Newmark Theatre

2019 Saward Lecture: Ting (Chao-Ting) Wu

Suddenly, Genomics: The Edge of What We Know, The Ledge on Which We Stand

In a mere 100 years, we have gone from wondering what the basis of inheritance might be to pondering the pros and cons of whether to alter our genetic make-up. We have gone from accepting the genetic diseases that have passed faithfully from one generation to the next in our family lineages to contemplating whether or not to eliminate those traits, forever. We have discovered, invented, and surpassed imagination in how we have studied, tinkered with, and dared to use genetic technologies, and now we stand in both awe and apprehension of where we might go in the next 100 years: augmenting food production, eliminating the ravages of parasite-borne diseases such as malaria, reversing aging, storing books and movies in DNA, and bringing back the woolly mammoth. What will be the balance of solutions and dilemmas emerging from the use of genetic information and capabilities to battle disease, mitigate climate change, and promote space travel? These will be the topics and questions of the hour.

Ting (Chao-Ting) Wu, PhD
Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Consortium for Space Genetics, and Director of the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd)

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