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Destiny and DNA: Our Pliable Genome

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Published on Oct 31, 2014

Our genes strictly dictate our personalities, appearance and diseases. Or do they? Research has revealed that genes can turn on and off; they can be expressed for years and then silenced. Sometimes, they are never activated. And these genetic instructions—how and when DNA is read—can be determined by the experiences of one’s ancestors, even those several generations back. Epigenetics studies these instructions, the biological markers along our DNA that regulate gene expression in response to features like age or environment, and which can influence the traits we pass onto our children. Glimpse into the future with scientists at the forefront of this emerging field as they reveal the role our genetic markers play in steering our biological destiny.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series.

The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Our mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.

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Original Program Date: June 1, 2013
MODERATOR: Bill Blakemore
PARTICIPANTS: Frances A. Champagne, Randy L. Jirtle, Jean-Pierre Issa

Bill Blakemore's Introduction 00:06

Participant Introductions 1:55

A brief history of Epigenetics. 3:16

What is Epigenetics? 4:30

Can your DNA be effected by the natural world? 6:05

Why do identical twins end up being different people? 9:17

The mechanics of the physical genome. 14:05

Humans wouldn't be here without variation. 18:35

Three breakthrough studies. 21:41

What is cold mother syndrome? 33:30

The measuring of Epigenetics. 41:05

What are the risks to treat neurological disorders with Epigenetics? 47:24

Is there any denial to the insights of Epigenetics? 53:44

Will we sue our genealogical past? 59:30

The eugenics movement today. 1:05:50

Will there be pills that can change our DNA? 1:10:00

Can this therapy revert metastasis process? 1:15:14

Does what extent does bacteria in the body effect metastasis?1:15:55

What is the effect of culture on Epigenetics? 1:18:49

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