Predictive Genome Scientist Face Off

Mapping the Epigenome

Mapping the Epigenome

Mapping the Human ‘Diseasome’

Mapping the Human ‘Diseasome’

Lewis Wolpert
“I have entered into this wager with Rupert Sheldrake because of my interest in the details of how embryos develop, and how our understanding of this process will progress. In my latest book, How We Live and Why We Die, I suggest that it will one day be possible to predict from an embryo’s genome how it will develop, and I believe it is possible for this to happen in the next 20 years.”

Rupert Sheldrake
“Lewis Wolpert’s faith in the predictive power of the genome is misplaced. Genes enable organisms to make proteins, but do not contain programs or blueprints, or explain the development of embryos.”

Lewis Wolpert (developmental biologist) & Rupert Sheldrake (parapsycholgist) have set themselvesa a face-off challenge via the RS  that “By 1 May 2029, given the genome of a fertilised egg of an animal or plant, we will be able to predict in at least one case all the details of the organism that develops from it, including any abnormalities.”


The Diagrams: (top) This radial diagram produced by The New York Times and Martin Krzywinski, the developer of Circos, represents the number of small molecules, called methyl groups, attached to segments of chromosome 22 across seven different types of human tissue. Methyl groups are one part of the epigenome, which controls how genes are expressed in different types of cells. (bottom) Dr. Butte, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford, is trying to redefine how diseases are classified by looking not at their symptoms or physiological measurements, but at their genetic underpinnings. This map links different diseases, represented by circles, to the genes they have in common, represented by squares. Each circle represents a disease or disorder and is scaled in proportion to the number of genes associated with that disease.


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