From the very first dog to glowing fish and designer pigs, evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro joins us to reveal the history of human intervention in the natural world.


Virus-free mosquitoes, resurrected dinosaurs, designer humans. Such is the power of the science of tomorrow. But humans manipulating the natural world is not a recent phenomenon. In this livestream talk, Beth Shapiro reveals how we’ve been meddling with nature for over 12,000 years, since the last ice age. It’s just that we’re getting better at it – a lot better.


Drawing on decades of research and cutting-edge technology, Beth will tell the story of the surprisingly long history of human intervention in evolution through hunting, domesticating, polluting, hybridizing, conserving and genetically modifying life on Earth.


She will cast aside the scaremonger myths on the dangers of interference, outlining the true risks and incredible opportunities that new biotechnologies, such as Crispr-Cas9, will offer us in the years ahead. Not only do they offer us the chance to improve our own lives, but they increase the likelihood that we will continue to live in a rich and biologically diverse world.



Beth Shapiro - Professor of Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz




Beth Shapiro is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She has appeared on the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery, and written for the Financial Times and Observer. She is the author of How to Clone a Mammoth, which was one of the Independent’s six best science books of 2015, and won awards from the Association of American Publishers and Independent Publisher Book Awards.