Monday, February 25, 2008

Reprogramming our cells to fix those darn mutations

Yes, we seem to be approaching that brave new world where we can fix mutations in our genomes to treat certain genetic diseases. The technology has already reached the point where it can handle at least point mutations as seen in this astonishing piece of recent research where they were able to reprogram cells in mice to treat sickle-cell anemia. You can find a nice description of the work with some background to put it into context in this essay on "Not Exactly Rocket Science", a blog I discovered while updating the bit about sickle cell in my lecture on mutations for today's class. It looks like a blog well worth reading on a regular basis, and has a number of other good examples of commentary on peer-reviewed articles you might emulate for your blogging for this class!

And as you absorb this paper, and marvel at how we might, someday soon, be able to fix some of our genetic defects, ponder the ethical implications of acquiring this ability to tinker with our genes at this level!



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