[LMB] textev - gene cleaning and euthanasia

Karen Hunt huntkc at gmail.com
Thu Oct 17 00:29:54 BST 2019

On Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 6:35 PM Gretchen Wright <gretchen.m.wright at gmail.com>
[great snippage occurs]

> My comments: I was curious as to how exactly the 'gene cleaning' was
> performed on Beta. Cordelia's comment seems a bit vague, perhaps
> deliberately so on the author's part. It seems the elimination 'before
> conception' could come from either eliminating entire gametes, or by
> performing a CRISPR type operation (of course unheard of at the time of
> publication) to edit the gametes. I think there may be a more detailed
> discussion elsewhere, possibly in _DI_ when Miles is watching the
> conception video.

Figure I might as well add what details are determinable from Vorkosigan
Saga books. It is worth remembering that even the newer tales predate
CRISPR-cas9 and related techniques.

Ethan of Athos 1 (but remember Athos is pretty backwards)
Ethan shook his head. "There are only a couple dozen common disorders we
can do something about—some types of diabetes, for example, that can be
repaired by one gene splice in a small group of cells, if you catch them at
just the right stage of development. Some can even be pulled from the sperm
sample when we filter out the defective X-chromosome-bearing portion. There
are many more that can be detected in the early check, before the blastula
is implanted in the replicator bed and starts forming its placenta. We
routinely pull one cell then, and put it through an automated check. But
the automated check only finds problems it's programmed to find—the hundred
or so most common birth defects. It's not impossible for it to miss
something subtle or rare—it happens half-a-dozen times a year.

Komarr 15 (Komarran doctor explaining to Ekaterin)
She illustrated her talk with a holovid of the actual offending
chromosomes, and a computer-generated vid of exactly how the retrovirus
would deliver the splice that would work to supplement their deficiencies.
"I believe our gene techs can have the retrovirus personalized for Nikki in
about a week"

ACC 7 (Dono describing time at Beta Colony)
I did look into the retrogenetic treatment for complete somatic
transformation. I didn't have time for it, the complications can be
strange, and for a gene splice this large the result is usually no better
than a partial cellular mosaic, a chimera, hit-or-miss.

Karen Hunt

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