Ancestors and Relatives

15 November 2016

Genealogy, Identity and Community

Ancestors & Relatives by Eviatar Zerubavel

Chapter 1 – the Genealogical Imagination

p6
…given the long history of human migrations, we often feel nostalgic about the long-lost time “when place, identity, culture and ancestry coincided.” “Standing on the land that ancestors knew” can thus

produc[e] a sense of genealogical connection that is sometimes explained … as an inexpressible sense of spiritual affinity, and often experienced bodily in “shivers down the spine” and “goose-bumps”… [It] is often imagined as a shared physical experience that links ancestors to their descendants across time

Read the rest of this entry »


CRISPR – human trials to begin

23 July 2016

I don’t know about you, but I’m properly terrified.

the TED talk on CRISPR was welcomed with muted applause, I expect due to the power of this new technology, and what we have, historically, done with greatly powerful technologies (see: plutonium). It seems rather quick to jump to human trials, considering how little we know about the technology, and its potential to spread out of our control.

From the Guardian

Crispr: Chinese scientists to pioneer gene-editing trial on humans

A team of Chinese scientists will be the first in the world to apply the revolutionary gene-editing technique known as Crispr on human subjects.

Led by Lu You, an oncologist at Sichuan University’s West China hospital in Chengdu, China, the team plan to start testing cells modified with Crispr on patients with lung cancer in August, according to the journal Nature.

Crispr is a game-changer in bioscience; a groundbreaking technique which can find, cut out and replace specific parts of DNA using a specially programmed enzyme named Cas9. Its ramifications are next to endless, from changing the color of mouse fur to designing malaria-free mosquitoes and pest-resistant crops to correcting a wide swath of genetic diseases like sickle-cell anaemia in humans.

Read the rest of this entry »