FEB 25, 2017 4:36 PM PST

Secrets of the Human Genome - a Killian Lecture From MIT

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

This video is presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it features the president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and MIT's James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award winner for 2016-2017, Professor Eric Lander, a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician. He is known for playing a major role in sequencing the human genome.

His lecture gets kicked off around the ninth minute, and he reflects a bit on his long career, mentioning many influential people he met along his journey. Near the 25th minute he gets into the science and the many changes he saw; in the 1980s researchers began to conclusively associate specific gene defects with diseases, and he was around when some of the landmark discoveries were made in the field, such as the discovery of a cystic fibrosis gene. Later his own major paper about the human genome would be published. The tremendous scope of his career makes for interesting reflections and some good anecdotes. It took only 50 years from the Watson Crick discoveries for people to acquire the genetic sequence.

He brings us to the current state of research around the 36th minute; investigators were left without solid answers about the genetic causes of common diseases even after a complete genetic sequence was known. They soon learned that inside each gene, small variations from person to person would help explain how genes contribute to more complex and common disorders. He goes on to provide some current examples in this expansive and intriguing lecture.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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