Down Syndrome is a genetic disease characterized by mental and physical disabilities. It is often screened for early on in pregnancy and there is a correlation between countries that push early pregnancy screening and the percentage of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted. In this week's episode, we go over the genetics behind Down Syndrome, discuss the statistics of abortion of Down Syndrome babies being put out by other countries, and talk about the ethical implications behind testing for disabilities. 

 

SOURCES //

Down syndrome basics and screening: https://www.ndss.org/about-down-syndrome/down-syndrome/#:~:text=Down%20syndrome%20is%20usually%20caused,the%20egg%20fails%20to%20separate.

Down syndrome screening: https://www.womenandinfants.org/services/medical-screening/screening-for-down-syndrome#:~:text=Substances%20in%20your%20blood%20which,(free%20beta%2DhCG).

Down syndrome symptoms: https://www.healthline.com/health/down-syndrome#symptoms

Down syndrome financial cost: https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20161216/down-syndrome-may-not-be-big-financial-burden-on-families#:~:text=Researchers%20found%20that%20average%20monthly,life%2C%20the%20study%20authors%20said.

Article condemning Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion bill: https://www.aclu.org/news/disability-rights/the-offensive-hypocrisy-of-banning-abortion-for-a-down-syndrome-diagnosis/

Atlantic article: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/12/the-last-children-of-down-syndrome/616928/

Dr. Rosmarie Garland-Thomson’s article ‘Human Biodiversity Conservation: A Consensual Ethical Principle’: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rosemarie-Garland-Thomson-2/publication/277601791_Human_Biodiversity_Conservation_A_Consensual_Ethical_Principle/links/55cdfd7d08ae118c85bc1cb8/Human-Biodiversity-Conservation-A-Consensual-Ethical-Principle.pdf

Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-dark-side-of-crispr/

Russian scientist uses CRISPR to prevent deafness article: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03018-0

Deaf people oppose gene editing article: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/why-deaf-people-oppose-using-gene-editing-to-cure-deafness

Down syndrome empathy study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12635971/

 

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December 1, 2020

CRISPR wins the Nobel Prize!

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to two women this year for the application of CRISPR to biotechnology. This fascinating technology has huge implications for science! In this podcast we talk about the life of Alfred Nobel who founded the Nobel prize, what CRISPR is, and why it is so exciting that two women won the Nobel Prize. 

 

SOURCES: //

Alfred Nobel's life: https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred-nobel/alfred-nobels-life-and-work/ 

CRISPR Nobel Prize: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lists/nobel-prize-awarded-women/#:~:text=Only%20one%20woman%2C%20Marie%20Curie,1911%20Nobel%20Prize%20in%20Chemistry.

August 25, 2020

Is Race Genetic?

This is our first podcast in a two-part series about race. In this podcast, we discuss the difficult topic of race and genetics through the lens of science and history. First, we discuss the history of racism beginning in the 1500s, then shift into how science was used to justify racism in both Europe and America. Throughout the podcast, we unpack the question of if race is genetic or just a social construct by delving into some genetic concepts about disease and ancestry. Finally, we discuss some genetic examples that are normally used to try and justify that race is genetic. 

 

// SOURCES

Articles: 

1547 Vagrancy Act: 

https://www.intriguing-history.com/edward-vi-enacts-harsh-statute-against-vagabonds/

Virginia Slave Codes summary: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_act_concerning_Servants_and_Slaves#:~:text=The%20Virginia%20Slave%20Codes%20of,the%20crown%20colony%20of%20Virginia.

Actual Virginia Slave Codes:

http://hackettlatinacademy.weebly.com/uploads/2/2/5/1/22510182/virginiaslavecodes.pdf

d

Genetics and race article: http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/science-genetics-reshaping-race-debate-21st-century/

Genetics and race article:  https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/race-is-real-but-its-not-genetic

Scientific Racism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism#Carl_Linnaeus

MAO-A gene: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/code-rage-the-warrior-gene-makes-me-mad-whether-i-have-it-or-not/

Books: 

DNA is not Destiny - Steven Heine: https://www.amazon.com/DNA-Not-Destiny-Misunderstood-Relationship/dp/0393244083

A Troublesome Inheritance - Nicholas Wade: https://www.amazon.com/Troublesome-Inheritance-Genes-Human-History/dp/1594204462

 

January 14, 2020

What are CRISPR babies 3.0?

Over a year ago, Chinese scientist Dr. He Jianku announced the birth of the first two genetically modified human babies. Now, we return to this story with new discoveries about the details of the study and the fate of the senior scientist. Main article:https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614764/chinas-crispr-babies-read-exclusive-excerpts-he-jiankui-paper/

December 31, 2019

What are Brain Organoids?

In this episode, we discuss brain organoids (sometimes called mini-brains) - what are they, what can we do with them, and what are the ethical dilemmas that arise with this kind of technology? Main source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/21/scientists-may-have-crossed-ethical-line-in-growing-human-brains

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