Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 5 July Edition: Monsters and Mutations

Status Report From: SETI Institute
Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2006


Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio

Hosted by Dr. Seth Shostak

July 5, 2006 (available for download July 6, 2006) "Monsters and Mutations"

The X-Men may be the mutants of the silver screen, but, minus wings and retractable claws, we're all mutants genetically. An accumulation of beneficial mutations gave Homo erectus a leg up on survival, after all.

We'll look at the role of mutations in evolution – from what wooly mammoth DNA reveals about the elephant family tree to the few tweaks in viral DNA that could turn avian flu into a human pandemic.

Also, what a chimp-human hybrid ancestor suggests about the fuzzy definition of species, and whether a blip in simian DNA could produce a giant Kong.

And a dramatic monkeying with mutations: Ping Pong by the SETI Institute Players.


  • Ian Wilson, Molecular Biologist, Scripps Research Institute
  • James Mallet, Biologist, University College of London
  • Lori Marino, Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Emory University
  • Phil Plait, astronomer and author of the book and website
  • Blair Hedges, Professor of Biology, Pennsylvania State University

Are We Alone? is broadcast on Discovery Channel Radio Sirius 119 Wednesdays at 2:00 and 9:00 a.m., and 9:00 p.m. EDT, with a third repeat airing Sundays at 11:00 p.m. EDT.

The show is also available as a download on this site and is podcast as SETI:Science & Skepticism. Podcast information

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