When will humans grow wings?

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 Matt Skoufalos (left), a writer, journalist and musician from New Jersey, talks with Rob Kulathinal, an evolutionary biologist and geneticist from Temple University.

Matt Skoufalos (left), a writer, journalist and musician from New Jersey, talks with Rob Kulathinal, an evolutionary biologist and geneticist from Temple University.

In this So, What Do You Do?, a writer talks to an evolutionary geneticist about allele frequencies, technological evolution and superpowers. 

When you’re living in a brain-heavy region like Philadelphia – you may find yourself standing in line at the coffee shop with a guy who is trying to 3D print organs – or maybe you are sipping cocktails with a researcher growing lettuce leaves containing vaccines –  all of which can lead to inspiring conversations.

We recreate these kinds of chats for The Pulse in our segment “So, What Do You Do?” In this series, we team up a lay person with one of the region’s many scientists, for down-to-earth conversations about heavy-duty research.

This week, Matt Skoufalos, a writer, journalist and musician from New Jersey talked with Rob Kulathinal, an evolutionary biologist and geneticist from Temple University.

“I’m interested in change at the molecular level, how species change over time,” Kulathinal told Skoufalos. “As a geneticist, I’m interested in change at the gene level.”

Skoufalos first got a quick lesson in basic genetics; he learned about the four forces of evolution, and found out what an allele frequency was. That being accomplished, he got to the things he really wanted to know about – super powers. An avid comic book reader as a kid, Skoufalos was infatuated with characters who could fly, so he wanted to know – is it possible for us humans to grow wings?

Click the link above to hear the answer to that question and much more about Kulathinal’s new research on using tools of the geneticist trade to better understand how technology evolves.

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