The video “DNA Portrait,” above, is a lovely short documentary shot by TED’s own Kari Mulholland. It features the work of the artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, who spent time collecting hairs shed in public spaces… and then sequencing the DNA therein to print 3D sculptures of what those hairs’ owners might look like. Whoa. The film is also the secret story of the lab run by TEDGlobal 2012 speaker Ellen Jorgensen. At Genspace, people can experiment with DNA-based technology, regardless of their scientific knowledge or experience. As Jorgensen comments in the film, Dewey-Hagborg’s work is super interesting, not to mention searingly contemporary. “It’s a very accessible way for the public to engage with this new technology. It really brings to light how powerful it is, the idea that a hair from your head can fall on your street and a perfect stranger can pick it up and know something about it,” she says, adding: “With DNA sequencing becoming faster and cheaper, this is the world we’re all going to be living in.”
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What is DNA barcoding, you ask? It’s a precise way of identifying plant species using their DNA (as opposed to external characteristics that might vary from plant to plant). In this video, Ellen Jorgensen — who gave today’s TED Talk “Biohacking, you can do it too” — heads to a remote region of Alaska to collect […]
“It’s a great time to be a molecular biologist,” Ellen Jorgensen says in today’s TED Talk, given at TEDGlobal 2012. The realm of biotechnology is growing fast, she says, and advances are coming down the pipeline at a rapid clip. And yet, scientists aren’t so good at communicating to the public what is going on […]