Megan Davey is one of Edinburgh’s most influential scientists, and a Porty local. She gave a fascinating TEDx talk today, entitled This is a golden age of science – grab it with both hands. Megan works on hands, which are fundamental to being a human, and she studies how patterns form in the developing embryonic hand. She discovered the TALPID3 mutation, which she told us all about while encouraging us to embrace the unprecedented developments in science and technology today.

Here are 5 things we learned from Megan today:

  • It’s an amazing time to be a scientist, and Megan believes we’re in a golden age of science. The global science community now spends three times more on research, knowledge and development than in the year 2000, and this year will publish 1.8 million publications.
  • For the first time in history, knowledge belongs to everyone, not just scientists, as it’s now freely available to the public thanks to the work of several organisations.
  • There’s a gene called Sonic hedgehog! It’s important in almost every organ that’s developing, but when Sonic goes bad, that’s when cancer can develop.
  • Over the last 10 years, she’s been researching the TALPID3 gene, during which time the cost of genomic sequencing has dropped hugely. Today, sequencing a genome costs just £600. Because genomic data is now available to everybody, researchers, scientists, doctors and the wider public have realised that TALPID3 is a really important gene in human development.
  • Scientists can’t determine how we use new technology, Megan said. Instead, it’s up to scientists and society to have a dialogue with each other. She encourages anyone who’s afraid of new technologies to replace that fear with curiosity.

Find out more about Megan

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