CAS Inquire lecture series continues Nov. 5 with Meiklejohn and genetics

CAS Inquire Meiklejohn
CAS Inquire Meiklejohn

Colin Meiklejohn will give the talk “Gene Machines: Navigating a World Enthralled by DNA” on Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Union Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

This lecture continues the theme “The Rise of the Machines” for the College of Arts and Sciences’ new CAS Inquire program, which gives students the opportunity to delve deeper on important topics with peers, staff, and faculty. The college-wide series of lectures provides a focal point for conversations.

Mieklejohn is an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences whose lab studies evolutionary genetics, specializing in the genetic basis of speciation. His talk will look at the machines connected to genetics.

“A cult of DNA pervades our society, promising to unlock health, personality, and genealogy through the reading and interpretation of our genomes,” Meiklejohn said. “This cult is fueled by warehouses across the world filled with robotic sequencing machines and supercomputers that interpret their output, relentlessly harvesting trillions of base-pairs of DNA sequence data per hour.

“But what if these claims are oversold, overhyped, and uncritically accepted by the public?”

The series includes five lectures in five disciplines, followed by a panel discussion with all the speakers in March. The series opened in September with a talk about British novels from Guy Reynolds, professor of English and women’s and gender studies, and continued in October with a talk about drones by computer scientist Carrick Detweiler.

For more on the CAS Inquire program or the lecture series, visit

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