This book explores the answers to fundamental questions about the human mind and human behaviour with the help of two ancient texts. The first is Oedipus Rex (Oedipus Tyrannus) by Sophocles, written in the 5th century BCE. The second is human DNA, with its origins around 4 billion years ago, and continuously revised by chance and evolution. With Sophocles as a guide, the authors take a journey into the Genomic era, an age marked by ever-expanding insights into the human genome. Over the course of this journey, the book explores themes of free will, fate, and chance; prediction, misinterpretation, and the burden that comes with knowledge of the future; self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophecies; the forces that contribute to similarities and differences among people; roots and lineage; and the judgement of oneself and others. Using Oedipus Rex as its lens, this novel work provides an engaging overview of behavioural genetics that demonstrates its relevance across the humanities and the social and life sciences. It will appeal in particular to students and scholars of genetics, education, psychology, sociology, and law.


Available on AmazonPalgraveBlackwell’s and other sellers; as well as from many libraries such as that of Goldsmiths, University of London; and New York University.

Selected talks on the book

American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS)


Free will in the Genomic Era

By Fatos Selita, May 2022


Covered: What the latest scientific findings from genetics and others sciences mean for our view on ‘Free Will’. How, over centuries, societies have applied the having and not having free will in different contexts, including justice; and how can we implement the ‘new’ truth on free will across life aspects.

Karolinska Institutet.


What is Life? Oedipus Rex in the Genomic Era

By Professor Yulia Kovas, January 2022

Part of ‘What is Life’ series 


Video of the talk

Science Festival, Göteborg


Living in the Genomics Era: a Journey into the Unknown

By Professor Yulia Kovas, May 2022


Part of the Science Festival. Read more…

Max Planck Institute


Oedipus Rex in the Genomic Era

By Professor Yulia Kovas, May 2022


Video available soon after talk. Read more…