Genetics: The Key to Immortality?

Theoretical Physicist, Author, and Science Educator
Within 10 years, everyone will have a digital copy of their genome for just $1000, and by comparing millions of these codes, we may find the cure for aging and many other diseases.
  • Transcript


Michio Kaku: Now because computer power keeps doubling every 18 months, it means that that will affect biology; specifically genomics, meaning that within 10 years time, I expect us to have a CD-ROM with every single gene in our body costing about $1,000.  Today, to sequence every gene in your body would cost $50,000.  That is the cheapest you can sequence every single gene in your body.

Because of Moore's Law because things are being computer powered, it will be cheaper and cheaper, it means that within a 10-year period of time it means that that genomics will cost may be just about a  thousand dollars and that will be the basis of all your medicine.  Which means that we'll be able to scan millions of genomes with a computer that can create a revolution in how we numerically analyze genes.  For example, let's say we have a million old people and a million young people, we sequenced genes of old people, sequenced the genomes of young people because all of them have a CD-ROM, and we subtract.  That allows you to isolate where aging takes place, specifically which genes are damaged in the aging process.

Think of a car.  Where does aging take place car?  Well, the engine, why?  Because that's where combustion takes place, that's where we have the gum of deposits and soot buildup in the engine because that's where oxidation takes place.  But where does oxidation takes place in itself?  The mitochondria.  The mitochondrion is the engine of the cell.  So we now know where aging takes place.  And by scanning the genes, we can look at the genes of the mitochondria and be able to repair some of those genes.  And that could open up a whole new realm of biology.  In other words, biology will be reduced to computer science.