Monday, August 12, 2013

Marcus Feldman - Cultural Contingency and Gene-Culture Coevolution

This is a very interesting and informative talk (the parts I fully grasped, anyway) about the interplay between genes and culture in human evolution. Marcus Feldman (Wohlford Professor of Biological Sciences, Director of the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies, Stanford University) was one of the pioneering population geneticists in the study of gene-culture coevolution, going back to 1973.
His specific areas of research include the evolution of complex genetic systems that can undergo both natural selection and recombination, and the evolution of learning as one interface between modern methods in artificial intelligence and models of biological processes, including communication. He also studies the evolution of modern humans using models for the dynamics of molecular polymorphisms, especially DNA variants. He helped develop the quantitative theory of cultural evolution, which he applies to issues in human behavior, and also the theory of niche construction, which has wide applications in ecology and evolutionary analysis.
Here is a link to a 1985 paper on gene-culture coevolution: Gene-culture coevolution: Models for the evolution of altruism with cultural transmission (w/ L L Cavalli-Sforza, and J R Peck. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Vol. 82(17), pp. 5814-5818, September 1985; Evolution)

Cultural Contingency and Gene - Culture Coevolution

Published on Jul 22, 2013

Speaker: Marc Feldman, Stanford University, SFI Science Board
Response: Henry Wright, University of Michigan, SFI Science Board
May 3, 2013

New Perspectives in Evolution - Symposium
May 02, 2013 - May 04, 2013
Santa Fe, NM

This annual SFI Science Board meeting will focus on building a vision for future SFI research directions. The topic this year focuses on new quantitative, biological, and cultural perspectives on evolution.

Click here to download the agenda.

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