Top 10 Science Stories of 2012

 
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29 December 2012 12:04
eudemonia
 
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eudemonia
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29 December 2012 12:46
 

‘About 800 planets have been confirmed to exist outside our solar system, in addition to nearly 2,000 planet candidates found with the Kepler mission.’

Hmmmm…..why does this seem like a much lower number than it should be? I suppose the requirement for ‘planet’ is a little more stringent than many people understand?

 
 
GAD
 
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29 December 2012 17:12
 

Lots of cool science there.

This one stood out for me.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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29 December 2012 23:04
 
GAD - 29 December 2012 04:12 PM

Lots of cool science there.

This one stood out for me.

I’m sure prenatal DNA testing is going to become cheap and common.  Right now, you can get your DNA sequenced for $99. 

My son had this done (as a nerdy birthday gift, since he is a microbio major), and they sent him tons of interesting stuff about predispositions and heritage.  My hub and I had it done too, for free, since my son had a particular trait that the company is studying, and they wanted to see a more complete picture.

All we had to do was spit in a test tube and mail it in.  I guess the prenatal testing you linked is more complex, but I’m sure they’ll perfect it and make it affordable.

Then come all the moral questions.

 
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30 December 2012 00:53
 
Hannah2 - 29 December 2012 10:04 PM
GAD - 29 December 2012 04:12 PM

Lots of cool science there.

This one stood out for me.

I’m sure prenatal DNA testing is going to become cheap and common.  Right now, you can get your DNA sequenced for $99. 

My son had this done (as a nerdy birthday gift, since he is a microbio major), and they sent him tons of interesting stuff about predispositions and heritage.  My hub and I had it done too, for free, since my son had a particular trait that the company is studying, and they wanted to see a more complete picture.

All we had to do was spit in a test tube and mail it in.  I guess the prenatal testing you linked is more complex, but I’m sure they’ll perfect it and make it affordable.

Then come all the moral questions.

Indeed, it will be common but the fear is already setting in. If you watched the video on the link the one woman is saying if your child will have Down’s you have to have it!? I don’t see that as a moral issue I see people like her as self-righteous and deluded. The next cry will be, but only the rich can afford it, then we’ll hear about the genetic divide and how it’s unfair/evil that the rich can be born without terrible diseases while the poor poor have to roll the dice and take what they get.

 
 
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30 December 2012 01:07
 

I doubt DNA testing will be for the have’s and not the have nots. I had mine sequenced for national geographic 5 years ago and it was only 100 bucks then.

If we had a true universal heath care system it could be available to everyone.

Oh I can hear the libertarian, capitalist, government hating paranoids already!!!!!!!


wink

 
 
GAD
 
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30 December 2012 03:00
 
Epaminondas - 30 December 2012 12:07 AM

I doubt DNA testing will be for the have’s and not the have nots. I had mine sequenced for national geographic 5 years ago and it was only 100 bucks then.

If we had a true universal heath care system it could be available to everyone.

Oh I can hear the libertarian, capitalist, government hating paranoids already!!!!!!!


wink

They don’t do you whole gnome for a 100 bucks, not that I’ve seen anyways. And doing a baby before it’s born based on mommy and daddy is 50K in the article. The next step after this is perfected is selective DNA.

 
 
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30 December 2012 13:40
 

Well, I can see doing selection to avoid major defects (like spina bifida) with in vitro fertilization someday.  But getting pregnant and having abortions is a crummy (and difficult!) way to do selection.  With in vitro, we’re just talking about a few cells, and there is much less hue and cry.

You know we have tens of thousands of genes, and they have complex regulatory interactions, not simple expression.  I think we’re a very long way from custom children.  And the worry would be, if you chose for one gene over another, what about the other, less obvious effects of that gene?  And what about all the other genes not selected?

 
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30 December 2012 15:43
 
Hannah2 - 30 December 2012 12:40 PM

Well, I can see doing selection to avoid major defects (like spina bifida) with in vitro fertilization someday.  But getting pregnant and having abortions is a crummy (and difficult!) way to do selection.  With in vitro, we’re just talking about a few cells, and there is much less hue and cry.

You know we have tens of thousands of genes, and they have complex regulatory interactions, not simple expression.  I think we’re a very long way from custom children.  And the worry would be, if you chose for one gene over another, what about the other, less obvious effects of that gene?  And what about all the other genes not selected?

I’m sure we will develop better ways to get what we want, it’s just a matter of time.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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30 December 2012 16:21
 
GAD - 30 December 2012 02:43 PM
Hannah2 - 30 December 2012 12:40 PM

Well, I can see doing selection to avoid major defects (like spina bifida) with in vitro fertilization someday.  But getting pregnant and having abortions is a crummy (and difficult!) way to do selection.  With in vitro, we’re just talking about a few cells, and there is much less hue and cry.

You know we have tens of thousands of genes, and they have complex regulatory interactions, not simple expression.  I think we’re a very long way from custom children.  And the worry would be, if you chose for one gene over another, what about the other, less obvious effects of that gene?  And what about all the other genes not selected?

I’m sure we will develop better ways to get what we want, it’s just a matter of time.

Another stumbling block to creating designer kids is that it’s morally questionable to do “experiments.”  There are lots of science fiction movies that feature disturbing human mutants and throw-aways, but we’re far from condoning that sort of experimentation, at least at the present.