The Gene: An Intimate History

Join WSKG for an online screening  April 9th at 7 pm 

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Scientific genetics, little more than a century old, holds at once the promise of eradicating disease and the threat of altering the very essence of what it means to be human. “The Gene: An Intimate History” traces the dizzying evolution of this new science as researchers race to identify treatments for genetic diseases, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, and to perfect tools for rewriting DNA. Guest Speakers:

Chris Durrance
Filmmaker

Dr. Maria Garcia-Garcia
Cornell University Associate Professor Molecular Biology and Genetics

Dr. Cedric Feschotte
Cornell University Professor Molecular Biology & Genetics

“The Gene: An Intimate History” brings vividly to life the story of today’s revolution in medical science through present-day tales of patients and doctors at the forefront of the search for genetic treatments, interwoven with a compelling history of the discoveries that made this possible and the ethical challenges raised by the ability to edit DNA with precision.  
The series uses science, social history and personal stories to weave together a historical biography of the human genome while also exploring the stunning breakthroughs in understanding the impact genes play on heredity, disease and behavior. From the story of the remarkable achievements of the earliest gene hunters and the bitterly fought race to read the entire human genome, to the unparalleled ethical challenges of gene editing, the documentary is a journey through key genetics discoveries that are some of the greatest achievements in the history of science.

In Your Skin, a Catalog of Sun-Induced Mutations

Science Friday examines what happens to your skin once out in the sunshine. “Normal” human skin cells can contain a surprisingly large number of sun-induced mutations in their DNA, a new study has found. Philip Jones, a cancer researcher at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K., and colleagues took samples of cells from eyelid skin discarded during plastic surgery procedures. By sequencing the DNA in those skin samples, they were able to develop a picture of the types of mutations that can accumulate in skin cells over time. They found that over a quarter of normal, sun-exposed skin cells carry at least one “driver mutation” that can give that cell a reproductive advantage.