Code for life

Teams, collaborations, lone wolves, and cranks

Grant Jacobs Oct 01, 2017

Jeremy Farrar, the director of the London-based biomedical research charity the Wellcome Trust, has written an opinion piece in the Guardian newspaper espousing the value of (international) collaborations in the face of Brexit, Britain proposed exit from the European Union. Farrar rightfully highlights the importance of collaborations. Collaboration can be essential for many types of work, and direct interactions … Read More

Avery, a little bird helping children talk about their genetic disease

Grant Jacobs Sep 04, 2017

Science communication takes many forms, even when we limit it to written work. Here University of Cambridge professor Lucy Raymond has worked with children’s illustrator Marta Altes at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University to make an illustrated book for young children with rare genetic conditions. Part of Professor Raymond’s aim is to give the book to … Read More

From here to there: Installing a 16kb computer to modern tape media

Grant Jacobs Aug 07, 2017

While travelling I’ve visited some science-related locations and seen the odd bit of science-related trivia. On a wall of the ferry I took between Swedish the port town Oskarshamm and the walled city of Visby at the Baltic sea island of Gotland was a collection of photographs offering a pictorial history of the shipping company. One delightful photograph highlighted that … Read More

USA team editing embryos, early thoughts on alternatives and limitations

Grant Jacobs Aug 03, 2017

Widely reported today is the research paper by an USA team who edited a gene that causes sudden heart failure in young adults. I’d like to take a different approach, briefly raising just two things that nagged at me while reading this work. Before I do be clear there are real technical advances reported.* I’m not denying or opposing them. Read More

Fixing our genes

Grant Jacobs Jul 30, 2017

Gene editing could be a big deal. It offers some great stuff. For a few applications it also raises some interesting ethical questions. We might be able to treat some genetic disorders by convert a “broken” gene associated back to the working version of the gene, potentially providing a one-time, life-long fix for the patient. Gene therapy has a surprisingly … Read More

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A few vaccine resources

Grant Jacobs Apr 08, 2017

Below are a few links to resources that people might find useful to share – or read if you want a quick introduction to vaccines for kids. Short takes For really short takes, these brochures—all in PDF format—might be useful. They make key points in few words: Immunization: Get the facts – a Canadian brochure covering 5 key concerns … Read More

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Vaxxed at University of Otago: venues should be able to decline

Grant Jacobs Apr 07, 2017

The University of Otago has allowed an anti-vaccine lobby group[1] to screen former-doctor Andrew Wakefield’s advocacy piece, ‘Vaxxed’ on campus. (Wakefield was struck off for research misconduct.) Vaxxed has attracted a number of comments in the media, such as Alison Mau’s If you watch Vaxxed, know you’re buying into the manipulation of a disgraced fraud. I was surprised to learn the university … Read More

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Human gene editing recommendations from USA science panel

Grant Jacobs Feb 15, 2017

Just out today are the recommendations of a joint science advisory group of the USA National Academy of Science and the USA Academy of Medicine on gene editing. As an alert to any that might be interested I’ve copied their summary of their recommendations below.This post is meant as a simple heads-up, rather than an analysis of this … Read More

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