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UCL Lunch Hour Lecture

Incest and folk-dancing: why sex survives. Professor Steve Jones (UCL Biology)

Sir Thomas Beecham once said: "Try anything once but incest and folk-dancing" (he pointed out that brass bands, too, are all very well in their place, "in the open air and several miles away"). Sex with a relative is often frowned upon, but is in fact universal, for we all share ancestors in the recent past. On average, two randomly chosen Britons of European descent are sixth cousins, with their common ancestor alive in Darwin's day. Darwin himself was worried about the effects of close intermarriage, for he married his own first cousin. This lecture will talk about sex, about how inbreeding is an escape from true sexual reproduction, about how some creatures abandon sex altogether - and about how mating within the family is still surprisingly common in some populations (including some within Britain) although it may, at last, be on the way out.


Professor Steve Jones | talks | www


Date and Time:

12 October 2010 at 1:15 pm


1 hour



Gower Street


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Available from:

UCL Lunch Hour Lectures are free and open to all. There is no need to book, and places are on a first-come first-served basis. Alternatively lectures can be watched online streamed live or after the event at www.ucl.ac.uk/lhl/streamed

Additional Information:

More information at www.ucl.ac.uk/lhl or email dan.martin@ucl.ac.uk

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