The Compound Eye – Gene Editing, Eugenics and Bird Watching

Genome Edited Organisms: Regulatory Framework and Guidelines for Risk Assessment

The Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) has released draft guidelines on genome edited organisms: regulatory framework for risk assessment. Public consultation is open till Sunday 23rd February, 2020.

The guidelines categorise genetically edited organisms (plants, animals and humans) based on extent of genetic change, extent of change in phenotype, familiarity of genetic change (for example, does the newly conferred trait already exist in the species) and chances of off-target effects. Regulatory pathways have been defined based on the category of the Genetically edited organism and whether the organism is a plant, animal or human. (Read more)

The Ethics of Eugenics 

Andrew Sabisky, an advisor at Downing Street, resigned earlier this week, following criticism of alleged past remarks on pregnancies, eugenics and race.

What he has been alleged of saying? Below is a list of supposable quotes attributed to him:

“One way to get around the problems of unplanned pregnancies creating a permanent underclass would be to legally enforce universal uptake of long-term contraception at the onset of puberty”

“Black Americans had a lower average IQ than white Americans”

The benefits of a purported cognitive enhancer, which can prove fatal, are “probably worth a dead kid once a year”.

“I am always straight up in saying that women’s sport is more comparable to the Paralympics than it is to men’s.” (Read more)

State of India’s Birds: 

The State of India’s Birds report was released at the 13th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 13).

The report is a result of collaboration between 10 research and conservation organisations, including the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Bombay Natural History Society, Wildlife Institute of India, World Wide Fund for Nature India, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and Wetlands International South Asia, National Center for Biological Sciences among others.

The report has been created using over 10 million observations uploaded to the eBird platform by more than 15,500 birdwatchers to evaluate the distribution range size of 867 Indian birds, and their trends in abundance in both the long term (over 25+ years) and currently (past 5 years). (Read more)

Meanwhile, Things Just Got Weird:

Parents, grandparents to blame for half of child poisonings: Obviously not intentionally. The study across select hospitals in the US found that carelessness by adults in leaving their own pills within children’s reach resulted in the child consuming harmful medicines. The message Keep Out of Children’s Reach is there for a purpose!

Sci-Fi doesn’t make you stupid, only bad sci-fi does: The authors of this study revisited their original work that determined that sci-fi readers were bad at comprehension. Turns out comprehension is not based on genre, but how well the text is written. I guess reading the feedback they got on the original study did make the authors smarter!

When a woman delivers twins, one breast will produce one type of milk and the other will produce other type of milk: Not a study. No Evidence. This is my new sub-segment: “He Said It” – Jaggi Vasudev spoke about this at a meeting.

There is a whole new trend here: Say something first and then disprove it yourself. Keep the funding cycle going!