NEWSLETTER

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  • Birth of first genetically edited babies

    30/11/2018
    Posted by:

    Merogenomics


    When it comes to the news in genetics, very few blockbuster headlines come out that can be compared to the degree of what was announced this week from China: researchers declared the birth of the first human baby that was genetically modified prior to birth. We are ushering in the era of designer babies. It was not that long ago that we discussed this topic as a too distant possibility to merit serious discussion. Indeed, not that long ago it was not. It is incredible that in a mere few years, China has made such leaps in the use of genome editing technologies to start experiments on human subjects.


  • Genome editing enters a new phase

    01/08/2018
    Posted by:

    Merogenomics 


    The world of genome editing is heating up. Since its invention in 2012 of the targeted Cas9 gene editing system, the procedure has garnered massive funding and attention, and it is no wonder, as the potential medical implications are obvious. Quietly in the background, human embryo experiments are already occurring, setting the stage for what might be expected in the near future.


  • Is there a justifiable need for diseases to exist?

    30/04/2018
    Posted by:

    Merogenomics


    If mutagenesis is required for the survival of the species, and diseases that are found in the population arise due to such mutagenic events, then could disease prevalence in the population be a sign of a species’ ability to adapt to a changing world? For the survival of a species, a certain threshold level of mutagenesis is needed. Beyond this threshold, if mutagenesis were to be too frequent, the resulting level of diseases could endanger the species by overwhelming its capacity to successfully thrive and reproduce. If the mutagenesis level is far below such a threshold, then it endangers the survival of the species by leading to species DNA that is not versatile. The lack of such versatility could expose the species to rapid eradication because not enough members would be adapted to a completely new environment in order to ensure its ability to thrive. Think of dinosaurs. Or any currently endangered species that has a very low number of individuals. A simple virus infection could wipe such a species out of existence at this point.


  • Designer babies

    27/11/2017
    Posted by:

    Merogenomics


    Too often when I introduce to people what I do and what my interests are, I am met with a reaction of fear that the net result of such work will be the modification of offspring to a desired specification, the so-called “designer babies”. I find it somewhat concerning that this is the type of thinking that people can relapse to on their first encounter with the overall concept of human genome sequencing. On the other hand, one has to respect the notion of fear displayed by the public regarding the concept of manipulation of human genomes for satisfaction of someone's aesthetic desires.


  • Synthesising humans, a modern topic of debate?

    27/07/2017
    Posted by:

    Merogenomics


    One genome-related newstory that has stirred the public lately was last year’s announcement of a project to synthetically build a human genome. What do I mean by that? To build an entire human genome, the DNA code that makes each individual unique, with a machine base by base, chromosome by chromosome. You can imagine such information elicited quite a few gasps among the bewildered public.