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Science & Technology

Meet Butterfly Biologist Frederik Nijhout

Frederik Nijhout grew up in post-World War II Holland, and his childhood was full of stories from the war, including his father's imprisonment by the Germans and his daring escape with forged travel documents. As a child, he moved to Guatemala and later to Curaçao where he was captivated by the diverse and colorful nature.

That fascination carried over until adulthood and into a career as a developmental physiologist at Duke University. Nijhout researches the patterns and colors on butterfly wings and has drawn surprising connections between the genetic development of butterflies and humans. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Nijhout about his childhood, his long-standing career in physiology and how his work has given him new insights into the dangers of acetaminophen.

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