Below you’ll find the third and final installment of my interview with medical geneticist Robert Green about the promise and pitfalls that could lie in reading out your full genome. Please check out parts one and two if you missed them. Otherwise, press play on the embedded player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.
Today we open with a heartening story about an infant who went through one of Robert’s studies and may have picked up fifteen IQ points as a direct result (this is neither a metaphor nor an exaggeration)! It’s an early—and perhaps even the first—hard example of how full-genome sequencing at birth could one day save innumerable lives and preclude untold human suffering.
We then talk about the vast potential of pre-conception genetic screening and an early initiative in this area that has almost eradicated an awful genetic disease that long plagued the Ashkenazi Jewish population.
We close by discussing a massively ambitious government initiative that’s just gathering steam called “All of Us.” If it delivers on its goals (and doesn’t turn into a DMV-like debacle), it could transform our understanding of health, aging, and disease innumerable times more than the renowned Framingham Heart Study (which Robert and I also discuss).
If you’re curious about the latest episode in the main After On podcast feed, this week it’s an interview with Yale ornithologist and evolutionary heretic Richard Prum. Rick boldly and brilliant refutes much of the common wisdom about sexual attraction, aesthetics, and more. And the wellspring of his unorthodox ideas is… Charles Darwin himself. Even if you’re not at all into birds, you’ll find this interview fascinating if you’re at all interested in the deep roots of human behavior and biology.
Finally, if you enjoy my conversation with Robert, please consider browsing the full archive of the After On podcast on my site. Alternatively, you can find it in your favorite podcast app simply by searching under the words “After On.” I’ve posted deep-dive interviews with dozens of world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists—tackling subjects like cryptocurrency, astrophysics, drones, genomics, synthetic biology, neuroscience, consciousness, privacy & government hacking, and more.
And of course, I hope you’ll join me here again on Ars next week when we’ll be serializing another episode from my podcast’s recent archives.
This special edition of the Ars Technicast podcast can be accessed in the following places:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ars-technicast/id522504024?mt=2 (Might take several hours after publication to appear.)