Life Science: Session 1
Scientist at Work
Dr. Gary Ruvkun is a professor of genetics at Harvard University. He is the head of a large research lab in the department of molecular biology at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research group focuses on a diverse set of questions pertaining to the molecules of life.
One prominent project involves the search for life on Mars. Mars has an inhospitable environment that nonetheless shares certain features with the Earth — most markedly water and certain types of landforms. Dr. Ruvkun proposes to look for life on Mars by taking sediment samples and testing them for the presence of DNA — the hereditary material of life on Earth. Finding DNA on Mars would provide evidence that there are — or were — life forms on Mars related to those on Earth. Which planet harbored these creatures first would remain a question.
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