As part of the new season, The Lights theatre has a range of specialist speakers to inspire, provoke thought and entertain, and none more so than Professor Robert Winston
Making a debut visit to the venue on 16 October, Professor Robert Winston is renowned for making the science of genetics and child development accessible in the media. In this special talk, Modifying Humans: where does genetics stop, Professor Winston explores how humans are obsessed with their genes. Does the sequencing of the human genome really herald a new opportunity for medicine, or is there a darker side that we ignore?
IVF treatments now mean we can treat apparently hopeless sterility, help 65 year-olds to conceive, store eggs and embryos in the deep freeze for several hundred years, and screen embryos for serious genetic disorders before a pregnancy has even really begun.
And advances in gene technology mean that we can not only select embryos for ‘desirable’ characteristics but we can now modify genes of animals with remarkable ease; so possibly very soon we may be able to enhance humans by genetic modification. Will ethical considerations prevent us from the next step – manufacturing stronger, more gifted and very intelligent children? Or will our imperfect knowledge of how our abilities are inherited mean that they there are some major surprises in store?
Followed by a question and answer session.