The deeper genome, junk DNA and epigenetics
Tuesday, 09 June 2015, 7pm to 9pm
Oxford University Museum of Natural History visitor centre
The Human Genome Project was supposed to allow us to rapidly make use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes humans unique. Yet not only did we turn out to have far fewer genes than originally thought – slightly more than 20,000, not so different to a fruit fly or worm – the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2 per cent. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'?
John Parrington will explain exciting new findings that show the human genome is much more complex than originally thought. He will discuss layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of the genome’s 3D geometry; and the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different from each other, and be passed on to the next generation.
He will also discuss comparisons with the genomes of chimps as well as Neanderthals, which are revealing exciting new information about the biological differences that underlie our unique human attributes, such as our capacity for language and self-conscious awareness.
No ticket, no booking, no prior knowledge of the topic required. All welcome.