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Your Biological Biography Genes and Identity

Saturday, May 31, 2008
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The advent of direct-to-consumer DNA testing means that anyone with cash and curiosity can now glimpse their molecular makeup. Personal genomics will soon be common currency. Nobel Laureate Paul Nurse, geneticist Francis Collins and other prominent researchers discussed how personal genomics will affect our lives. To what extent do our genes determine our health and who we are? What are the dangers and opportunities of viewing ourselves in molecular terms? If your DNA can hint at your future, will you read your biological biography?

Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Francis CollinsGeneticist, Physician

Francis Collins is known for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and leadership of the Human Genome Project, an international project that culminated in 2003 with the completion of a finished sequence of the human DNA instruction book.

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Misha AngristTest Subject

Misha Angrist is a 43-year-old male who is near-sighted and has a family history of heart disease. He has 23 pairs of chromosomes, a wife, and two children.

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Latanya SweeneyComputer Scientist

Computer scientist Latanya Sweeney is interested in the intersection between technology and policy. She has had a major impact on the health care industry and on the creation of systems and legislation that insure patients’ privacy rights.

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James EvansPhysician, Geneticist

Physician and geneticist James Evans uses family history and genetic testing to evaluate and counsel patients about their risk for cancer. His research explores how genetics influences an individual’s response to medication.

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Nikolas RoseSociologist

Sociologist Nikolas Rose is interested in how genomics affects personal identity and the social and legal ramifications of studying the human genome. He is the James Martin White Professor of Sociology and the Director of the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics.

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Paul NurseGeneticist

Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist who has worked on how the eukaryotic cell cycle is controlled and how cell shape and cell dimensions are determined. His major work has been on the cyclin dependent protein kinases and how they regulate cell reproduction.

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