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Tuesday, 16 February 2016, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

Germs, Genes and Genesis: The History of Infectious Disease

Professor Steve Jones

Where do infectious diseases come from? Some come from animals, but we gave some back (as cattle picked up TB from farmers). Leviticus discusses the problem of leprosy at some length and even develops an early form of quarantine. Epidemics of various kinds began only when human populations and the first cities (Babylon included) were large enough to sustain the infectious agents responsible. 

Now genetics, of humans and their enemies, is beginning to tell us more. And the news is not good. 

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Professor Steve Jones is Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London and an author of several popular science books. He is one of the world's top six experts on the genetics of snails (and the other five agree) and has also studied the genetics and evolution of fruit flies and humans.

Professor Jones was born in 1944 in Aberystwyth, Wales, and has degrees from the University of Edinburgh and University of Chicago. Much of his academic research has been concerned with snails and the light their anatomy can shed on biodiversity and genetics. He is Professor of genetics at Galton Laboratory of University College London, and has had visiting posts at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Davis, University of Botswana, Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone, and Flinders University in Adelaide.

Professor Jones is probably best known to the general public as a regular broadcaster and writer of popular books on scientific issues. He gave the 1991 Reith Lecture on "The Language of the Genes", has written and presented a Radio 3 series on science and the arts, "Blue Skies", and a TV series on human genetics, "In the Blood". He also appears on other radio and TV programmes, such as Today, Question Time, Late Review and Newsnight , and writes a regular column in The Daily Telegraph, "View from the Lab".

His many books include Genetics for Beginners (Icon Books), The Language of the Genes (HarperCollins), In The Blood (HarperCollins), Almost like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated (Anchor Books), Y: the Descent of Men (Little, Brown).

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16 February 2016

Germs, Genes and Genesis: The History of Infectious Disease
Professor Steve Jones

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