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Friday, October 9, 2020

Current Events: the Nobel Prize (CRISPR) and the Supreme Court

On Fridays, we consider the events of consequence that have transpired during the course of the current week or two. My kids typically enjoy this activity because we often start off with a video news report by CNN10 (which is always a highlight - we don't rely upon a TON of technology, because... data limits :S). Though frequently the bias is obvious, we do enjoy gaining perspective into how many people are thinking about the hot topics of the day. Listening to opposing positions on the issues can make for interesting and lively discussion. In another place, I explain more of what Current Events looks like + What we do. 

Here are the basics:

  1. A news source or two + 
  2. This Week in History notebook entry +
  3. Thoughtful discussion.

Here are a couple of the topics we addressed around the dinner table tonight:

The Nobel Prize (CRISPR) : October 2020

"Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer A. Doudna of the United States won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for inventing CRISPR-Cas9." From Creators of gene-editing tool win Nobel Prize.

SUMMARY: Creators of gene-editing tool win Nobel Prize (a one minute read)

Sophia Lee’s interview with bioethicist William Hurlbut about unethical uses of CRISPR: A Question of Ethics - (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED read for high school students)

CONS. "One study, published in Nature Methods; but later retracted, showed that CRISPR can cause hundreds of unintended mutations in genes other than the targeted one." An article published by World Magazine, CRISPR Danger.

PROS. "This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true," the Nobel Committee said in announcing the prize. (Quote from 2020 Nobel Prize In Chemistry: 2 Scientists Win For Genome Editing Research, NPR)

POINTS OF INTEREST. "This is the first science Nobel to be awarded to an all-female team, according to Science Magazine. The development of CRISPR-Cas9 began serendipitously when Charpentier was studying the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, which causes a range of diseases from tonsillitis to sepsis, according to a statement from the Nobel Committee." (For more, read the full article: 2 women earn Chemistry Nobel Prize for gene-editing tool CRISPR | Live Science)

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