[LMB] OT: "All wealth is biological" in modern-day science

A. Marina Fournier saffronrose at me.com
Sat Dec 4 02:38:47 GMT 2021

On Dec 2, 2021, at 7:35 PM, alayne at twobikes.ottawa.on.ca wrote:
> This week I finished listening to the audiobook of _The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race_ by Walter Isaacson.
> It's about Doudna's co-discovery of CRISPR and how that led to being able to reasonably straightforwardly edit the human genome, and then to Doudna's Nobel Prize in October 2020.

And Emmanuelle Charpentier.

Doudna is a fellow Pomona College alumna. Not sure whether there are other alumni with Nobels, Pulitzers, or the like. Watson grants & MacArthur fellowships, at least a dozen each in the last 20 yrs.

> First of all, despite the fact that the narrator of this audiobook is good, I would recommend reading rather than listening to the book because it's very long, fairly involved with a large cast of characters and a bit rambling, and would be easier to concentrate on as a book rather than an audiobook.

For most non-fiction, I prefer print. It’s easier to go back to refresh my memory on anything.

> A few years later there was the Chinese scientist who decided to edit human DNA and produce two baby girls...

Major backfire!

> The book also goes into the possible good (cure sickle cell anemia; turn off cancer metastasizing genes)

CRISPR’s use to fight sickle cell anemia is nothing short of miraculous for those who’ve been treated with it.

> with the bad (develop new bio-weapons; make horrible mistakes) and ethically unclear (designer babies that might reduce the diversity of the human race)

As with the Chinese scientist above, and in many disturbing sf/spec fic stories.

> Near the end he talks about how CRISPR technology was used by Doudna and others to develop more accurate COVID-19 tests.


> It's an interesting book, both in how it shows the connections among scientists and the importance of working together as opposed to vicious competition (tho there's certainly that too re patents), and how it discusses setting limits on this research.

There’s been enough time, perhaps, for legislation regarding “automated vehicles” to  be drawn, with more being written and fine-tuned as more of them are in use.

> The author strongly implies that biological sciences will overtake computers as the new technological frontier for bright youngsters -- which enthralled and scared the hell out of me.

Genentech made their librarians and similar folk redundant about a decade ago. Much furor in the Library & Info Sci community, especially as other firms followed suit.

I think I knew in the Oughts that healthcare was going to be an employment boom.

If biosci & biotech is corrupted by rampant greedy individuals, as other industries were in the ’80s, we ought to have the sense to be at least concerned, if not outright scared.

A. Marina Fournier
saffronrose at me.com
Je persisterai quand même, car j’ais survécu d’être née
Valley of Heart’s Delight. CA
Sent from iFionnghuala

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