The Conversations in Genetics project, led by former GSA President Rochelle Easton Esposito, has a new in-depth interview of Mary-Claire King by Evan Eichler.

As described in the video “Talking with Mary-Claire King,”

Dr. King is American Cancer Society Professor of Genome Sciences and Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her innovative studies of human genetics have had enormous scientific and social impact. As a graduate student with Allan Wilson at UC Berkeley, she demonstrated that human and chimpanzees are 99% identical at the level of protein coding genes, suggesting that the profound differences between these organisms result from a small number of regulatory or structural changes. These findings are consistent with a divergent time of 5-6 million years ago, rather than 15-20 million years, as previously thought.

Next, in a novel pioneering and painstaking approach combining genetics and epidemiology, King discovered and mapped BRCA1, the first gene shown to harbor inherited mutations leading to breast cancer. She later exploited her knowledge of genetics to develop mitochondiral DNA sequencing as a forensic tool to identify children kidnapped by Argentina’s former military dictatorship. She is presently involved in international partnerships to identify genes for severe congenital disorders and individually rare, but collectively common, mutations leading to schizophrenia.

The interview was conducted by King’s friend and colleague, Evan Eichler, Professor of Genome Sciences and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the University of Washington, Seattle. The interview was recorded at the Health Sciences Center on the UW campus in Seattle, Washington, on August 28, 2015.

Conversations in Genetics now contains 20 interviews with prominent scientists who have made seminal contributions to the conceptual development of modern genetics.

To help support continued development of Conversations in Genetics, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the project through the GSA or the Swiss National Grid Association.


Additional Information:

Adam Fagen was formerly Executive Director of the Genetics Society of America.

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