Evolution 2014: Day 0

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0

I started off this year’s Evolution meeting early. The conference is — at its core —  a four-day affair. But the days leading into the “official” start on Friday evening feature larger workshops aimed at building skills. I chose to attend the Experiencing Evolution workshop. Here’s what this session promised: Evolution is a key biological concept, Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Assessment Methods, Behavior, Coevolution, Competition, Conferences, Cooperation, Evolution, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Genetics, Grants & Funding, Higher Education, Individual-based Models, Lesson Ideas, Multilevel Selection, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics, Population Genetics, Population Growth, Predation, Reproductive Fitness, Science in Art & Design, Sex and Reproduction, Society for the Study of Evolution, Talks & Seminars, Teaching, Teaching Tools

0.5% to 3%: Do we now have a better sense of what makes people smart?

Posted 20 May 2014 / 0

The Economist “A potent source of genetic variation in cognitive ability has just been discovered” A new gene variant, KL-VS, appears to account for up to 3% of variation in IQ score; this would be a radical discovery given that past gene screens have only found variants accounting for as much as 0.5% variation in Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cognitive Ability, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Intelligences, Web

Okay, I admit it: I am a bit of a Neanderthal

Posted 30 Jan 2014 / 1

The Economist “The genetic contribution Neanderthal man made to modern humanity is clearer” Although this article makes a bigger deal than it should about the “human construct” of the species concept (evolutionists are already well aware of the gradations of isolation that lead to full species separation), it presents these new findings in valuable context. What Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Evolution, Extinction, Genetics, Homo species, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Phylogenetics, Speciation

Taking risks for the data

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The cover story of November’s National Geographic is about the death of storm chaser Tim Samaras, who was killed along with two of his collaborators (including one of his sons) during a monster tornado outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Samaras is one of many “explorers” supported by National Geographic, an organization that seems to be the Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Genetics, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Play, Risk & Uncertainty

Barash the gene accountant on that little economic driver called “reproduction”

Posted 25 Oct 2013 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Sex on the Mind” Ugh. How do I decompose this enough? I have always had a fear that David Barash is more pundit than academic, but this column is really scary. There is complete agreement among evolutionary biologists that all we need to understand the evolutionary process is a consideration of Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Evolutionary Psychology, Genetics, Human Evolution, Mating systems, Reproductive Fitness, Sex and Reproduction

Mammal monogamy still a mystery, but maybe more than a numbers game

Posted 30 Jul 2013 / 0

National Public Radio Morning Edition “For Some Mammals It’s One Love, But Reasons Still Unclear” Although brief, I appreciate how this article lays out the three hypotheses for monogamy: Monogamous co-parenting increases the survival rate of offspring as compared to parenting by the mother alone; Monogamy results from the pattern of resource distribution: if resources are Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Competition, Cooperation, Evolution, Genetics, Human Uniqueness, Mating systems, Radio & Podcasts, Sex and Reproduction

New theory explaining the prevalence of homosexuality focuses on epigenetics

Posted 15 Jul 2013 / 0

The Quarterly Review of Biology “Homosexuality as a Consequence of Epigenetically Canalized Sexual Development” What makes this theory so compelling is how it addresses the “heritable but not at all clearly genetic” problem of explaining the very high prevalence of homosexuality in human populations. There have been other theories of homosexuality that invoke sexual antagonism, but Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Epigenetics, Human Evolution, Sex and Reproduction

The potential for human evolution has increased along with the population size of our species

Posted 15 Jul 2013 / 0

Wired “Humanity’s Recent Evolution” Of course increased genetic diversity just makes evolution more possible… but there still still needs to be some viable selective force to do something with all this variation. One could argue that the amount of variation we now see ‘tolerated’ by nature suggests that humans have been released from many selective Read More

A Minor Post, Genetics, Human Evolution, Mismatch theory, Population Genetics, Web