Lecture 2 – Am I a mutant?
Yes, you are a mutant. But so am I. And so is the mouse that we share 99% of our genes with. As our DNA replicates, mutations arise. Sometimes they can be catastrophic, but sometimes they confer a huge advantage. Falcons have eyes that allow them to see for miles, but ants are virtually blind.
How come? How are developmental processes altered over evolutionary time to produce novel structures and, ultimately, new species? The history of life revolves around the survival of the fittest ‘mutant’. As we understand more about mutations it could help us devise new treatments for genetic conditions. But are we prepared to genetically engineer humans?
About the 2013 CHRISTMAS LECTURES
Life is the greatest show on Earth from the lowliest worm to the mightiest mammal. Yet from the moment of conception to the formation of limbs, to the development of brains there’s something that all living things depend on: cells.
Cells grow, multiply, change, move, communicate and ultimately die. They are the very essence of life, but how do they work together to form it? Gradually we are beginning to unravel their secrets. Life is fantastic and full of questions, but as we reveal the answers more questions emerge.
The 2013 CHRISTMAS LECTURES, presented by Alison Woollard from the University of Oxford, will explore the frontiers of developmental biology and uncover the remarkable transformation of a single cell into a complex organism. What do these mechanisms tell us about the relationships between all creatures on Earth? And can we harness this knowledge to improve or even extend our own lives?