What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Making Sense of the Human Genome

July 28, 2012, 10:30 AM
Humangenom

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

Humans have a gene within their chromosome 10 that can either repair or flaw basic cell processes. The gene called ercc6 plays a very important role, and in the instance of causing a disruptionmental and physical issues will plague a person. Yet, somehow people can avoid experiencing the effects of such a “destruction” to their genetic make up when ercc6 goes awry. For example James Watson, who co-discovered the double helix structure of DNA and was the first head of the Human Genome Project. Based on Watson’s DNA sequenceas reported in 2008, he should have been “blind, deaf, photophobic, prematurely decrepit, and possibly mentally retarded.” Apparently, he had two copies of the ercc6 gene that reportedly should have given Watson Cockaynebut it didn't. “Scientists call this state incomplete penetrance, and they often have no idea how people escape. As a result, predicting who will and won’t get a disease becomes more or less impossible.” The inability to trace diseases back to a person’s DNA and DNA back to diseases “has serious “consequences.” So, what are scientists doing to find ways to make these connections? 

What’s the Big Idea? 

Rare genes can cause serious illnesses in people, and “when a gene works in tandem with dozens of other genes to carry out some multistep process, and so a flaw in any one gene could crash the whole system.” However, it is possible that people can escape certain illnesses altogether. The first head of the Human Genome Project was that of James Watson, who according to scientists, should have contracted Cockaynebecause he carried two copies of the ercc6 gene. One of the reasons scientists have come up with is that some people just get lucky. Reportedly, scientists are looking into the sneeze reflex and PSR as a couple of approaches to make headway into the DNA of “thousands of average Joes and Josephines at once."

 

Making Sense of the Human G...

Newsletter: Share: