[LMB] gene cleaning

Katherine Collett kcollett at hamilton.edu
Thu Oct 17 21:41:45 BST 2019

On Oct 5, 2019, at 4:15 PM, Katherine Collett <kcollett at hamilton.edu> wrote:
>> "The Rise of New Eugenics: Ethical Dilemmas and Social Impact of Modern Genetic Technologies"
>> with Assistant Professor of Biology Natalie Nannas
>> Gwynne: Tell them we've already covered it!
> Heh.  If there's time for questions, I may well bring up this discussion!

Here are my brief notes from the eugenics talk I went to.  The room was packed -- it seems that both students and faculty are interested in the issue.  My notes are rather cryptic, and I skipped the historical background material -- let me know if I need to unpack anything.


Genetic Determinism 

New genetic technologies 
	Genetic screening:
		Screen genes in parents, embryos, babies
		Genetic disease, other traits
		Embryo/Fetus: Who is born?

In vitro fertilization—Can test and screen before implantation 
	[Prof. Nannas showed a diagram of how it works]	
	In the UK, only certain approved genes can be tested for.
	In the US, whatever the clinic will do.

US has laws against genetic manipulation 

Crispr genome editing 
Controlled editing 

Germline editing 

CRISPR post-birth:
	Possible to edit some cell types
	Not edit gametes - no passing down of edits
	Blood/immune-based diseases:
		Sickle cell anemia
		Autoimmune diseases: HIV

The New Eugenics
	Genetic screening and CRISPR editing
	Tools to change our (& children's) genetics
	Should we do it?

BIG difference between Old vs. New Eugenics:
	Old Eugenics: government or institution driven
	New Eugenics: individual driven (parents)

	Usage & regulation of these technologies?
	Domestic vs. International policy?
	Access & Vulnerable Populations?
	Commoditization of human life vs. autonomy?

During the Q&A I did bring up our discussion -- something to the effect that most of us would be okay with eliminating diseases like diabetes (in a future world where it was easily possible), but that the issue got more complicated with things like ADHD, autism, and deafness.  The professor agreed and elaborated a bit more on those issues.

Anyone want more information?  I'd be happy to pass any questions along to Professor Nannas and convey the answers back.


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