Articles by Phil Nista

In addition to being a lifelong fan of sci-fi, Phil Nista is also a freelance writer and editor. It's as profitable as it sounds, and he's never been happier. He holds both a BS in ecology and evolutionary biology and PhD in plain old biology from the University of Connecticut (go basketball!) and Indiana University (go even more basketball!), respectively. Though Phil is fairly tall, he does not care for basketball.


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What is "Evo-Devo's" role in Orphan Black?

Season 2 of Orphan Black left us with a couple of doozies. First and foremost, we found there is But we also found out that the scholarly clone Orphan Black Wikia - Cosima Niehaus (Tatiana Maslany) is perhaps . Luckily, Cosima is a biologist currently working from inside the maligned Dyad Institute so at least...

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nature vs nurture
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Does Nature vs Nurture explain differences among the clones in 'Orphan Black'?

The third season of BBC America’s critically acclaimed Orphan Black picked up right where it left off. Once again the defiant Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany), brainy Cosima Niehaus (Tatiana Maslany), and straight-laced Alison Hendrix (also, somehow, Tatiana Maslany) are cascading through the Orphan Black universe as technologically impossible clones (as discussed in two previous blog...

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Orphan Black Spindle Proteins
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Are 'spindle proteins' preventing human cloning on Orphan Black?

Last time we learned that modern synthetic biology is still (thankfully?) years away from synthesizing human genomes. But I also hinted that the challenge of writing a genome from scratch wasn’t the only thing preventing the Dyad Institute from dominating the world with an army of clones. In episode 6 of season two, To Hound...

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Orphan Black CLones
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Can synthetic biology create Orphan Black's clones?

Ever since Frankenstein, science fiction has warned us of the dangers science and technology pose to our very humanity, and the BBC America series Orphan Black does a better job of this than most. As if it weren’t creepy enough to clone humans and clandestinely spy on their lives, the ethically questionable Dyad Institute also...

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