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Apr 24 2012

DNA Days

My librarian friend Jody has been busy. Jody is always busy, but she’s been just a little bit busier as the library’s DNA Days events have approached. Starting this evening and running through next Tuesday, the Hennepin County libraries will be running a series of events meant to help people sort through their family history of disease and figure out what it means to them.

Most of the events are about collecting family health histories and about the genetics of cancer and how it affects risk. On Saturday morning, however, local science artist and Minnesota Atheists member Lynn Fellman will present the keynote talk in this series, “Your Inner Neandertal”.

Do you know why some people are 1 to 4% Neandertal? Lynn Fellman explains how your Uncle Ned and maybe you have an “Inner Neander” during her art and science talk on April 28th. The presentation is one of many talks at Twin City libraries to celebrate National DNA Days.

“Your Inner Neandertal” is a 30 minute presentation showing how art can uniquely express science concepts and why some of us may find a little “Neander” in our genes. With examples from “At the Crossroads” video and DNA Portrait traveling show, Fellman explains how some genes may be a surprising and generous gift from our ancient and now extinct cousins.

These events are all free, but registration is required. Check out some of the events. If Lynn’s talk interests you, you might also want to listen to the Atheists Talk episode from this past Sunday, in which John Hawks and Greg Laden discussed the Neandertal contribution to our genome, as well as that of the lesser-known Denisovans. Find out where we came from and what that does (and doesn’t) mean for us today.

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