Recorded: 30 May 2003
What humans were evolved to be and are not now. That’s why we’re getting sick. That’s why we get diabetes. That’s why we get asthma. It’s because we’re living in a world that we weren’t designed to live in. So I want to write about the genetics of that- “Genetic Destinies.” It tries to explain about genetics without going through all of the details and Mendel’s peas. It tries to take interest in genetics; the genetics of behavior, the genetics of development, the genetics of I.Q. It tries to explain those to somebody without spending all of the time discussing, you know, this is the double helix; this is what a gene is. So I don’t call it a base pair. I call it a DNA ladder and things like that which works quite well.
It’s designed for people who don’t know very much about science. But do know that genetics is an exciting field. So I’m trying to tell them what’s happening now in the lab rather than spending all my time giving them a university level education and saying, oh, by the way, there’s the human genome project. The human genome project occupies two paragraphs in the book. It’s pushed into context.
Peter Little is a bioinformatics researcher, professor of medical biochemistry and the head of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He received his Ph.D. working with recombinant DNA under Ed Southern and Peter Walker at Edinburgh University. In 1976, Little cloned a human gene – the second time this was ever accomplished.
Little’s laboratory studies the genetic basis of gene expression, and genetic variation as it pertains to the regulatory regions of the genes. He has hypothesized that there are two types of genetic variation that alter gene expression. His lab has also created advanced techniques for testing genetically influenced transcript variations.
He comes to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory regularly for genome meetings and symposia.