Nathan and Laura on CRISPRed Babies and Other November 2018 Stories


0:00 What do you make of the He Jiankui story, of this whole week?

12:51 Are we hiding some of our denial behind the backlash?

16:01 Is this the headline we were all waiting for?

21:05 Why not eye color?

26:01 Paternal mtDNA transfer

31:25 Which genetic test to gift for the holidays?

What a week! And a great time to have on our expert contributors, genomicist Nathan Pearson and genetic counselor Laura Hercher, to talk about what is reportedly a first in history: babies born with a gene altered. They'll be called Lulu and Nana.

So just how pissed, scared, shocked, and curious are we after three days?

Laura says there’s many levels here, and many lines crossed as she quickly joins in the “chorus of disapproval.” She also says there’s many levels of anxiety going on, and it’s helpful to separate them out: there's gene editing anxiety, there's Youtube anxiety, there's science establishment anxiety, some U.S./European anxiety. "Some of them are legitimate and some are not."

Many have talked about how dangerously easy it is to use CRISPR. Nathan tempers that by comparing the use of CRISPR to playing the game "Go," "it's a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.”

We do to talk about other cool stuff this month—the new paper on paternal transfer of mitochondrial DNA, and we end with some suggestions for which genetic tests you might offer as gifts this holiday season.

It’s Halloween to Christmas all in one show.