Recorded: 08 May 2012
Epigenetics will clearly play a very strong role in interpreting genomes, in interpreting how they work, the different cells in our body obviously get their different characters not because they have radically different genomes. They virtually have the same genomes with the exception of cancer cells. But, they do have different epigenetic information, and that will be in an incredible part – an incredibly important part – of understanding a complex organism, such as an animal. There’s no doubt about it. But it may be, it may also be that sematic mutations play a role more larger than what we currently think, so different cells may, the accumulation of random sematic mutations may not just be a phenomenon in cancer and immune cells but in widespread important phenomenon in other types of cells. So we have yet to see, so we can’t dismiss that, but there’s not question about that the dominant way in which different mature post-mitotic cells differ is in their epigenetics and so understanding that is key to understanding organisms.
David Haussler (born 1953) is an American bioinformatician known for his work leading the team that assembled the first human genome sequence in the race to complete the Human Genome Project and subsequently for comparative genome analysis that deepens understanding the molecular function and evolution of the genome. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, professor of biomolecular engineering and director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) on the UC Santa Cruz campus, and a consulting professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and UC San Francisco Biopharmaceutical Sciences Department.