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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

5 New Buzzwords Borrowed from Biology

May 30, 2017

I’ve just finished revising the latest edition of my human genetics textbook, and while checking the glossary, discovered several potential new buzzwords, a few particularly relevant in these strange times.

THE OLD

Co-opting terms from science may have begun with "organic," it’s definition so evolved that I must insert "(carbon-containing)" when I first use the term in a genetics book. Last week for the first time I heard "inorganic," presumably meaning "not genuine." (more…)

An American Horror Story: The AHCA and Anencephaly

May 11, 2017

Tags: neural tube defect, American Health Care Act, anencephaly

Last week I read with incredulity section 215 of The American Health Care Act, the part that states that it “does not include coverage for abortions (other than any abortion necessary to save the life of the mother or any abortion with respect to a pregnancy that is the result of an act of rape or incest).”

How would such a draconian measure, should it become law, affect the field of prenatal diagnosis? (more…)

Pulling the Plug on the First Gene Therapy Drug

May 1, 2017

Tags: gene therapy, Glybera

2017 is supposed to be the year that FDA finally approves a gene therapy. But last week, the company behind the first approved gene therapy in Europe, UniQure, announced that it won't “pursue the renewal of marketing authorization” that expires October 25.

What happened? Is the move a setback for gene therapies in the pipeline? I don’t think so.
(more…)

instruction
Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
Book Club Reader's Guide
Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
Narrative science
The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 11th edition, 12th to be published in September 2018.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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