About Our Contributors

Ken Weiss is an Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Genetics at Penn State University. He has a long standing interest in issues of developmental and evolutionary genetics, as well as the more philosophical issues of complexity and epistemological questions of how we know what we know. He writes a regular column on these issues in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology. They can be accessed here.  He and Anne Buchanan are coauthors of The Mermaid's Tale: Four Billion Years of Cooperation in the Making of Living Things (2009) and Genetics and The Logic of Evolution (2004). 

Anne Buchanan is an Adjunct Senior Research Associate in the Anthropology Department at Penn State. Her doctorate is in Public Health, and she is a long time collaborator with Ken Weiss on projects in developmental and evolutionary genetics as well as complex traits and why they are so difficult to understand. 

Holly Dunsworth is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Rhode Island (Ph.D. from Penn State). She's obsessed with evolution and reproduction. Here's a list of her posts and links to publications and other materials

Dan Parker (Ph.D. Penn State Anthropology and Demography) is an Anthropologist, Demographer and Medical Geographer.  He is currently doing postdoctoral work at Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, a field station of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, in Thailand.  He enjoys doing field work, statistical analysis and modeling and likes to collaborate with lab researchers.  Most of his current work has to do with mapping and understanding the spatial dynamics of malaria in Karen State (Kawthoolei), Myanmar.  You can see a list of some of his research publications here and here.  

Jim Wood is Professor of Anthropology and Demography at Penn State.  His research concerns the interaction of biological, socioeconomic, and environmental variables in determining health and survival in the rural preindustrial and developing worlds – with a special focus on early childhood mortality in traditional farming communities.  He has done fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and northern Scotland, and is currently trying to establish a new field project in northern Laos.  His students, of whom he is inordinately proud, have worked in Thailand, Bangladesh, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Mali, Kenya, Scotland, and Denmark. His new book The Biodemography of Subsistence Farming: Population, Food and Family is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.


Joachim D. said...

For Ken Weiss: Have read his excellent paper of 2008 on Joseph Adams. Nevertheless, after my own perusal of "A Treatise on the supposed hereditary properties of diseases" (Adams 1814) there remained a minor conundrum concerning Adams's Note 17 at p. 79. In particular, Adams cites a Dr. Wright, whom I could not track down, as beating him on the anticipation of natural selection. My blog post on the issue is here: http://bit.ly/1vJ13oh

Just wondered whether Ken has any idea on it.

Ken Weiss said...

Thanks for the note and I enjoyed your blog post on the subject. I agree about the unusual nature of Adams' book. I think his citation was to a Chauncey Wright, who is also referenced (note on p 313) in Lauren Eiseley's book Darwin's Century.

But I never followed up on these trails. But the Wikipedia entry for Wright seems to confirm this, and someone with a real historian's bent, like Eiseley working in a slower, calmer era in science would have had the patience to dig through the literature then available.

That's all I know!

Jason Brown said...

Hi there,

I found your blog from reddit and have a question about the economics of exploiting positive genetic traits to enhance the masses (eg. spectacular muscular growth or accelerated metabolism) as opposed to curing a disease that impacts a handful of people; however I'm brand new to commenting on blogs and your site, so I would really appreciate it if you could direct me to the right place to ask my question. It's not abundantly obvious to me, but I'm sure the fault lands largely on my inexperienced shoulders.

Thanks :)


Unknown said...

Would any of you be interested or willing to write up or share a brief summary of your new article, or give permission to reprint one, for our state midwifery organization? I absolutely loved reading it and would like to share it with our newsletter membership.

Unknown said...

Would any of you be interested or willing to write up or share a brief summary of your new article, or give permission to reprint one, for our state midwifery organization? I absolutely loved reading it and would like to share it with our newsletter membership.

Holly Dunsworth said...

Hello, Most definitely. I've written several posts, here about the article that I believe you're referring to. It was in PNAS in 2012 but the press release and other articles about it circulate on social media every year at this time, its publication anniversary. Maybe bots? I'm not sure why that is, but it's nice! holly_dunsworth @ uri.edu is easiest for me to share links and attachments. Email any time.

Jessie Henshaw said...

I've studied the evolving design & development of all sorts of non-biological systems for 30+ years, using a general physics "pattern language" for marking their phases of innovation and maturation. Recently it seems Evo Devo discussions are going in that direction, toward studying growth as the central phenomenon of emerging organization. Is that happening as far as you know?

I have a paper showing growth-like progressive in an apparent punctuated evolution species change, perhaps you'd find of interest. I'm trying to get it accepted in the arXive to then submit to EvoDevo journal. Of course I'd be glad for any comment or support. It's a 9 year old draft of an 18 year old paper.
Flowing processes in a punctuated species change - http://www.synapse9.com/GTRevis-2007.pdf