Science for All Seasons

Science for All Seasons gives you a chance to explore hot topics in genomics with leading experts from the Broad Institute. Find out what key advances, new technologies, and the latest findings mean for you in this free and open lecture series.

2021 Lectures

Tuesday, January 26, 5:00-6:00pm
Clarity from comparison: How other animals' genomes illuminate our own
Elinor Karlsson and Diane Genereux

The human genome is huge — more than three billion As, Cs, Ts, and Gs strung together and packaged into 23 chromosomes. But even with the biotech advances of the last 20 years, its workings remain mostly a mystery.

The Zoonomia Project is comparing hundreds of species' genomes to investigate genome function. We are finding that some parts of the genome are so important that they are identical among species separated by millions of years of evolution, while others are uniquely human. By discovering the genomic secrets of species that perform incredible feats of physiology — such as hibernating ground squirrels that go months without eating, and deep-diving seals that endure minutes without breathing — we are using evolutionary history to help inform the next generation of therapeutics.

Genome biologists Elinor Karlsson and Diane Genereux will describe how comparative genomics is shaping our understanding of human health and, in the process, supporting efforts to protect species at risk of extinction.