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Genomic Prediction’s Elizabeth Carr: “Scoring embryos”
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Elizabeth Carr, America’s first baby conceived by in-vitro fertilization and patient advocate at Genomic Prediction, to talk about the new era of pre-natal screening (5:45), the dawn of in-vitro fertilization (8:40), the technology’s acceptance (12:10), what Genomic Prediction does (13:40), scoring embryos (16:30), the slippery slope (19:20), selecting for smarts (24:15), the cost (25:00), and the future of conception (28:30). PLUS Dan Benjamin, bio economist at UCLA, comes on to talk about why he and others raised the alarm about polygenic scoring (30:20), drawing the line between prevention and enhancement (34:15), limits of the tech (37:15), what else we can select for (40:00), and unexpected consequences (42:00). DEC 3, 2021
This is an earlier podcast I did with Elizabeth and IVF physician Serena Chen (IRMS and Rutgers University Medical School).
First Baby Born from a Polygenically Screened Embryo (video panel)
Embryo Screening for Polygenic Disease Risk: Recent Advances and Ethical Considerations (Genes 2021 Special Issue)
It is a great honor to co-author a paper with Simon Fishel, the last surviving member of the team that produced the first IVF baby (Louise Brown) in 1978. His mentors and collaborators were Robert Edwards (Nobel Prize 2010) and Patrick Steptoe (passed before 2010). ...
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. 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".
I predict that within 5 years the use of polygenic risk scores will become common in some health systems (i.e., for adults) and in IVF. Reasonable people will wonder why the technology was ever controversial at all, just as in the case of IVF.