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Scientific Controversies No. 10: Genetic Manipulation

Thursday, Mar 09, 2017

Doors open at 7pm
Conversation begins at 8pm

Free w/ RSVP
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Genes have exploited organisms as vehicles for their own survival since the emergence of life. The creature dies but the genes themselves survive, immortal in replication. The gene is nearly perfectly duplicated with the notable rare random mutation occasionally amplified by natural selection, slowly over generations. With recent scientific advances, we’re able to intentionally modify genes in the span of a few hours. No longer hapless carriers at the genome’s mercy, we could control which genes survive. We can eliminate diseases in a stroke, design babies, or even design a stronger smarter species, but at what cost to the future of humanity?

Director of Sciences Janna Levin invites renowned geneticist George Church of Harvard and physician/biologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, to discuss the stunning implications and potential disasters of a brave new genetically modified world.

Prior to the Sci-Con discussion, guests will be invited to participate in a hands-on interactive molecular biology station led by Dr. Ellen Jorgensen of Genspace. Following the Sci-Con discussion, guests are invited to a pop-up Genetics Bar where expert geneticists will be available to discuss ideas and answer any questions precipitated by the conversation while mingling with refreshments and enjoying music by DJ Black Helmet.


Janna Levin
Astrophysicist, Barnard/Columbia; Director of Sciences at Pioneer Works; author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space.

With guests:

George Church is the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT, and author of Regenesis, How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.  http://arep.med.harvard.edu/gmc/

Siddhartha Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and staff physician at Columbia University Medical Center, and Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, and most recently The Gene: An Intimate Historyhttp://siddharthamukherjee.com

This project was supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.