The Mail tries genetics

Scottish scientists established the link after discovering that Eliza\’s descendants carried a rare strand of DNA – known as mitochondrial DNA – which can only be passed on by a mother.

No, really, just no.

10 thoughts on “The Mail tries genetics”

  1. I did a year’s Biology O-level. Shall I get a job at the Mail?

    Of course, I’d then have to lie about what I did for a living …

  2. The problem, as we see plentiful examples of in coverage of business and tax for instance, is that journalists tend to be specialists in journalism, rather than being specialists in, say, biology or whatever and also having a flair for journalism.

  3. Ah, reason explained: this NS piece contains extensive quotes from the original Times piece that broke the story, including:

    Jim Wilson, a genetics expert at the University of Edinburgh and BritainsDNA, who carried out the tests, said that Eliza’s descendants had an incredibly rare type of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), inherited only from a mother.

    So the Times has written a factually accurate, but badly-written and ambiguous-if-you-are-an-idiot sentence, and the DM has straight-up plagiarised it while running with the if-you-are-an-idiot interpretation.

    So no, the problem is not even slightly that journalists tend to be specialists in journalism. That would be fine. You don’t need to know anything about a topic to write about it *if you ensure that what you are saying is taken from and makes sense to people who do*.

    The problem is that the DM typewriter-operator doesn’t know anything about the topic *and* didn’t do any journalism.

  4. Bloke in Spain, don’t get me started a about that useless old tosser! The mere mentioning of that sod’s name ruined my siesta.

  5. Too bloody lazy/thick to try wikipedia. Probably an intern placement :where to find a yoof with internetphobia FFS?

  6. Never forget what Michael Crichton called the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. The funny thing is, the Mail’s science coverage is actually fairly good, in that it runs quite a few science stories and is no more cringe-inducingly clueless about them than more serious papers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *