Nathan and Laura on CRISPRed Babies and Other November 2018 Stories

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.

The Business of Aging and Three Reasons Why the FDA Drug Approval Rate Is So High

We're back in the office after a fabulous vacation, and ready to have some fun. It's Friday, and time for Gene and Tonic.

Yes, we celebrate the news this week that women have their own sex pill. And we make our best guesses as to why the FDA's drug approval rate is up in the stratosphere.

But first, we report on one of the funnest conferences we go to all year, the Rejuvenation Biotechnology Conference put on by the SENS Research Foundation. The study of aging has picked up momentum in the last year, and the conference featured some of the latest science. We heard a few jokes at the conference we want to share, but also we talk about some of the new developments in the field which, you gotta agree, can come off sounding pretty comical as well.

Tim Triche on Using Arrays for Cancer Research

We recently interviewed cancer researcher Tim Triche from Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Tim had two main points: First, microarrays are still a very valuable tool for research and for the clinic. Second, there are perhaps more answers for cancer research to be found in the non-coding portion of the genome than in the genes.

Here, we've compiled Tim's comments on the staying power of arrays.

For the full interview, see Part I and Part II.

Editor's Note:  In this interview, Tim refers to an older generation Affymetrix array (GeneChip(R) Exon 1.0 ST Array).  The newest array (GeneChip(R) Human Transcriptome Array 2.0) is able to measure gene and exon level expression of coding and long non-coding RNA with the ability to detect alternative splicing events.

We Got Research, PCSK9 Inhibitors, and Clinical Trials for Religion

The international BIO convention is all about seduction.  All fifty states sent representatives to Philly this week to make the case that their state was the best for biotech. Seventy countries were there touting their awesome awesomeness.  

Does all this seduction really work?

A new class of drugs for cardiovascular disease was reviewed recently at the FDA.  Will they become blockbusters like Pfizer’s Lipitor?  

Join us for today’s Gene and Tonic where we also review a class of drug that works similar to the cholesterol lowering statins but has never been tested in clinical trials.


Geneticists Anonymous, the Sad State of Science Journalism, and New Kids on the Helix

Gene and Tonic: May 29, 2015

Did you hear?  The Age of Genomics has come to an end.  

According to science journalist, David Dobbs, after 110 years of studying genomics, we have come up with almost nothing to improve human health, or as Dobbs put it so elegantly, we ain't got  "diddly-squat."  

What will all of our geneticist friends do?  They don't want to be known as "diddlly-squaticists."

We've heard that some of the leading research universities are already rebranding.  The Stanford Genome Center will soon be known as the Go Put Your Head in the Sand Center.  And they're taking applications.

Some of those geneticists who are having a hard time facing the fact that they indulged in this field have organized at Geneticists Anonymous.  Join us in today's show to find out about how the 12 Steps might help you face yourself and conquer your addiction to this unproductive field of science.


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