Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Pardis Sabeti Reveals the Future of Genomics

Pardis Sabeti: Well, so I think what genomics-- Let’s see. Actually-- So-- Yeah. I don’t know if it’s in my dream world. I would say I think what will likely happen, right, is that the technology is moving so fast that likely in the next five to ten years sequencing will become so easy and facile that everyone will be sequenced and we’ll start sequencing and lots of different organisms on earth and we’ll understand everything that is- exists in our genomes. Right. And that’s only just the tip of the iceberg ‘cause there’s so much other stuff going on that we are yet to understand, but the genome will tell us whether all the different variations that are important and that have evolved over time, that even if they haven’t actually morphed through chance even that affect different physical characteristics are risks for diabetes and hypertension and macular degeneration and that they’ll basically point us to all of the different important pathways involved in disease and survival.

And from there actually the question just begins because then we’ll have to understand well, what to make of all those changes and what can we do biologically to help that. So if it’s something that- we find something important in diabetes how do we develop therapeutics for it? If it’s something that it important for malaria, how do we- that protects from malaria, how do we mimic that therapeutic? So it’s really just a point of launching, a launching point to then- for a lot more exploration, but- and there are definitely-- So it’s an exciting time to understand how- and how we’re all related, how those- how the- how- what are all the variations that we have, how are those variations important functionally?

And I think that the most important thing is through that process that we have really clear ethical and cultural standards, that we do it in an appropriate way. So I remember in that book as I- in the movie Contact Jodie Foster’s asked, “What was the one question that you would ask?” I thought it was really-- A lot of times movies have really poignant moments but they said, “If you got to meet the higher life, what would you ask?” and the question was “How did you do it? How did you go through this transition to technology and not destroy yourself?” And I think that that’s an important question to ask all the time is how do we go through these points where we have all of this information and we don’t somehow use it in a way that’s dangerous?

 

Question: How do you maintain ethics in your research?

 

Pardis Sabeti: So what is good is that the scientific community is- a few things that have happened recently have pointed us to the dangers of this kind of information and so there are a lot of people that are circling around the ethical issues of understanding ourselves and the differences between human populations and information about our own genes that could be important. So yeah, I think that there are a lot of people taking it very seriously and so- and more and more ethics training is coming in to graduate work so that-- both in the ethics of how we conduct research and then the ethics of the information that we get.

So I think there’s a lot of people focused on it. My-- The institute I’m at, the Broad Institute, I’ve always really respected the way that they do it. They are very in to the public- making all of their data publicly available, engaging the community. We put a lot of our efforts towards communications so that people understand. We never-- We try not to obviously overstate what we do. We try to engage the community and be careful about a lot of cultural sensitivity so I appreciate that I would say Eric Lander and David Altshuler, who are leading in these efforts of studying genomics and human variation, take it very, very seriously and are very cautious about it and- but it’s not just there. That’s just where I work but a lot of people in the community that find it important.

 

Recorded on: June 29, 2008

 

 

Harvard genomics professor Pardis Sabeti on the revolution happening in your body.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
Keep reading Show less

Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

These new status behaviours are what one expert calls 'inconspicuous consumption'.

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Tiffany
Politics & Current Affairs
In 1899, the economist Thorstein Veblen observed that silver spoons and corsets were markers of elite social position.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast