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Like almost everyone, I was stunned by the birth announcement of genetically modified twins, Lulu and Nana. A Tweet pointed me to the MIT Technology Review scoop 1 that, along with a subsequent Associated Press article confirming the births, 2 revealed something shocking: Alas, it quickly became clear this was not the case. The first direct comments from Dr. He were released in an unusual way: As such, his goal was not to correct a disease-causing variant to save a life. Instead, it was to destroy a normal gene using the simplest editing strategy, hoping to improve upon an otherwise healthy embryo.
Emily stared, one eyebrow raised. She forced herself not to ring his number. She has never been the sort of wife who behaves like a stalker, but there was something about this complete silence that chilled her.
She imagined him stuck on the M25, working his way through his papers in the back of his car. Eight twenty-one. She would call the Frisks at half past.
Eight thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven. The Times had a piece on the Islamic State by Will Stanhope but the words of her old college contemporary washed over her. It might as well be a story about dinosaur astronauts, read to Finn, to the extent to which it engaged her. Every part of her was attuned to one thing. And there it is. The sound of his key in the door. A scrape and then a hiss as the heavy oak eases open.
The sound of his footsteps: Then the thud of his red box being put down, the weight of responsibility abandoned for a while—as glorious a sound, on a Friday night, as the slosh of dry white wine being poured from a bottle.
The jangle of keys on the hall table. And then silence again. She pauses then slips her arms around his waist—his honed waist that deepens to form a V, like the trunk of a sapling that burgeons outwards—but he reaches back and gently eases them away. We need to talk in private. He gives her another tight smile, and a note of impatience creeps into his voice, as if she is a disobliging child, or perhaps, a tardy civil servant.
He massages his forehead with firm, long fingers, and his green eyes close briefly, the lashes—disarmingly long—kissing his cheeks.
Then, his eyes flash open, and the look he gives her is the one Finn gives when he is trying to preempt a telling off and plead forgiveness. So sorry. The affair had been going on for five months, and he had broken it off a week ago, just after the party conference. You know that.
To reach out a tentative hand, or at least offer a smile. But he is rooted there: At first, she despises this show of sanctimony—a Blairite trope, the penitent politician—and then she softens as his shoulders shake, just the once, not with a sob but with a sigh. Perhaps this is what all husbands do? Sorrow surges, then anger.
Their marriage is different.
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Founded on love and trust and a sex life that she does her very best to maintain. She has made compromises in her life, and God knows, she took a huge leap of faith when they got back together. But the one certainty was that their relationship is solid. No half-sibling for Emily and Finn. No proof of a liaison. No need to share him in any other way. And then he looks up with a grimace. Her nails bite into her palm in sharp crescents, and she sees that her knuckles are ivory pearls thrusting through the red of her skin.
What could be worse than some other woman having his child, or perhaps choosing to abort his child? Other people knowing. The affair, a particularly juicy piece of gossip, dropped into the ear of a favored few in the Commons tea rooms until it becomes general knowledge. Who knows? His colleagues? The PM?
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What about Ellie? Perhaps she already knows and recognized her lie of a text. Sophie forces herself to breathe deeply.
They can deal with this; move beyond it. There is no crime in having a quick fling.
It can be brushed over, quickly forgotten, absorbed. The first direct comments from Dr.
He were released in an unusual way: As such, his goal was not to correct a disease-causing variant to save a life. Instead, it was to destroy a normal gene using the simplest editing strategy, hoping to improve upon an otherwise healthy embryo.
When I found out again through Twitter that Dr. He assessed the extent of editing using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, implanted those embryos into the mother named Grace , and monitored the pregnancy through birth.
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He then sequenced DNA from their placenta, umbilical cord, and cord blood to assess on- and off-target mutations. Moreover, Lulu has evidence of an off-target mutation in an intergenic region, and both babies appear to exhibit mosaicism in sequencing chromatograms as pointed out on Twitter by Gaetan Burgio [Australian National University]. Loops are not drawn to scale.
Sequences present in the variants that are not present in the unedited version of CCR5 are shown. Sequences in red are unique to the given variant. TM1 represents the first transmembrane helix.
He predicts this will inhibit HIV uptake, but that hasn't been demonstrated in any model system, let alone humans. His clear assumption is that any mutation that inactivates CCR5 will confer a protective benefit. Is that assumption reasonable?
By contrast, Nana's mutations retain four transmembrane spans, and Lulu's all seven. But are the new mutations safe? They are never-before-seen variants of unknown significance. It is not reasonable to rely upon the work of June et al. He could have followed the strategy of June et al. Instead, he appears to have relied on hunches and hopes.
As a result, Lulu and Nana—living, human babies—are now the experiment. In decades past magazines and newspapers would print books, almost always popular fiction, in serial form breaking the book up into small segments.
#CRISPRbabies: Notes on a Scandal
DailyLit takes that model and applies it to email and RSS. You pick out a book, they send you a chunk every day, and you read and enjoy it with a small bit of advertising attached. They solve two dilemmas which this arrangement: DailyLit currently features a selection of around a thousand books.
Between the two they have thousands of novels, short stories, and poetry collections. Send the books to your Kindle for PC account, open the folder with your books, and dump them into Calibre.
Public domain and completely free books are not encrypted and you can easily use Calibre to convert them to other formats. Books which are not public domain but are temporarily free as a promotion are still encrypted and cannot be converted in Calibre.
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