Big Picture Science – Gene-y in a Bottle

by Gary Niederhoff on March 21, 2016

Big Picture Science – Gene-y in a Bottle
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You can’t pick your parents. But soon you may be able to change the DNA they gave you. CRISPR technology is poised to take DNA editing to new levels of precision and speed. Imagine deleting genes from your body that you don’t like and inserting the ones you want. The swap might not even require a fancy lab. Biohackers are already tinkering with genes in their homes.

Find out how CRISPR technology might change everything when the genetic lottery is no longer destiny.

Plus, a cardiologist identifies the troublesome genes that once gave us evolutionary advantages but today are fueling obesity, depression and other modern illness.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Lee Goldman / Genetic Burden
Part 2: Jacob Corn / CRISPR
Part 3: Josiah Zayner / Bio-hacking

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ross March 22, 2016 at 4:40 pm

I found the show about DNA editing very interesting as well as more than a little scary . The first section with Professor Corn was well reasoned and very informative.
I however found the last piece — the one with the home-crisper guy — to be appalling. This guy was a biologist for NASA? I find it hard to believe that he was even a janitor there. His ideas on what it takes to perform rigorous science are completely wrong. as evidenced by the problem that chunks of Brocolli and other food being mixed in with his “experiments.”
Allow everyone to cook up their own genetic experiments right there in there little kitchens and something resembling or worse than a “zombie apocalypse” is what we will probably get.

avatar Richard April 16, 2016 at 10:49 am

Science and technology have always been advanced by tinkerers in their kitchens and garages. And while these advances have proceeded there have been the scoffers, doomsayers, and sanctimonious moralists scoffing and condemning on the sidelines.
Many brave chemists died trying to produce Florine, including the chemist who was ultimately successful and got the Nobel prize for his procedure, which is used to this day. Alfred Nobel’s brother died in an explosion before he invented dynamite.
Science should be democratic and universal. Alchemy failed and fell into disrepute not because it didnt do some good science, but because it was secrative and exclusive. The science of big corporations shares these failings of alchemy. This is very similar to free speech. Truth triumphs in freedom and democract as does science and progress.

avatar Ross April 17, 2016 at 6:20 am

99% of all scientific advancement that we have achieved has come from peer reviewed research — not from tinkerers. While I agree that 1% of the advances we have enjoyed (or regretted) has come from the outliers you describe and count yourself as one of. However, giving them as much credit as you do seems a little like the flee floating down the river with an erection shouting “open the draw bridge”
While I do agree that these outliers have had an important impact on science, even though it is a small one, the ones who were successful still involved themselves in precise scientific practices. Having a laboratory doing genetic research in the same room where you are preparing meals and spewing various food molecules into your work as opposed to in a “clean room”, really does not seem to qualify as careful scientific research to me.

avatar Richard April 19, 2016 at 3:58 am

Not a lot of “peer reviewed research” accounted for the advancements made by Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Maxwell, Einstein, Marconi, Tesla, Gutenberg, James Watt, the Wright brothers, Steve Wozniak, … the list goes on. On the other hand, a lot of “peer reviewed research” goes into drug research and “climate science”, a lot of it of dubious value.
PS Typos from my previous post – Fluorine, democracy

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