playlist

How does DNA work?

Your DNA makes you, you — but how does it work? These talks explore what we know about the genome, the unique genetic sequence that makes up life as we know it.

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  1. 15:28
    Riccardo Sabatini How to read the genome and build a human being

    Secrets, disease and beauty are all written in the human genome, the complete set of genetic instructions needed to build a human being. Now, as scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini shows us, we have the power to read this complex code, predicting things like height, eye color, age and even facial structure — all from a vial of blood. And soon, Sabatini says, our new understanding of the genome will allow us to personalize treatments for diseases like cancer. We have the power to change life as we know it. How will we use it?

  2. 20:11
    James Watson How we discovered DNA

    Nobel laureate James Watson opens TED2005 with the frank and funny story of how he and his research partner, Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA.

  3. 15:53
    Jennifer Doudna How CRISPR lets us edit our DNA

    Geneticist Jennifer Doudna co-invented a groundbreaking new technology for editing genes, called CRISPR-Cas9. The tool allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA strands, which could lead to treatments for genetic diseases ... but could also be used to create so-called "designer babies." Doudna reviews how CRISPR-Cas9 works — and asks the scientific community to pause and discuss the ethics of this new tool.

  4. 9:08
    Drew Berry Animations of unseeable biology

    We have no ways to directly observe molecules and what they do — but Drew Berry wants to change that. He demos his scientifically accurate (and entertaining!) animations that help researchers see unseeable processes within our own cells.

  5. 21:26
    Barry Schuler Genomics 101

    What is genomics? How will it affect our lives? In this intriguing primer on the genomics revolution, entrepreneur Barry Schuler says we can at least expect healthier, tastier food. He suggests we start with the pinot noir grape, to build better wines.

  6. 20:53
    Spencer Wells A family tree for humanity

    All humans share some common bits of DNA, passed down to us from our African ancestors. Geneticist Spencer Wells talks about how his Genographic Project will use this shared DNA to figure out how we are — in all our diversity — truly connected.

  7. 14:49
    Juan Enriquez We can reprogram life. How to do it wisely

    For four billion years, what lived and died on Earth depended on two principles: natural selection and random mutation. Then humans came along and changed everything — hybridizing plants, breeding animals, altering the environment and even purposefully evolving ourselves. Juan Enriquez provides five guidelines for a future where this ability to program life rapidly accelerates. "This is the single most exciting adventure human beings have been on," Enriquez says. "This is the single greatest superpower humans have ever had."