The Human Code

With the growing ability to understand the human genome through machine learning and simulation, the next years will open a new chapter in the history of medicine.
An amazing scientist, entrepreneur and good friend Riccardo Sabatini, engaged me in his outstanding and inspiring research project of his lab at Human Longevity that we called The Human Code : the first Human Code Enciclopedia in the world.

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So much is written in the human genome — the complete genetic instructions needed to build a human being. To explain its complexity, Riccardo Sabatini invited Craig Venter, the first man to sequence human DNA, to join him on TED 2016 stage.

But as Sabatini finishes the introduction, not one but five people appear, wheeling library carts full of massive volumes.
“Not the man in his flesh,” Sabatini says with a smile. “But, for the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page by page, letter by letter — 262,000 pages of information.”

From these 175 books, Sabatini reads a sequence of eight letters — Venter’s eye color — and another that, if just two letters appeared in a different order, would mean he had cystic fibrosis. Now that we have the technology to read the genome, how can we use it to improve our lives?

Using machine learning, Sabatini and his lab at Human Longevity can predict things like height, eye color, skin color and even facial structure based on a person’s genome. Perhaps more interestingly, scientists may soon be able to use the same technology to personalize treatments for diseases. “This is the code of life” Sabatini says. “Whatever we want to do with it, whatever question we want to pose, now is the time to do it.”

So when Riccardo asked me to design the Human Code Enciclopedia, well I couldn’t say no!

Riccardo Sabatini speaks at TED2016 - Dream, February 15-19, 2016, Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

Riccardo Sabatini speaks at TED2016 – Dream, February 15-19, 2016, Vancouver. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED


The book from the TED Talk is available to buy:

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The following are some inspirational mood boards I prepared while designing The Human Code volumes.

125674310 9 8TheHumanCode_4The back cover of The Human Code books is inspired by Photo 51 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_51). It is an X-ray diffraction image that proved critical in identifying the structure of DNA. The image was taken by Raymond Gosling in May 1952, whilst being supervised by Rosalind Franklin. Rosalind was an outstanding scientist that should have received the 1962 Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA. Regrettably she passed away four years earlier and the

Nobel Prize rules prevent posthumously awarding the prize.
Is the back to the books of The Human Code in recognition of her:

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BOOK INTRO TEXT

Few Articles about the project
FastCo: A few Drops of your blood can tell scientists almost exactly what you look like
Huffington Post (ita): Il genio italiano del DNA
Nova 24 Tech: Ecco l’algoritmo che predice un volto da una goccia di sangue.