Michio Kaku
Professor of Theoretical Physics, CUNY

Genetics: The Key to Immortality?

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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.

Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is a futurist, popularizer of science, and theoretical physicist, as well as a bestselling author and the host of two radio programs. He is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory. He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics and a joint appointment at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of C.U.N.Y. He is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Kaku launched his Big Think blog, "Dr. Kaku's Universe," in March 2010.


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.

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