What Is the Meaning of Life?

For Sir Paul Nurse, Creativity and Community Are Essential Building Blocks

What does it take to create meaning in our lives? According to Sir Paul Nurse, a Nobel laureate geneticist and author of What Is Life?, supporting family and community as well as improving the world for others are key to fulfillment.

Nurse, currently the founding director and CEO of the Francis Crick Institute, visited Zócalo yesterday with Caltech developmental biologist Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, author of The Dance of Life, for a conversation that reflected on his scientific and philosophical insights into human life throughout his career as a geneticist. The Zócalo/Caltech event …

Why CRISPR May Be the Most Important Thing to Happen on the Planet in 4.5 Billion Years | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why CRISPR May Be the Most Important Thing to Happen on the Planet in 4.5 Billion Years

This Gene-Editing Technology Promises to Revolutionize Medicine, Spark Ethical Debate, and Might Even Bring Woolly Mammoths Back to Earth

Bringing extinct species back to life may sound like science fiction, but it’s a real thing—perhaps the most important to occur during the past 4.5 billion years. Called “de-extinction,” the …

Modern Ideas About Genes Were Conceived in 18th Century Asylums

Long Before Mendel Bred His Peas, Doctors Claimed Heredity Explained Madness

Sitting at my desk, reading the archived pages of an old British anthropological journal, an entry from 1899 caught my eye. The police at New Scotland Yard had a “Central …

Do Genes Really Determine Your Hobbies, Relationships, and Voting Habits?

Science and Pop Culture Make DNA Seem All-Important, But Nurture Still Matters as Much as Nature

Over the past 25 years, we’ve become surprisingly comfortable with the idea that genes play a large role in our lives. When DNA is in the mix, people assume that …

Why Fruit Flies Are the New Lab Rats

These Quick-Breeding Insects Have Similar Genetic Cellular Functions as Humans

Set out a bowl of fruit, and they will arrive: small, buff-colored flies with garnet eyes and an attraction to fermenting bananas. Annoying but not harmful, they are easy to …

Designer DNA Isn’t Just for ‘Designer Babies’

Dystopian Imagery Makes It Hard to Assess the Perils and Promise of Gene Editing

When we talk about gene editing technology, we often talk about—but almost never deeply consider—the concept of designer babies. Consider this article in The New York Times, titled “Gene Editing …