Author David Shenk talked to us at the TEDxSF event this past week on Gene Expression.

In scientific terms, gene expression is defined as “the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of a functional gene product.” Shenk talks about what ‘gene expression’ means in the context of our lives and why earlier understandings and belief systems around gene expression must change and has changed.

He references Bell Curve thinking which suggested that genes were simply something we were born with and whether we were successful or not, depended on our ‘gene pool.’ (see Bell Curve debate).

Success of course, is not just about genetics and those of us who have overcome genetic obstacles know that success IS in fact, the result of so many other things, including the lifestyle we choose, our environment, and the process we tap into. The current thinking is that a trait ’emerges from the interaction between the gene and the environment,’ a quote he attributed to professor and researcher Michael Meaney.

Shenk is the author of six books, including Data Smog, The Immortal Game, The Forgetting and The Genius in All of Us, which just came out in March 2010.

Watch Part II of his exploration of genes and success.

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