Kersey Sturdivant • biology, Ethical Debates, Fun Science Friday, Life Sciences, Natural Science • August 18, 2017 •
The world we currently live in would have seemed like science fiction to humans in the not to distant past. Everyday more and advancements transform sci-fi dreams into reality. Most recently gene editing of human embryos has been birthed into the realm of possibility (cheesy pun intended!). In theory gene editing embryos could allow you to choose preferential traits in your soon to be human flesh-blob. That level of ability does not currently exist, but the latest developments in gene editing are still pretty astonishing.
Eggs before gene editing (left), and eggs after gene editing and already undergoing cell division (right)
(Photo credit: Ma et al. 2017)
In a recent study scientists took a human embryo and edited a dangerous mutation from the genes of that embryo; human reality, meet science fiction. Scientists at Oregon Health and Science University, with colleagues in California, China and South Korea, edited embryos, fixing a mutation that causes a common heart condition that can lead to sudden death later in life. The biggest hurdles were producing embryos in which all cells, not just some, were mutation-free, while also avoiding creating unwanted extra mutations during the process. The researchers found that when gene-editing components were introduced with sperm to the egg before fertilization, the success of the process was markedly different from previous approaches. If embryos with the repaired mutation were allowed to develop into babies, they would not only be disease-free but would also not transmit the disease to their descendants.
Andrew David Thaler • Blogging • •
Note: The following is a plug for my Patreon campaign. Funds raised in this campaign go towards keeping the Southern Fried Science servers running as well as research and development for Oceanography for Everyone.
Behold the Unflappable Mola Mola!
Soon after the completion of Jacques Week 2017, I realized that I now had a collection of ocean animals wearing jaunty red cap doodles that were almost purpose made to be turned into stickers. So after a bit of research, a lot of redesigns, and a few test runs, the Jaunty Ocean Critter collection was born! Every month for the next year, I’m releasing a new, limited-edition run of Jaunty Ocean Critter stickers for your amusement, bemusement, and sea-musement. Die-cut on heavy vinyl, these stickers will hold up in the water, on your laptop, or attached to your favorite piece of oceanographic equipment. (more…)
Andrew David Thaler • Monday Morning Salvage • August 7, 2017 •
Fog Horn (A Call to Action)
Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)
Chris Parsons • Conservation, marine science, Open Science, Popular Culture • August 4, 2017 •
In the UK, there is a famous and long-running radio show called Desert Island Discs. On this show celebrities are asked to imagine that they are marooned on a desert island, but they have rescued 10 discs (mp3s I suppose these days…) of songs that they have rescued from their sinking ship to keep them company on the desert island.
clipart credit: istock.com
My chum – marine mammal scientist and general ocean hero – Asha De Vos recently asked for a list of key papers in marine conservation that she could pass onto students working on marine conservation issues in Sri Lanka. So I decided to write up my top ten “desert island” marine conservation papers that I think have been influential, and that all marine conservation students should read.
So after much pondering, this is my list:
David Shiffman • Thursday Afternoon Dredging • August 3, 2017 •
We’re back after a 3 week conference attendance break!
Cuttings (short and sweet):
Chris Parsons • Conservation, Fantasy, Popular Culture • August 1, 2017 •
The Hogwarts Sorting Hat divides students into their respective houses in their first year at the school of witchcraft and wizardry. Each house is known for having its own “personality.” In addition to potential wizards/witches, one can also sort those involved in conservation into the four Hogwarts houses.
- Hufflepuff – This house stands for dedication and hard work, but also patience, tolerance, fair play and kindness. Most conservationists working in NGOs, especially those related to protection of megafauna species, are Hufflepuffs. One famous Hufflepuff was Newton Scamander, a socially awkward wizard who took it upon himself to try to save endangered magical creatures, when others just saw them as pests. Most of the herbology teachers at Hogwarts were Hufflepuffs (Neville Longbottom being a notable exception).
Chris Parsons • Fantasy, Popular Culture • •
“I trust the eyes of an honest man more than ‘what everybody knows’ “
– Tyrion Lannister to Jon Snow, as Jon tries to convince everyone that he has seen the Army of the Dead coming.
In the current season of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister is unexpectedly sitting on the Iron Throne of Westeros after immolating most of the existing peerage in King’s Landing. Because of this purge, most of the seats in the Privy Council are empty (assuming she even means to establish one), and her inner circle consists of: the Hand of the Queen, a clever ex-Maester with no morals or ethics; the commander of the Queen’s Guard, a conscience-less zombie; and two military commanders, one a troubled brother/lover and one an ambitious wily psychopath, of uncertain loyalty.