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.
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.
Welcome to the genomic revolution
In this accessible talk from TEDxBoston, Richard Resnick shows how cheap and fast genome sequencing is about to turn health care (and insurance, and politics) upside down.
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.
Ross Lovegrove shares organic designs
Designer Ross Lovegrove expounds his philosophy of “fat-free” design and offers insight into several of his extraordinary products, including the Ty Nant water bottle and the Go chair.
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.
Paul Rothemund details DNA folding
In 2007, Paul Rothemund gave TED a short summary of his specialty, DNA folding. Now he lays out in clear, abundant detail the immense promise of this field -- to create tiny machines that assemble themselves.
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.
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.
Kary Mullis celebrates the experiment
Biochemist Kary Mullis talks about the basis of modern science: the experiment. Sharing tales from the 17th century and from his own backyard-rocketry days, Mullis celebrates the curiosity, inspiration and rigor of good science in all its forms.
Paul Rothemund casts a spell with DNA
Paul Rothemund writes code that causes DNA to arrange itself into a star, a smiley face and more. Sure, it's a stunt, but it's also a demonstration of self-assembly at the smallest of scales -- with vast implications for the future of making things.
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
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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?
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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
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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
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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
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Clues to prehistoric times, found in blind cavefish
TED Fellow Prosanta Chakrabarty explores hidden parts of the world in search of new species of cave-dwelling fish. These subterranean creatures have developed fascinating adaptations, and they provide biological insights into blindness as well as geological clues about how the continents broke apart million of years ago. Contemplate deep time in this short talk.