Dr Catrin Rutland from the University of Nottingham comes to The Vat and Fiddle to talk about Genetics: Fact or Fiction? Where is the boundary between science and science fiction?
Genetics was not officially a science until the late 1970s; prior to then, you would have been a “blood bio-chemist” rather than a geneticist. However, people were talking about it long before then. It was Mendel who first discussed it, moving on to Erasmus, Darwin and Watson-Crick discovering DNA in the 1950s.
The human body has 22,000 genes that all code for different things. Even though we have sequenced them all, we still don’t know what each gene does. However, we do know that the same gene may do something different in a different species. For example, we share 98% of our genes with a chimpanzee (and 74% with a banana) A recent court case in America looked into whether chimps should have “human rights” since they are so similar to us. The case failed and at present, neither chimpanzees nor bananas have human rights.