Monthly Archives: March 2014

Coming Soon – Mary Roach!

Mary-Roach-and-GulpOn the next Before You Leap, we’ll speak with the amazing, hilarious best-selling author Mary Roach. In Stiff, she wrote about the body after death. In Bonk, she took on the science of sex. We’ll talk about her latest book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, which is coming out in paperback on April 1. Follow us on twitter and tweet any questions you have for Mary!

Can You Pass the (Deoxyribonucleic) Acid Test?

kiraPFor just $99, genetic test company 23andme offered to test your DNA for everything from heart disease risk to your chance of going bald. Kira Peikoff wondered what DNA testing from 23andme and two other companies would tell her—and the results were surprising. We’ll also talk to geneticist Dr. David Ng. His story in McSweeny’s, “Congratulations, Your Ineffectual Genetic Test Results Have Arrived” pokes fun at the “direct-to-consumer” genetic testing industry. Then Dr. Stuart Newman fills us in on epigenetics, evolutionary developmental biology, and why the Lamarck  versus Darwin debate may be old news. Finally, advocate Pete Shanks on the “promise” of GMO humans and the threat of techno-eugenics.

Check out this episode.

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Kira Peikoff is an author and Masters student in bioethics at Columbia University. Her New York Times article in December exposed the fallacies of direct-to-consumer genetic testing (see more resources on genetic test companies below). Check out her debut novel Living Proof (and look for her upcoming 2nd novel in the fall) on her website.

David Ng is a geneticist, science educator, and the Director of the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory (AMBL) at The University of British Columbia. His piece, “Congratulations! Your Ineffectual Genetic Test Results Have Arrived!” is on McSweeny’s, and you can see much more of his writing and other work on his Tumblr ThisisHowITalkScience (also be sure to see his paper on “supergenes” in the Incredible Hulk).

Stuart Newman is a Professor of Cell Biology and Anatomy and the New York Medical College, and was a founding member of the Council for Responsible Genetics. You can find many of his papers on genetics and society on his website.

Pete Shanks is the author of Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics and the Very Perplexed. Pete also writes regularly for Biopolitical Times, the blog of the Center for Genetics and Society.

More resources and links on the archives page.

Can You Pass the (Deoxyribonucleaic) Acid Test?

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Some say our genes are our destiny. But what if our biological inheritance is more than just genes? Hear what this means for genetic testing, and our understanding of the basic concepts of genetics, disease and health.

Check out this episode!

Episode 9 Promo – DNA Testing

acid_test.jpgSome say our genes are our destiny. But what if our biological inheritance is more than just genes? What does this mean for genetic testing, and our understanding of the basic concepts of genetics, disease and health?

We talk to Kira Peikoff – she had her DNA analyzed by three companies that offer direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and she got back three very different results. Then Dr. David Ng talks about “Genetic Tests for Realz,” and we talk to Dr. Stuart Newman about Darwin, Lamarck, and the strange new science of epigenetics and evolutionary developmental biology. Finally, activist and author Pete Shanks fills us in on the feud between the Food and Drug Administration and genetic testing company 23andme.

Listen to a promo now!