Dick Kowles, distinguished professor emeritus of biology from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, gave his 23rd presentation on genetics to the Winona Learning Club on November 22. His topic was "Almost Eight Billion People In the World and Everyone is Unique."
His PowerPoint presentation took the form of an argument. The main thesis of the argument was that, in all probability, no two people are exactly alike; that is, in a genetic sense. Much of this stance was initially related as the result of meiosis, which is the process of a vast shuffling of chromosomes and genes. However, additional phenomena are involved in perpetuating uniqueness among humans. These many other causes, such as crossing over, genomic imprinting, position effect, and maternal inheritance, were explained in some detail and with examples. An explanation of epigenetics showed why identical births can also be different from each other. Lastly, techniques for obtaining inbred plants and animals were outlined to show a contrast to the human population.