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Yulia Kovas: Oedipus Rex in the Genomic Era
This talk will introduce the recent advances in genetic science and explore what these advances mean for every one of us. These advances enable us to sequence (‘read’) one’s DNA fast and inexpensively; use DNA information for diagnosis and treatment; predict some future occurrences in our lives; and edit the genome. DNA governs every cell of our body, contributes to every action we take, every thought and every experience we have. DNA holds stories of our past, present and future. Taking Sophocles as a guide, we will take a journey into the Genomic Era and explore what the latest genomic insights mean for the ancient themes of Sophocles’ tragedies: free will, fate, and chance; prediction; misinterpretation of information; the burden that comes with knowledge of the future; self-fulfilling and self-defeating prophecies; the forces that contribute to similarities and differences among people; roots and lineage; and the judgement of oneself and others. We will examine great benefits introduced by the genetic advances, but also existential, social, ethical, and legal concerns and dilemmas facing us in the genomic era.
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