614 876

Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. Yet as David Epstein points out in this delightfully counter-intuitive talk, we might want to lay off the self-congratulation. Many factors are at play in shattering athletic records, and the development of our natural talents
[ . . . ]
350 118

Building a dinosaur from a chicken

Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He's found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he's taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits including teeth, tails,
[ . . . ]
259 860

We can now edit our DNA. But let's do it wisely

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
[ . . . ]
208 961

The gentle genius of bonobos

Savage-Rumbaugh's work with bonobo apes, which can understand spoken language and learn tasks by watching, forces the audience to rethink how much of what a species can do is determined by biology -- and how much by cultural exposure.
190 368

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.
185 121

Craig Venter unveils "synthetic life"

Craig Venter and team make a historic announcement: they've created the first fully functioning, reproducing cell controlled by synthetic DNA. He explains how they did it and why the achievement marks the beginning of a new era for science.
169 404

How stats fool juries

Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly reveals the common mistakes humans make in interpreting statistics -- and the devastating impact these errors can have on the outcome of criminal trials.
150 278

Will our kids be a different species?

Throughout human evolution, multiple versions of humans co-existed. Could we be mid-upgrade now? At TEDxSummit, Juan Enriquez sweeps across time and space to bring us to the present moment -- and shows how technology is revealing evidence that suggests rapid evolution may be under way.
122 752

Spencer Wells builds 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.
79 974

It's time to question bio-engineering

At TEDxPeachtree, bioethicist Paul Root Wolpe describes an astonishing series of recent bio-engineering experiments, from glowing dogs to mice that grow human ears. He asks: Isn't it time to set some ground rules?
73 825

The life-code that will reshape the future

Scientific discoveries, futurist Juan Enriquez notes, demand a shift in code, and our ability to thrive depends on our mastery of that code. Here, he applies this notion to the field of genomics.
60 504

Experiments that hint of longer lives

What controls aging? Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon has found a simple genetic mutation that can double the lifespan of a simple worm, C. elegans. The lessons from that discovery, and others, are pointing to how we might one day significantly extend youthful human life.
58 466

Why genetic research must be more diverse

Ninety-six percent of genome studies are based on people of European descent. The rest of the world is virtually unrepresented and this is dangerous, says geneticist and TED Fellow Keolu Fox, because we react to drugs differently based on our genetic makeup. Fox is working to democratize genome sequencing, specifically by advocating for indigenous populations to get
[ . . . ]
53 750

The hunt for "unexpected genetic heroes"

What can we learn from people with the genetics to get sick who don’t? With most inherited diseases, only some family members will develop the disease, while others who carry the same genetic risks dodge it. Stephen Friend suggests we start studying those family members who stay healthy. Hear about the Resilience Project, a massive effort to collect genetic
[ . . . ]
50 499

Using nature to grow batteries

Inspired by an abalone shell, Angela Belcher programs viruses to make elegant nanoscale structures that humans can use. Selecting for high-performing genes through directed evolution, she's produced viruses that can construct powerful new batteries, clean hydrogen fuels and record-breaking solar cells. At TEDxCaltech, she shows us how it's done.
48 672

Craig Venter on DNA and the sea

Genomics pioneer Craig Venter takes a break from his epic round-the-world expedition to talk about the millions of genes his team has discovered so far in its quest to map the ocean’s biodiversity.
48 308

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.
48 248

We need better drugs -- now

Today we know the molecular cause of 4,000 diseases, but treatments are available for only 250 of them. So what’s taking so long? Geneticist and physician Francis Collins explains why systematic drug discovery is imperative, even for rare and complex diseases, and offers a few solutions -- like teaching old drugs new tricks.
47 649

Nellie McKay sings "Clonie"

Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay performs the semi-serious song "Clonie" -- about creating the ultimate companion.
38 546

To upgrade is human

In this prophetic 2003 talk -- just days before Dolly the sheep was stuffed -- biotech ethicist Gregory Stock looked forward to new, more meaningful (and controversial) technologies, like customizable babies, whose adoption might drive human evolution.
28 120

Your genes are not your fate

Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.
26 506

The ethical dilemma of designer babies

Creating genetically modified people is no longer a science fiction fantasy; it's a likely future scenario. Biologist Paul Knoepfler estimates that within fifteen years, scientists could use the gene editing technology CRISPR to make certain "upgrades" to human embryos from altering physical appearances to eliminating the risk of auto-immune diseases. In this
[ . . . ]
11 889

A secret weapon against Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases

Where did Zika come from, and what can we do about it? Molecular biologist Nina Fedoroff takes us around the world to understand Zika's origins and how it spread, proposing a controversial way to stop the virus and other deadly diseases by preventing infected mosquitoes from multiplying.
2 170

Gene editing can now change an entire species — forever

CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now?
[ . . . ]
1 237

A new superweapon in the fight against cancer

Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join
[ . . . ]

What will humans look like in 100 years?

We can evolve bacteria, plants and animals futurist Juan Enriquez asks: Is it ethical to evolve the human body? In a visionary talk that ranges from medieval prosthetics to present day neuroengineering and genetics, Enriquez sorts out the ethics associated with evolving humans and imagines the ways we'll have to transform our own bodies if we hope to explore and
[ . . . ]

How early life experience is written into DNA

Moshe Szyf is a pioneer in the field of epigenetics, the study of how living things reprogram their genome in response to social factors like stress and lack of food. His research suggests that biochemical signals passed from mothers to offspring tell the child what kind of world they're going to live in, changing the expression of genes. "DNA isn't just a sequence of
[ . . . ]

What you need to know about CRISPR

Should we bring back the wooly mammoth? Or edit a human embryo? Or wipe out an entire species that we consider harmful? The genome-editing technology CRISPR has made extraordinary questions like these legitimate but how does it work? Scientist and community lab advocate Ellen Jorgensen is on a mission to explain the myths and realities of CRISPR, hype-free, to the
[ . . . ]

How we'll fight the next deadly virus

When Ebola broke out in March 2014, Pardis Sabeti and her team got to work sequencing the virus's genome, learning how it mutated and spread. Sabeti immediately released her research online, so virus trackers and scientists from around the world could join in the urgent fight. In this talk, she shows how open cooperation was key to halting the virus ... and to
[ . . . ]

What you can do to prevent Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's doesn't have to be your brain's destiny, says neuroscientist and author of "Still Alice," Lisa Genova. She shares the latest science investigating the disease and some promising research on what each of us can do to build an Alzheimer's-resistant brain.