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George Church, the larger-than-life Harvard biologist who pioneered both DNA sequencing and gene editing, is known for making bold bets. He’s founded more than three dozen companies, including ones promising to curb climate change with cold-tolerant elephants, end inherited disease with a dating app, and keep your DNA out of the hands of hackers through, what else, the blockchain.

What’s behind his audacity? An “open mind,” Church said in a conversation with STAT senior medical writer Matthew Herper during the 2021 STAT Summit. “One of the reasons people misestimate is because of exponentials.”

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