A l'UM la science [S03-ep26]: 60 billion combinations of genetic variants

This week on A l'UM la science, Gabriel Krouk, a biologist atIpsim, and Andre Mas, a mathematician atImag, talk about a world first: mapping the interactions between genetic variants in a plant. Caroline Ducourau, Head of the Heritage Department, is our last-minute guest. She presents Cyrus Cornut's exhibition Chongquing, sur les 4 rives du temps qui passe, on view at the Orangerie du Jardin des plantes. A program co-produced with Divergence FM and broadcast every Wednesday at 6pm on 93.9.

From the introduction of the notion of the gene and the laws of heredity in 1865, through the discovery of the structure of DNA by Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick in 1953, to today's genomic prowess, genetic research has never been able to dispense with the fantasies it conveys to the general public. From Welcome to Gattaca to Equilibrium for the cinema or Orwell and Huxley in literature, dystopias projecting humans into a eugenic society have never ceased to fuel our imaginations.

Paradoxically, over the last few years, American companies such as Myheritage and 23andme have been offering to provide the detailed composition of your ethnic origins based on DNA analysis, or to reveal your own demise by predicting the diseases hidden in the folds of your genes. "Oh, we can do that?" Yes, we can, and we're not going to explain today why this recreational use of DNA isn't medicine, or how your data is at risk of being resold or hacked. We will, however, explain how scientists can mine the markers in our DNA to predict our illnesses or trace our origins.

Even better! Today's guests will explain how they succeeded in developing a method combining mathematics, genetics and high-performance computing on plant DNA to create maps of tens of billions of interactions between genetic variants for a specific trait. This is a world first, published in the journal Genome Biology on March 25.

In studio with Gabriel Krouk, researcher at the Montpellier Institute of Plant Sciences and Andre Mas, researcher at the Montpellier Alexander Grothendick Institute.

Our guest for the last 3 minutes will be Caroline Ducoureau, head of the heritage and scientific culture department, who will present the latest exhibition on view at the Jardin des plantes until May 26. Chongquing, sur les 4 rives du temps qui passe by Cyrus Cornut is on view until May 26 as part of the Boutographies photography festival.

At UM la science you've got the program, here we go!

Coproduction: Divergence FM / Université de Montpellier
Animation: Lucie Lecherbonnier
Interviews: Aline Périault / Lucie Lecherbonnier
Production : Alice Rollé / Tom Chevallier

Listen to the program "A l'UM la science" on Divergence FM 93.9

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