The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 210: Robin CookYou can find us online at www.thegbbpodcast.com! You can listen on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher, and YouTube; you can follow the RSS feed; or you can listen right here!
We’re gettin’ nerdy this week, people! We’re donning our lab coats and venturing into a scientific conversation we have no business discussing: CRISPR/Cas9. Which is why we brought in the brain trust—i.e., Kishore Hari, science guru over at Tested.com and host of the Inquiring Minds podcast. We start off with a bit of context and discuss what CRISPR/Cas9 actually is. What’s the basic science behind the technology and process, how does it work, what’s its promise, and what are its dangers? We also touch on recent, very real-world events in which Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced that he had used the technology to genetically modify a pair of twin girls. We then talk to author Robin Cook, whose newest novel, Pandemic, is a thriller about the unintended side effects caused by genetic engineering and the CRISPR technology. Throughout his career, Cook has had an uncanny ability to be incredibly timely with his novels. Pandemic is no different. We talk to Cook about how the black market in human organs (a theme in Pandemic) has changed in the 40 years since he wrote Coma, why it wasn’t much of a surprise that someone used CRISPR/Cas9 to genetically modify humans, where we go from here, the continuing ignorance about vaccines, and how medicine and public health will change over the next generation.