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Genomic Equity Series: The history of eugenics

Dr Adam Rutherford, University College London

For this month's Genomic Equity Series webinar, Dr Adam Rutherford speaks about the history of eugenics, the importance of data diversity, structures of bias, and its implications on modern day genetics.


Dr Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, author, and broadcaster. He was an audio-visual content editor for the journal Nature for a decade and is a frequent contributor to the newspaper The Guardian. He hosts the BBC Radio 4 programmes Inside Science and (with Hannah Fry) The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry; has produced several science documentaries; and has published books related to genetics and the origin of life.

In his recent book, Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics, Adam delves into the origins of eugenics. However, the underlying ideas are not just historical. The legacy of eugenics persists in our language and literature, from the words ‘moron’ and ‘imbecile’ to the themes of some of our greatest works of culture. Today, with new gene editing techniques, very real conversations are happening as technological advancements allow for rare diseases to be identified before a child is even born.

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