Troublesome Inheritance #287

October 17, 2014

This week, we're looking at the intersection of race, history and genetics in science writer Nicholas Wade's 2014 book "A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History." DNA researcher Jennifer Raff and science journalist David Dobbs share their critiques of the claim that differences between genetically distinct "races" are responsible for global divergence in cultural and political structures. And blogger Scicurious walks us through the (delicious) basics of the scientific method with Cookie Science.


  • David Dobbs
  • Jennifer Raff
  • Bethany Brookshire

Guest Bios

David Dobbs

David Dobbs writes books as well as features and essays for The New York Times, National Geographic, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Slate, Aeon, Nature, and other publications. His magazine features are regularly chosen for leading anthologies, and he is now writing his fourth book, "The Orchid and the Dandelion" due out in 2015. When Dobbs isn’t working, he likes to hike, bike, fish, bird, garden, ski, paddle, or play with his camera.

Jennifer Raff

Jennifer Raff is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas with a dual Ph.D. in anthropology and genetics and many years of experience in researching ancient and modern human DNA from the Americas. In addition to her research, she's been writing on issues of scientific literacy and anthropological research at her own website, Violent Metaphors, and for The Guardian, HuffPost, Forbes, and Evolution Institute blogs for several years. She is the author of the book "Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas".

Bethany Brookshire

Bethany Brookshire is a freelance science journalist and the author of the book "Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains". She is also a host and producer on the podcast "Science for the People". She is a former staff writer with Science News magazine and Science News for Students, a digital magazine covering the latest in scientific research for kids ages 9-14. Her freelance writing has appeared in Scientific American, Science News magazine, Science News Explores, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Slate and other outlets. Bethany has a PhD in Physiology and Pharmacology from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She was a 2019-2020 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT.