It’s a profound question facing modern humans: Are we still subject to natural selection? After hundreds of years of scientific progress, many of the pressures that control evolution—predators and disease—are decreasing. At the same time, technology capable of engineering the genome is in our hands. Are we undergoing a new form of evolution in which artificial changes are faster and more radical than those produced by the natural world? Should we control our own genetic material? Where will these changes lead us? Renowned geneticists, paleoanthropologists, and biologists consider our genetic future as evolution evolves.
This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
Three-time Peabody Award winner, four-time Emmy Award winner, and Dateline NBC correspondent John Hockenberry has broad experience as a journalist and commentator for more than two decades. Hockenberry is the anchor of the public radio show The Takeaway on WNYC and PRI.
Henry T. (Hank) Greely is the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics at Stanford University. Greely graduated from Stanford and Yale Law School. He was a law clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom on the Fifth Circuit and Justice Potter Stewart on the Supreme Court.
Samuel H. Sternberg, PhD, runs a research laboratory at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Sternberg’s research focuses on the mechanism of DNA targeting by RNA-guided bacterial immune systems (CRISPR-Cas) and on the development of these systems for genome engineering.
Ian Tattersall is a prominent anthropologist whose work focuses on the evolution of humans and other primates. He is a curator emeritus for the division of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and an adjunct professor at Columbia University and the City University of New York.
Sarah Tishkoff is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, holding appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences. She studies genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans.