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.
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/
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 History. http://siddharthamukherjee.com
This project was supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.
- Thursday, Mar 9: Scientific Controversies No. 10: Genetic Manipulation
- Nov 15, 2016: Scientific Controversies No. 9: Dark Matter
- Oct 6, 2016: Scientific Controversies No. 8: Are We Alone?
- Dec 11, 2015: Scientific Controversies No. 7: Containment
- Nov 21, 2015: Scientific Controversies No. 6: One-Way Ticket to Mars
- Jul 22, 2015: Scientific Controversies No. 5: Is Reality Beautiful?
- Jun 18, 2015: Scientific Controversies No. 4: Can We Explain the World?
- Apr 29, 2015: Scientific Controversies No. 3: The Goddamn Particle
- Nov 18, 2014: Scientific Controversies No. 2: Time’s Arrow
- Oct 28, 2014: Scientific Controversies No. 1: Many Worlds