Sunday, October 04, 2020

Genomic Prediction and Embryo Selection (video panel discussion)


This is a recent panel discussion on genomic prediction, and applications in IVF and health systems (e.g., early screening of high risk individuals for breast cancer, heart disease). 

Jamie Metzl and Simon Fishel are my co-panelists. Metzl is the author of the best seller Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity. Fishel was part of the team that produced the first IVF baby in 1978, and has been a leader in IVF research ever since. 

Today millions of babies are produced through IVF. In most developed countries roughly 3-5 percent of all births are through IVF, and in Denmark the fraction is about 10 percent! But when the technology was first introduced with the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the pioneering scientists had to overcome significant resistance. There may be an alternate universe in which IVF was not allowed to develop, and those millions of children were never born.
Wikipedia: ...During these controversial early years of IVF, Fishel and his colleagues received extensive opposition from critics both outside of and within the medical and scientific communities, including a civil writ for murder.[16] Fishel has since stated that "the whole establishment was outraged" by their early work and that people thought that he was "potentially a mad scientist".[17]
I predict that within 5 years the use of polygenic risk scores will become common in some health systems and in IVF. Reasonable people will wonder why the technology was ever controversial at all, just as in the case of IVF.

Previous discussion: Sibling Validation of Polygenic Risk Scores and Complex Trait Prediction (Nature Scientific Reports)

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