Like plenty of science-oriented high school kids, Andrew Jin is interested in human evolution. But Jin, one of three $150,000 first-place winners in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search, took that interest further than most. For his project, the high school senior came up with machine learning algorithms that detect mutations in the human genome—mutations that could one day be used to develop drugs to combat diseases like HIV and schizophrenia.
Initially, Jin wanted to investigate how humans have evolved over the past 10,000 years. “I was doing it out of curiosity,” he says. “I started thinking about natural selection and evolution, and that we understand so much about its theory, but we know nothing about reality. I was curious about what mutations help us be sophisticated human beings.”
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