All of Metacelsus's Comments + Replies

Yeah I probably fell victim to

Making a more simplified version is a good idea, and I'll probably do it after I'm done with the other posts.

Yeah, as someone without a ton of pre-existing biology knowledge, there was definitely a lot of words and terms you used that I had to look up. I think I still got value out of it, but I do think my understanding of stuff is still pretty shaky given that I don't seem to have a lot of the foundations this post requires.

Thanks for these tips, I can probably put them to good use! I'm curious though, what's so special about custom Japanese beds that you needed them quickly?

I was setting up a retreat venue, and they were pretty weird and special beds -- such that if they would've actually worked, it would've pivoted our strategy for setting up the space in a somewhat major way.

While I am happy that this worked out for you, I would caution others against trying to get into PhD programs on a last-minute basis after receiving the GRFP. I had a NSF GRFP fellowship (in "chemistry of life processes" not computer science) and this was my experience:

I was in a rather unusual but broadly similar situation, and ended up needing to enroll in a PhD program to avoid losing my GRFP while I did a 1-year Master's program in England through the Churchill scholarship. None of the PhD programs I wanted would let me do this, so what I ended up having to do is formally enroll in the PhD program at my undergrad school, and then transfer. I made the deadline by about 3 days and was very stressed out.

This is good advice. It is very helpful to 1) have a home school that will let you stick around as a backup and 2) have a sufficiently general research topic and flexibility to apply to make many schools be good fits.

Aw man, I was wondering about that Takeda trial since it was supposed to report results a few months ago. I didn't see it was canceled due to safety problems!

I wonder if those are due to off-target or on-target effects. The latter would be quite disappointing.

Unless you do it in Africa and can easily catch mosquitoes from the wild.

I mean, that's probably the case, since they asked whether they could spread them from their garage.

Building the DNA would be easy, the harder part would be setting up a mosquito breeding operation.

Unless you do it in Africa and can easily catch mosquitoes from the wild.

So in order to build a gene drive, you'd need to build the DNA construct (pretty easy in a garage), introduce it into mosquitoes (not easy at all in a garage), and then breed enough to release (I'm not sure how easy in a garage, but probably not very easy).

I guess this was inspired by my recent post:

As I mentioned in that post, there are good reasons to not unilaterally release gene drives, so please exercise some restraint. Also it would cost a lot more than $5000 to do it. (Maybe $50,000 on a shoestring budget.)

I didn't notice any mention of alternative to extinction type gene-drive solutions have been suggested in your investigation on the subject. Would it be that much more trouble to engineer a gene to attack malaria in the mosquito genome rather than one that sterilizes the female and leads to extinction? Seems like that would address some/most of the ecological impact fears if we just gave the mosquito antibodies to kill the virus than killing off the mosquitos which do seem to have a role in a broader ecological context.

Yes, definitely. Although we don't have any examples of this happening, since those species would have gone extinct, making them unable to be studied.

Yes, they are funding the Crisanti lab and others.

Yes, you can let them divide and then use the usual (destructive) sequencing.


And also yes, sequencing meiotic cousins of sperm (or polar bodies, in the case of eggs) is a promising concept. Unfortunately primary spermatocytes won't do meiosis if you isolate them; the environment of the seminiferous tubules is very important. So you would have to be able to track them within the tubules in an organ culture system.


Polar body biopsies for eggs are much more feasible (I have done them, although I haven't sequenced the polar bodies). Unfortunately the efficacy of selection is limited by the number of eggs.

Congrats, the NAO really has the potential for a huge positive impact and I'm glad you're devoting your talent to helping it succeed.