Marina Wallace: Why was the genius of the man who pioneered the science of genetics ignored for so long?

Taken from a lecture given by the senior lecturer at St Martin's College of Art and Design to a conference on genetics held in London

Hot Spot: Shrewsbury, Shropshire

A natural selection

Books: Motherhood is a woman's secret weapon

Mother Nature: Natural Selection of the Female of the Species by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy Chatto pounds 20

time lapse: The ascent of man

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published 140 years ago this month, in November 1859. A relatively short, populist work, it was penned in a hurry to beat the publication of a rival tome. It immediately became a bestseller, and it is Darwin's name which is now for ever associated with evolutionary theory. Chinese-born Daniel Lee's digitally morphed Origin (right), currently on show in Portugal, is an imaginative and, as he confesses, a not-altogether scientific expression of Darwin's ideas, charting an evolutionary journey from the rare Coelacanth fish through reptile and ape to human. There are no immediate plans to show Lee's work in Kansas, however, where the State Board of Education decided in August to purge references to evolution from the school curriculum, the latest victory in the battle being waged in the US by the Creationists, religious fundamentalists who deny the evidence of fossils and species variation to assert the literal truth of Genesis. Ironically, Darwin himself, who agonised about the profound implications for Christianity of his work, is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Column One: At last, Lonesome George can come out of his shell

BONK, BONK, bonk. That should be the libidinous sound of shell against shell but for Lonesome George, the last giant tortoise of his kind, there have been nearly 30 years of silent celibacy.

Podium TOBY GREEN: We still have a lesson to learn from Darwin

From a speech by the author of `Travels with Darwin' to the Royal Geographical Society
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