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/

 

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

Identical twins are the gold standard in genetics to determine how much of a disease is genetic versus environmental. However, a recent study was published uncovering genetic differences between identical twins. In this week's episode we discuss embryonic development, the study itself, and what this could me with how we determine genetic causes behind diseases. 

SOURCES //

What are GMOs? GMO Watch podcast episode that we guest starred on: https://gmowatch.com/what-are-gmos-steministas/

Overview article about the study: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/general-science/identical-twins-are-not-identical

Overview article about the study: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/identical-twins-can-have-slightly-different-dna-180976736/

Actual study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-020-00755-1

Identical twins explanation: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/identical-twins

Identical twins and placenta: https://fetus.ucsf.edu/monochorionic-twins#:~:text=Identical%20twins%20that%20share%20a,called%20monochorionic%20twins%20(MC).&text=While%20fraternal%20twins%20(2%20eggs,up%20sharing%20a%20single%20placenta

Heritability: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/inheritance/heritability/

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us at steministas@gmail.com!

January 26, 2021

What are pros about GMOs?

In our podcast two weeks ago, we covered some concerns about GMOs. In this episode we will cover some benefits of GMOs in regards to agriculture, nutrition, and the case study of golden rice. Hopefully, we have given you a good background on GMOs and answered your burning questions in this three part series. 

Follow us @steministaspod on Twitter and Instagram. You can email us with any questions or episode ideas at steministas@gmail.com!

SOURCES //

GMO pros

https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2020/07/new-study-gmo-crops-reduce-pesticide-use-greenhouse-gas-emissions/

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/09/21/21greenwire-crop-savior-blazes-biotech-trail-but-few-scien-88379.html?pagewanted=print

GMO environmental impact

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645698.2020.1773198

Organic products

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/05/17/organic-101-can-gmos-be-used-organic-products

Foreign Policy Golden rice article: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/17/golden-rice-genetically-modified-superfood-almost-saved-millions/

Summation of retracted golden rice research article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-genetically-modified-rice/genetically-modified-rice-a-good-vitamin-a-source-idUSBRE87E0RO20120815

Retracted golden rice research article: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/96/3/658/4576908

Retraction reason: https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/102/3/715/4564264

Golden rice and Vitamin A deficiency: https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/11/08/golden-rice-the-gmo-crop-loved-by-humanitarians-opposed-by-greenpeace/

Low participants golden rice study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682994/

Zimbabwe golden rice study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21715509/Anti-golden rice perspective: https://theconversation-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/theconversation.com/amp/the-philippines-has-rated-golden-rice-safe-but-farmers-might-not-plant-it-129956?amp_js_v=a6&

December 29, 2020

What are GMOs?

GMOs or genetically modified organisms have become quite a controversial topic in the past decade. In this podcast, we delve into the history behind GMOs, explain how they work, and discuss some of the technologies used to produce GMOs. This is part one of two and we plan to tackle why GMOs have become controversial in the next podcast. 

As always, our goal is not to tell you what to think but to give you the tools you need to make informed decisions and remove some of the fear and stigma associated with the science behind these controversial topics. 

If you have more questions feel free to contact us at steministas@gmail.com or on Twitter or Instagram @steministaspod

SOURCES // 

Great article on GMOs: https://www.unfortunatephd.com/post/what-you-need-to-know-about-gmos

Flavr Savr: https://www.genengnews.com/insights/mistakes-shorten-first-approved-gmos-shelf-life/

Plant transformation: https://www.jic.ac.uk/blog/what-is-plant-transformation/

Europe vs U.S.

https://theconversation.com/how-we-got-to-now-why-the-us-and-europe-went-different-ways-on-gmos-48709

History:

https://www.fda.gov/food/agricultural-biotechnology/science-and-history-gmos-and-other-food-modification-processes 

Different types of gene editing: https://agbiotech.ces.ncsu.edu/q1-what-is-the-difference-between-genetically-modified-organisms-and-genetically-engineered-organisms-we-seem-to-use-the-terms-interchangeably/

Defining a GMO: https://grist.org/food/mind-bomb-its-practically-impossible-to-define-gmos/

Transgenic plants: https://www.biologydiscussion.com/plants/transgenic-plants/top-6-examples-of-transgenic-plants-genetics/84649

Book: Mendel in the Kitchen https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002U58AU0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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

 

June 16, 2020

How does Science work?

Science is a complicated process and it's especially confusing in terms of COVID-19 and the ever-changing regulations in regards to masks and what scientists are learning. In this podcast we go through the scientific process starting with generating hypotheses all the way to data analysis and communicating your science. We also try to explain the scientific process in regards to COVID-19 and shed some light on why regulations change so quickly! 

SOURCES: 

Different recommendations of masks article: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/04/10/829890635/why-there-so-many-different-guidelines-for-face-masks-for-the-public

WHO masks: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

WHO vs CDC masks: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/cdc-offer-conflicting-advice-masks-expert-tells-us/story?id=70958380

Updated WHO mask policy: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52945210

May 19, 2020

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are everywhere in the news and are often marketed as having superpowers. This week we're covering all the basics behind Vitamins: what they are, how they work, their importance, and recommended vitamin levels. This is a two part podcast so stay tuned for the next podcast where we discuss how vitamins became vitamania and how they're regulated.

// SOURCES 

Vitamania book: https://www.amazon.com/Vitamania-Vitamins-Revolutionized-Think-About/dp/0143108158

Plant vs animal vitamins:

https://www.kevinstock.io/health/vitamins-and-minerals-plants-vs-animals/

Vitamins and what they do: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/listing_of_vitamins

Elmer McColum: https://onwisconsin.uwalumni.com/features/the-birth-of-vitamin-a/

Vitamin D levels: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-d-whats-right-level-2016121910893

Synthetic vs natural vitamins: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/synthetic-vs-natural-nutrients#section1

Fortification/enrichment: https://www.supermarketguru.com/articles/fortification-vs-enriched-know-your-food/

Calcium/Vitamin D: 

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/osteoporosis/role-calcium-vitamin-d-bone-health

February 11, 2020

What is a Genetics Dating App?

With DNA sequencing getting cheaper and cheaper more and more people are using services like 23andme and Ancestry.com to find out about their health and ancestry. What if there was a way to choose who you date based on your genetics? 

Harvard scientist, George Church, is working on this idea in his app, Digid8 which will pair people up based on the likelihood of them not having a child with a genetic disease. 

In this episode we do a refreshment on DNA sequencing, talk about the diseases this app is planning to screen for and get into the whole ethical situation and discuss if the term eugenics is appropriate for this idea of a genetics dating app. 

 

SOURCES //

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/

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