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Jeffrey Epstein: Understanding Evolution Is Key to Understanding Genetics

November 5, 2012 - NEW YORK, NY

For living creatures, adapting to new circumstances and learning new skills are both necessary for survival. This is true not only on a macro level, among humans and animals, but also on a genetic level. Scientists have long speculated as to how living organisms can learn new skills when drawing from a limited gene pool, but new research offers some insight -- and it has won the attention of scientific philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein, a vocal proponent of evolutionary research and financial founder of The Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard University. The Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, which started with a $30 million dollar grant from Epstein, uses mathematics, genetics and bio-chemistry to study the evolution of living things.

The new research, undertaken by UC Davis microbiologist Dr. John Roth, seeks to answer the question of how genes learn new skills. The common theory has long been that genes duplicate by accident, and that duplicate genes mutate and develop new skills; if the skill proves useful, then the gene is more likely to spread.

Roth's research has provided insight into how this theory fits in with the broader framework of natural selection. According to the scientist, genes effectively develop two functions -- primary and secondary ones -- and one skill might become more favored as it becomes more useful or necessary. Less-than-useful skills are weeded out through natural selection.

This research has been heralded for the insight it brings both to the field of genetics and to the study of evolution.

Science activist Jeffrey Epstein, remarked, "The manipulation of gene expression through evolution is increasingly at the core of immunotherapy and other approaches to curing devastating diseases, such as cancer."

The scientific philanthropist goes on to detail some of the new possibilities that Roth's research allows. "Gene expression can be stimulated with the right environment and then enhanced with evolution," Jeffrey Epstein concludes.

In addition to orchestrating the activities of the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, Epstein is also a former member of the NY Academy of Science, a former board member of Rockefeller University, and a current member of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard University.

Though his formal training is in money management, Jeffrey Epstein's passion has long been for supporting the sciences. Through his Foundation, he has made significant endowments to laboratories, research facilities, and educational initiatives around the world. The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation also supports the arts, youth-related organizations, independent film, and more.

In addition to founding the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, Jeffrey Epstein is a former member of Rockefeller University, the New York Academy of Science, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and currently sits on the board of the Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee at Harvard University.


Jeffrey Epstein is a money manager and science philanthropist whose passion is for investing in scientific inquiry, research and education, throughout the world. Through the work of his Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, he has made significant contributions to universities, hospitals, museums, laboratories, individual scientists and numerous charitable organizations. Epstein is also a former member of the Council for Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and a current member of the Edge Foundation, an exclusive think tank for scholars in the sciences.


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