Seminar- James Shapiro

October 3, 2013 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm


Jim ShapiroSpeaker: James Shapiro is a microbiologist at the University of Chicago and author of  ‘Evolution: A View from the 21st Century’

Location: Biodesign Auditorium

Web Cast: View Web Cast

Date & Time: October 3rd, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Title: How Life Changes Itself: The Read- Write (RW) Genome


• Cells operate under changing conditions and continually make genome inscriptions during cell reproduction, multicellular development and evolution.

• Cells effect genome inscriptions by forming nucleoprotein complexes, epigenetic formatting and introducing changes in DNA sequence structure.

• Cells actively write data and formatting signals into their genomes by symbiogenesis, horizontal transfer and natural genetic engineering (NGE).

• Cell-regulated, stress- and hybridization-induced NGE mediates combinatorial changes of coding sequences, regulatory elements, protein domains and higher-level genome complexes.

• Mobile genetic elements rapidly disperse through genomes and provide shared signals for networks that functionally integrate different genetic


Cancer provides us with an opportunity to observe genome rewriting in an accelerated real-time context

Abstract: The genome has traditionally been treated as a Read-Only Memory (ROM) subject to change by copying errors and accidents. I propose that we need to change that perspective and understand the genome as an intricately formatted Read–Write (RW) data storage system constantly subject to cellular modifications and inscriptions. Cells operate under changing conditions and are continually modifying themselves by genome inscriptions. These inscriptions occur over three distinct time-scales (cell reproduction, multicellular development and evolutionary change) and involve a variety of different processes at each time scale (forming nucleoprotein complexes, epigenetic formatting and changes in DNA sequence structure). Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs). This conceptual change to active cell inscriptions controlling RW genome functions has profound implications for all areas of the life sciences, including cancer.

Thank you and if you have questions please contact Christina Cates! And don’t forget, coffee will be served!

Christina Cates, Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology

Arizona State University | P.O. Box 871504 | Tempe, AZ 85287

480.965.0342 | Fax: 480.965.6362

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