Episode 43

Gene Editing

Olivier Belli

May 25, 2021 | Science

In this episode, Switzerland-based scientist Olivier Belli joins me to talk about genetics and gene editing. We talk about the human genome, CRISPR technology, and more!

Listen on Spotify
"Sickle cell disease is a disease of hemoglobin. If you have only one  mutated copy of the gene, it doesn't cause any adverse effect.  But, it protects you against malaria! Malaria is caused by a parasite that gets into your red blood cells. So, one of these mutations prevents the parasite from getting into your cells.  But, if you have two mutated copies of this gene, then it makes you sick." - Olivier Belli, PhD Student in Molecular Biology

About This Episode

PhD Student Olivier Belli joins me from Switzerland to talk about genetics and gene editing. We talk about the human genome, epigenetics, and CRISPR technology!

Follow Olivier on Twitter: https://twitter.com/olivier_belli

Topics and Timestamps

  • (0:00:35) A little background. 
  • (0:01:32) What is Molecular Biology?
  • (0:02:20) Gene editing and the academic path. 
  • (0:03:30) The Human Genome: Where we are. 
  • (0:04:33) The Human Genome: What is it?
  • (0:05:36) Epigenetics.
  • (0:08:10) Genetics: A young field.
  • (0:09:00) Classical genetics of the past vs the present approach.
  • (0:10:23) 23 and me: Genetics and our environment.
  • (0:13:11) The evolution of essential genes and their effects.
  • (0:14:59) Sickle cell disease and genetics.
  • (0:19:20) Correcting a mutation: Hemoglobin and genetics.
  • (0:20:30) What is CRISPR?
  • (0:23:17) CRISPR: Not a scary thing, just an easier one.
  • (0:25:05) The side effects of genetic modification: A work in progress. 
  • (0:26:00) Genetic Modification: A centuries old practice in agriculture.
  • (0:28:16) Cloning. 
  • (0:29:20) CRISPR and DNA breaks.
  • (0:31:46) Technology development in CRISPR: The study of disease mechanisms. 
  • (0:33:43) The study and work with the SARS-CoV-2 Virus.
  • (0:34:35) How viruses can infect and hijack our cells.
  • (0:36:35) The next five years: What’s coming next?
  • (0:38:50) Ethical boundaries: Where do you draw the line?
  • (0:40:00) Embryo editing and eugenics: A Pandora’s box.
  • (0:41:20) Science communication: Why it’s so important.
  • (0:44:10) Politicizing science: Taking a stand in the public debate.
  • (0:45:30) Academics vs non-academics: The disconnect and how to solve it. 
  • (0:48:06) Music, Monoatomic God and playing the bass. 
  • (0:49:36) Science fiction and CRISPR.
  • (0:50:57) Alien DNA.
  • (0:52:13) Biology: Still so much to discover.
  • (0:53:32) Future plans.

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