September 12, 2018 Meeting

Genes and Society in the News:

  • CRISPR litigation: Broad/Harvard has a more specific patent for CRISPR engineering in Eukaryotes, essentially the same patent as UC patent from Doudna. First ruling was no interference. Likely a long time before decision is made.  Does not apply to uses of the technology for research.
  • Sept. 12. Michael Schulson. Undark. Should “Race” Be Taught in High School Biology? Ann Morning referred Brian to Michael Schulson for an interview and Jon and Ann Hubbard also spoke with him. Tactful way of attacking racialist thinking.  There is an excellent opportunity for addressing these problems it has helped create.
  • HHMI Interactive.  Materials for teaching. Kostia uses a 15-minute clip on sickle cell disease and natural selection.  At end, there is mention that sickle cell and thalassemia are in areas where malaria are present.  Sean B. Carroll is HHMI VP for Science Education.  He also wrote the book on Monod and Camus that Jon reviewed.
  • September 6. The EconomistThe pros and cons of collaboration.  What employers want from graduates is ability to work with teams.  What do SAT and intelligence tests have to do with these skills?
  • Sept. 10. Monica Rodriguez. Fortune magazineYou Discovered Your Genetic History. Is It Worth the Privacy Risk? Even when there are privacy policies it is difficult to know what is being done. New privacy policies in response to legislation from EU. 23andMe is not sending samples out to some companies that they used previously.
  • Aug. 9. James Gorman. NYTimes.  Friendly Foxes’ Genes Offer Hints to How Dogs Became Domesticated. Farm breed foxes bred for friendliness and that you may need only need a few genes to make that change. Arguments against Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance is that evolution could not be that fast.

Articles for discussion:

Discussion points:

  • In the globe article, they refer to studies that genes may make more of a difference in the high SES environments. Take home message is that genes aren’t the reason. Well maybe genes are 15% of the reason.
  • The latest large study on educational attainment refers to 11 – 13% predictive power from polygenic score. And this is upwardly biased due to including G X E. Polygenic scores are ignoring anything other than additive genetic effects.
  • Group points out that these Turkheimer studies on SES influence may explain the lower predictability of polygenic score for the African American populations, rather than a gene frequency difference in the populations.
  • Population stratification. Reich method is to run PCA on the genetic data controlling for population stratification. But this includes both environmental differences and genotype frequency differences in one control. Miss out on interaction with environment
  • Height is the best studied example where 1000s of different genes may matter – very multifactorial. Height is highly heritable. Japanese height changed over a few generations. Few genes of large effect. Many genes of small effect
  • First Omnigenic Article was by Pritchard’s group one year ago.  Core gene model predicted a handful of core genes and effects on these core genes through regulatory networks by nearly every other gene expressed in the affected cell types. If true, further GWAS studies need to be supplemented by different experiments such as RNA work.
  • New article seems to predict many different ways to complex disease and patient stratification as very important. Would argue for more GWAS in diverse populations.  Also, polygenic scores may be useful as prediction but do not help with mechanism.

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