BiPiSci: Identity Crisis (5-4-2019)

Playlist for Show: Big Picture Science

Hosts: Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley

Guests: Tina Hesman Saey  – Senior writer covering molecular biology for Science News, including a series on genetic testing; Carl Zimmer – Columnist for The New York Times, author of, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity; Kevin Bowyer – Professor of computer science and engineering, University of Notre Dame.

DNA is the gold standard of all identification methods.  Except when it’s not. So, while we refine our ability to work with the double helix, scientists search for a more practical biomarker to indicate who we are.  In this hour: chimeras – people who have two sets of DNA; a reporter whose ancestry tests revealed she is related to Napoleon and Marie Antoinette; and the eyes have it in Somaliland, the first nation to use iris scans in an election.  Find out why your irises may be what ultimately distinguishes you from the crowd.

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