Gene and Tonic Predictions for 2019

The Editors

Oops.  We still had some champaign around.  Our look to the year ahead.


January 6th  The best selling non-fiction book on Amazon over the holidays has some strong mature genetics related material in it.   The second chapter of  Advice for Generation Z  is entitled,  “Don’t Take that Cyanide Pill Just Yet: Genetic Tests Are for Fun, Not for Real.”

February 12th  The Oxford English Dictionary adds “Crispred babies” to the lexicon.

“We went back and forth on whether to all caps Crispr or not, and this is what we’ve chosen, but we did feel it was time," said one of the committee at the venerable institution which ultimately decides the way things are and were and will be.

“I was very happy to see that the word was included in this year’s dictionary,” said Roxy Nibo-Ducleic, a geneticist interviewed outside King’s College, Cambridge, UK. “I saw tweet after tweet denying the thing in China actually ever happened, and I’m just proud of the OED for being genetic-editing realists in a world that is increasingly leaning toward these pro-hacking idealistic subjectivist Tweetcakes!  They really get the concept of editing over there in Oxford, and we can appreciate that."

March 4th Biotech journalist, mountaineer, and climbing guide, Luke Timmerman of the Timmerman Report, writes that he has felt all along that the Cancer Moonshot should literally be a trip to the moon.   He adds that he is in talks with SpaceX and several biotech adventure capital firms.

March 6th Geisinger Health System announces a program to refund people for their unhealthy genes. Those with healthy genes will have to pay into the system.  Critics say it’s a scheme of genetic fortune redistribution.

April 28th STAT News announces that they will hire all of the remaining biotech journalists not already on their staff.

April 29th STAT News’ parent company, The Boston Globe, is bought.

April 30th The STAT News division is axed.

May 29th Just in time for summer blockbuster movie season, 23andMe announces the 4D experience. Moviegoers will have access to new 4D glasses, complementary of the leading genetic testing company.  The glasses will come prepackaged with a special CheekSneakTM, or removable stick, to swab their cheek for DNA. This they can hand back to an usher at the end of the film, and in a few days, voila, they will find out whether their genes liked the film they saw.  Most importantly, the company says, moviegoers will now have data-driven scientific confirmation of whether they have seen a great film, a good film, a mediocre film, or a bad film.  And furthermore, thanks to the fact that we fortunately live in the age of AI, if their friends and family connect over the 23andMe website, they too can have a little science involved in the statistical probablility of whether they should go see the film.   

"It's really very revolutionary, scientific, and in every way modern, cool, AI friendly, gluten-free and non-invasive," says a 23andMe spokesperson.

"What if there is some kissing before the swabbing?  Does this affect the results?"  asks a reporter from TechCrunch?  "And does it keep it gluten-free?"

"We recommend swab then kiss, swab then kiss.  It's all on the directions for the CheekSneakTM."

June 29th At a press conference, the Illumina family announces the birth of NovaSequelTM, a rather soon first child from a marriage a long time in the making.  It is said there is no length the baby will not go to eat.

An Illumina spokesperson has this to say, “The grandparents from the Sequel side of the family are determined to see the child raised according to certain longstanding traditions.  This side of the family likes to take their time and invest a lot into each sequence of experiences."  

A grandparent from the Nova side of the family spoke for herself.  "This is not my first rodeo.  I seek short bold wins.  The Nova’s don’t anticipate the marriage to the Sequels will do anything to disturb years of the Nova dynasty."

August 3rd FDA Commissioner Gottlieb jumps up and down in his office. He has just downloaded a new app which will keep track of President Trump’s tweets and let him know when the president has tweeted more tweets than him in a day so that he can then outtweet his boss. 

August 18th Another Chinese scientist Crisprs some more babies. Again it is argued there is no unmet medical need, but some argue that maybe there is.  Again the science is unclear. But here too, there is division among the experts. Again there is widespread condemnation. But a little less.  And again the scientist is taken into state custody, but this time into a five star hotel. 

A leading American scientist is caught on recording saying, “This is not fair. The Chinese have given up god, and it puts us on an unlevel playing field.”

September 16th Bowing to Silicon Valley pressure, biotech CEO, Ethan Perlstein, hires a personal training guru.

The next day he resurrects his old meth lab.

October 2nd Another Chinese scientist Crisprs some more babies.

November 17th The NIH’s All of Us Research Program announces the real beginning of the beginning of a new beginning.

December 8th Just in time for Christmas, a new genetic testing company, InHisImage, releases a new app giving polygenic risk scores for children you haven’t yet had.

A spokesman for the company says this, “We just thought if people could see the chances their future kids might have of having disesase, this would bond them to those future kids and make them more likely to embrace the calling to be parents."