MATT RIDLEY'S 23 pairs of chromosomes, together with a doctorate form Oxford University, equipped him for a career as a science journalist with The Economist and the Daily Telegraph. His books include The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nature; Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human; Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature; Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters; Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation; and editor of The Best American Science Writing 2002.
He is chairman of the International Centre for Life, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s science park and visitor centre devoted to life science. He has ingeniously combined his chromosomes with those of his wife, the neuroscientist Dr Anya Hurlbert, to produce two entirely new human beings. His books have been shortlisted for six literary awards. He has been a scientist, a journalist, and a national newspaper columnist. He is also a visiting professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.