On Tuesday November 27, 2018, twenty students from the AP Biology classes and Science Club at Ambridge Area High School attended a local genetics conference at North Allegheny Senior High School with Mr. Eric Harbison, AP Biology Teacher and Science Club Sponsor.
The Genetics Update Conference is held yearly by Sam Rhine. Sam Rhine is a medical geneticist and received his education from Indiana University in Indiana, as well as spending some time at Harvard Medical School. His conferences provide updates on the newest discoveries in genetics and medicine. Some highlights include the discovery of DNA segments that are correlated to common diseases and traits, the ability to use pig organs for transplants into humans to eliminate the waiting list predicament, and the ability to use a medical process known as CRISPR to perform genome editing to remove detrimental mutations from a person’s DNA. With the discovery of the DNA segments that are common in everyday diseases and traits, CRISPR can be used to edit those sequences with the hopes of one day curing ailments such as Autism, Schizophrenia, Type 2 Diabetes, and many more.
The biggest discovery Mr. Rhine shared with our students is that scientists have successfully used CRISPR to remove a harmful mutation from a developing embryo. This success was confirmed and published, as the embryo developed into a perfectly healthy baby that was born ONE DAY before our students attended the conference. It certainly is an exciting time in the world of Science!