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This month's topic: Gene Regulation and You

Before the human genome project was completed, the best estimates were that humans had at least 100,000 genes. But after the genome was sequenced, that number fell to about 30,000. That doesn't exactly sound like enough to account for all of the different cells and proteins that make up our bodies. Furthermore, if humans and chimpanzees share a nearly identical genome, as we've all heard, how is it that we're such different creatures? The answer lies partly in gene regulation — the "switching on and off" of an organism's genes in early development and throughout its life. So it turns out that the source of the differences between us and chimps (and flies and mice and worms et al.) lies not only in the differences between our genomes, but in how our genes are used. Pretty interesting. Mike Eisen will tell us more.

About the series: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining science lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a current topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries!

Official Website: http://www.askascientistSF.com

Added by fourquarts on December 21, 2006