09 - From the "ivory tower" of academia to the...

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MCB 140 02-11-08 1 From the “ivory tower” of academia to the “real world”
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MCB 140 02-11-08 2 A fact, and a problem Fact: what we do is a function of what we know (and many other things, of course). Problem: our knowledge comes in shades of gray, but actions tend to be black-and- white.
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MCB 140 02-11-08 3 Cancelled health insurance? “Kevin McCormick called today. There’s another lawsuit from the Weller family. This time it’s the son of the deceased, Tom Weller. … Apparently, his health insurance got cancelled.” “Because?” “His father has the BNB71 gene for heart disease.” © 2006 Michael Crichton
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MCB 140 02-11-08 4 “Gene Variant Is Linked to Common Type of Stroke” NYT 1/9/07 Japanese researchers have identified a gene variant that appears to predispose a person to strokes, but it seems more prevalent in Asians than in people of European or African descent. In a paper to be published next month in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers write that the presence of the variant raised the risk of cerebral infarction, the most common type of stroke, by 40 percent. Cerebral infarction occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is obstructed, resulting in death or serious damage to brain cells. The obstruction can be caused by a blood clot, a buildup of fatty deposits in blood vessels or cancerous cells. The researchers studied 1,112 Japanese and found that the variant of the gene PRKCH turned up more often in people who had had strokes. The variant also appeared to be linked to an enzyme, rendering it more active.
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MCB 140 02-11-08 5 People with insufficient education in genetics AND statistics and not enough time to look at the primary data 1. Policymakers. 1. Health insurance company officials. 1. Health care providers (i.e., physicians). 1. Journalists who write about science and medicine for major newspapers. 1. The patients themselves. Policy: Data:
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MCB 140 02-11-08 6 A tragic example of the society-genetics interface “Those who disregard the past are bound to repeat it” George Santayana
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MCB 140 02-11-08 7 Approximately 1.4 billion people, 25% of the world’s population, receive insufficient food to meet daily requirements. Even with the heavy use of various pesticides, approximately 50% of the world’s food crops are destroyed in the field or in storage. Levetin and McMahon Plants and Society
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MCB 140 02-11-08 8 After the revolution of 1917, agriculture in Russia collapsed. Formerly one of the world’s greatest agricultural nations became a shadow of a shadow of its former self. Something needed to be done. Stalin decided that the way to go was nationalize agriculture. In 1930, some 10 million land- owning peasants were killed, and their land was transferred to the state. Agricultural production levels
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course MCB 140 taught by Professor Urnov during the Spring '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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09 - From the "ivory tower" of academia to the...

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