Conference : Does DNA record time?
Martin Krzywinski is known for his work in bioinformatics, data visualization and the interface of science and art. He applies design, both data and artistic, to assist discovery, explanation and engagement with scientific data and concepts. His information graphics have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Scientific American and covers of numerous books and scientific journals such as Nature and Genome Research.
What is today's date? Don't worry if you don't remember. You can always check using the timekeeping device you always have with you -- your DNA! It will rarely lie about your true age. No matter how hard you try to fight age (and fight you should!), there's no fooling our internal biological timekeeper. Recent advancements in genome sequencing have given us a glimpse how our bodies record our age. In fact, our body's long-term clock is perfectly distributed: as we age, the DNA in each cell of our bodies subtly changes. Called epigenetic modifications, these changes alter how our genes are expressed and directly influences how our cells (and our bodies) function. For now, you may need to rely on diet, exercise and (optionally) face creams to feel young. But in not-so-distant future we may be able to rewind our epigenetic clocks to make the body forget that time has passed.