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Reading Genes and Genomes

Summary

Dr. Eric Lander takes us on a tour of this remarkable genetic century, describing the rapid advances in DNA sequencing technologies and information science.

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(Duration: 58 min 9 sec)

The 20th century opened with the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel's work on inheritance. By the close of the century, the human genome was almost fully sequenced. Dr. Lander takes us on a tour of this remarkable genetic century, demonstrating how rapid advances in DNA sequencing technologies and information science have been essential in accelerating the pace of whole-genome sequencing of different organisms. He also discusses the total number of human genes and other features of the human genome. A comparison of the human genome with the recently completed mouse genome reveals remarkable similarities, as well as some important evolutionary differences.

"In chapters 22–24 of the HHMI Holiday Lecture, Scanning Life's Matrix: Genes, Proteins, and Small Molecules, Dr. Eric S. Lander asks the question, 'How big is the human genome?' To give the audience a visual representation of the size of the genome, he shows a video of some college students he had instructed to tape newspapers to the sidewalks of Manhattan, with each newspaper representing a certain length of the genome. I use this with my biotechnology students and especially enjoy their delight when they see how many Manhattan blocks the human genome covers, and how long it takes to accomplish this task on a cold wintry day!"
– Sherry Annee (Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, IN)

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Lecture (MP4)
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