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Monday, February 25, 2008

Neil Shubin Writes

In an op-ed in Sunday's New York Times, Neil Shubin, author of the recently released book Your Inner Fish, asks us to rethink what is "natural" when it comes to reproduction. Shubin argues there is a biological basis for cloning (using the example of parthenogenesis, the biological term for virgin birth, which has occurred in some dragons, lizards, and fish) and reminds us that a number of creatures can change sexes during their lifetimes. Judging just what is "natural" is a tricky endeavor, he shows—something he says we should keep in mind when we invoke nature to help us make moral arguments or ethical choices. —Heather Wax