Jamie Metzl, PhD, JD

Science, Technology and Ethics: Hacking Darwin with Jamie Metzl, PhD

Dr. Chris E. Stout
Jun 1 · 5 min read

Jamie Metzl, PhD, JD, and polymath extraordinaire, writes “From this point onward, our species will take active control of our evolutionary process by genetically altering our future offspring into something different from what we are today. We are, in other words, beginning a process of hacking Darwin.” This is a quote from his latest book, Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity.

“We’ve never conducted a species-wide conversation on our future.”

This new work has caught the attention of the experts — CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, Ray Kurzweil, Harvard genetics superstar George Church, and even former acting CIA director Mike Morell, and related pieces in the New York Times, FT, The Economist, and TechCrunch. And understandably so, as the genetics revolution that will transform our healthcare, the way we make babies, the nature of the babies we make, and ultimately our evolution as a species has already begun. It will arrive far sooner than most of us think and will transform our lives and the world around us in ways we can hardly imagine.

If you have a sense that the genetics revolution is important but recognize you need to know more about what’s happening, what’s at stake, what this means for you, and what you should be doing now to prepare, then you will enjoy the book and this episode with Jamie.

We cover the science, technology and ethics of where we are and what’s on the horizon.

Jamie is a dear friend, and the first time he was on my show, I referred to him as a real-life Buckaroo Banzai. If you haven’t listened to that episode, I encourage you to check it out as we cover some of the amazing and diverse things he’s done.

Could this be the most important book of our generation?

We cover a wide territory that includes IVF, CRISPR, Cas9, epigenetic aspects that dictate how genes are expressed, Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and use of a computer algorithm to look for thousands of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or genetic variations. Jamie notes that “because genomics is the ultimate big-data challenge, more and cheaper data will lay a foundation for more and greater discoveries.” When large data bases are combined with one’s personal genetic information, it sets the stage for actionable, N-of-1 clinical interventions a la Precision Medicine Initiative. We also cover the history, and the politics, of GMO crops, as well as longevity extension via NAD+, metformin, including Friedrich Nietzsche and his idea of the Ubermensch, or superman, and segue into a the Transhumanist Movement. We are in the midst of a boom of DIY biohackers, not unlike technology hobbyists of bygone days.

In dealing with “The Ethics of Engineering Ourselves” quite fittingly, Jamie has been appointed earlier this year in the World Health Organization’s expert advisory committee on developing global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing, and he encourages us all join the conversation via his website for doing exactly that.

“The science is in place. The realization is inevitable.”

Jamie not only lives his life in full, but he informs of the promise and risks we are facing, and offers us a way to have an informed voice in helping to move the dialog to benefit humanity’s future.

Listen on iTunes or download here. You can also listen on Overcast, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play Music, and iHeartRADIO as well. Please subscribe on your favorite platform and never miss an episode. Here are the show notes.

“Living a Life in Full” is the conversation you always wanted to have with that person who gave an amazing TED talk, or the author of one your favorite books, or that inspirational Olympian you always wanted to know more about.

This show is for the intellectually curious. You want to not just know more about the interesting and the innovative, but also what makes them tick, and maybe even what makes them laugh. It’s graduate-level conversations with those making a difference in the world and the lives of others.

This show brings you new ideas and approaches so you can live a life in full.

The show is equal parts information and inspiration, but without the aphorisms and Pablum. We cover a wide range of topics in an engaging way — from Burning Man to The Renaissance Weekend, from the United Nations to top universities, Nobel Laureates to astronauts — we have an amazing Rolodex.

Interviewees are a who’s who of high performance athletes, bestselling authors, high-caliber leaders, world changing humanitarians, innovative researchers, amazing start-up founders, clever life-hackers, paradigm busting thought-leaders and global innovators.

Listen on iTunes or download here. You can also listen on Overcast, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play Music, and iHeartRADIO as well. Please subscribe on your favorite platform and never miss an episode. Here are the show notes.

The “Living a Life in Full” podcast is the conversation you always wanted to have with that person who gave an amazing TED talk, or the author of one your favorite books, or that inspirational Olympian you always wanted to know more about.

This show is for the intellectually curious. You want to not just know more about the interesting and the innovative, but also what makes them tick, and maybe even what makes them laugh. It’s graduate-level conversations with those making a difference in the world and the lives of others.

This show brings you new ideas and approaches so you can live a life in full.

The show is equal parts information and inspiration, but without the aphorisms and Pablum. We cover a wide range of topics in an engaging way — from Burning Man to The Renaissance Weekend, from the United Nations to top universities, Nobel Laureates to astronauts — we have an amazing Rolodex.

Interviewees are a who’s who of high performance athletes, bestselling authors, high-caliber leaders, world changing humanitarians, innovative researchers, amazing start-up founders, clever life-hackers, paradigm busting thought-leaders and global innovators.

# # #

This story originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. If you’d like to learn more or connect, please do at http://DrChrisStout.com. You can follow me on LinkedIn, or find my Tweets as well. And goodies and tools are available via http://ALifeInFull.org. If you liked this article, you may also like: https://www.linkedin.com/today/posts/drchrisstout

Dr. Chris E. Stout

Written by

Influencer: www.linkedin.com/today/posts/drchrisstout | Podcast: ALifeInFull.org | Changing the World: CenterForGlobalInitiatives.org | Home: DrChrisStout.com

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade