links for 2010-03-23

  • The development of cost-effective DNA sequencing technology, combined with public interest in DNA, has led to huge growth in the market for DNA tests, bought and delivered online. These tests are marketed in different ways: some focus on people's fear of disease, others play on the desire to know the future and yet others offer information about history of your DNA in the belief that it will tell you something fundamental about yourself.

    How might this type of DNA testing inform human identity?

    At the beginning of 2009, as part of Routes (an eight-week game from Channel 4 Education in association with the Wellcome Trust), comedian Katherine Ryan embarked on quest to find out the secrets hidden in her genes. Is there such a thing as a fat gene? How much do genes affect personality? And how will the results of Katherine's tests impact her day-to-day life?

  • Like it or not, the golden arches of McDonalds are one of the most easily recognised icons of the modern world. The culture they represent is one of instant gratification and saved time, of ready-made food that can be bought cheaply and eaten immediately. Many studies have looked at the effects of these foods on our waistlines, but their symbols and brands are such a pervasive part of our lives that you'd expect them to influence the way we think too.

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