(Photo credit: Flickr user Saynine)
The world recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the complex cellular instructions known as DNA. Currently, scientists across the globe are doing a lot more than showing off computer-generated spinning double helix models — they are using DNA to do almost unbelievable things — like create tailor-made microbes and resurrected mammoths.
Below, 5 talks on the wonder of deoxyribonucleic acid.
Sex, evolution, and innovation: Frances Arnold at TEDxUSC
We all know that organisms combine genes to create offspring. But what if we could harness those self-replicating processes and make them work for us, asks scientist Frances Arnold. At TEDxUSC, Arnold takes us through a world of possibilities, from testing drugs on microbes to aiding cancer drugs with engineered cells.
What does your genome reveal about you?: Gilean McVean at TEDxWarwick
The first sequenced human genome took years of work and billions of dollars to complete. Today, a person’s genome can be sequenced overnight for a just few thousand dollars. At TEDxWarwick, geneticist Gilean McVean examines the consequences of this technological advance and what it means for our understanding of disease.
How to bring a mammoth back to life: Beth Shapiro at TEDxDeExtinction
Bringing ancient mammoths back to life is assuredly a daunting task, but a major roadblock has been the lack of a complete mammoth genetic sequence due to deterioration over time. Scientist Beth Shaprio reveals the novel approaches that she and her colleagues are taking to revive ancient mammoths.
Creating algae factories for sustainable fuel: Michiel Mathijs at TEDxGhent
In this short and sweet talk from TEDxGhent, Michiel Mathijs elaborates on his plan to take species of algae, one of the most common life forms on the planet, and biologically engineer them to produce oil for fuel. Along the way, Mathijs addresses concerns over bioengineering, describing scientists as not composers, but the “DJs of life,” mixing and matching genetic material.
Genetically evolved technology: Luke Bawazer at TEDxWarwick
Inspired by evolution in the natural world, Luke Bawazer’s work incorporates a type of “synthetic DNA” to test and improve materials like computer chips. According to Bawazer, this type of man-made evolution might one day lead to products that naturally adapt to suit the needs of consumers.
Valentine’s Day is here and we’re all about love on the TEDx blog this week. If you aren’t yet fulfilled by Jocob Berkson’s exploration into the philosophy of love, Helen Fisher’s studies into the biological underpinning of “the one”, or David Page’s genetic revelation into the health implications of gender differences, these 6 should quell your desire:
Amy Webb shirks her relatives dating advice, quantifies her desires, and manipulates the online-dating experience to successfully find love.
Psychologist Debby Herbenick shares the results of some of her studies investigating the value of focused, exclusive and, of course, fun sex.
With beautiful underwater photography, Muljadi Pinneng explores the coral reefs of Indonesia to show you some of the strangest sexual practices in the wild world.
In a profound and impeccably reasoned talk, Ronald de Sousa challenges the notion that there’s such a thing as “natural” love.
Nicole Daedone prescribes mindful sex — a possible cure for relationships that have lost their spark.
Television actress and pole dancer Sheila Kelly describes how she found her “erotic creature” within and encourages everyone to do the same.