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One plus one you equals three me. Done you. Oh I wonder when it was me. Me being in it. You know I was going out you know on the Internet you know one thing I was about to go. Not. That I know. That I. Won when I won an Emmy. It is estimated that in 16:50 there were four hundred and seventy billion people in the world. It took two centuries for that figure to double. It took only one century to double again. Today there are well over three and a half billion of us sharing this planet. Demographers tell us that by the year 2000 the world population will swell to almost seven billion. This series of programs is about this problem
about what happens because one plus one equals three. We live during the dawn of a revolution. One of the quietest most important revolutions in the history of my. Revolution in the world of biology and medicine. Tuesday during the second 100 summon a Dr. H Goban Khurana of the University of Wisconsin's Institute for enzyme research spoke to a small gathering of fellow scientists on the Madison campus for the purpose of the announcement that he and a team of fellow researchers had made a simple gene and easily obtained chemicals finding the age of the synthetic test tube Gene as dong sex life. All the time that they think was going to be released from the
5 0 1 7 1. OK so you want to find this. We started the company VentureBeat spread and have yet to fight back. So this was sort of like a this. Will end up with a friend. We complement the best. And therefore the same ones are saying that this was something he said were going to suffer from this and this and really hear this and here we are making the assumption that this sequence is going to get back the very much we get. We are learning simple example of this in that all my litigations occurred after the as I said before the Marias
Hester's the heat by using of course standard base. The evidence for this in some respects in very strong cases is not so strong but perhaps not everybody. Even less actually. Some people but nevertheless I think it would be accepted that the base might be good for a transcription of a nascent trust which is a sign that we are making the assumption that there is no war we are saying that for example in this Nation of Islam. So that's the kind of assumption. The guy who also originates from my money. I would like to get a sampling of the kind.
Nancy could you tell us exactly what Dr. Khurana has done here at the university. Well I think maybe we should explain what a gene is first. A gene is a bit of genetic material which codes for all of the characteristics we which we have in the body for that matter which all living organisms plant or animal have for instance a code for the color of our use our intelligence our height the clever skin and even personal and emotional characteristics. In the case of DR KERRYN as Gene what he has done is he has synthesised chemically from scratch as it were a simple gene from the yeast cell. This is a common household piece which codes or contains the
information from the production of another molecule called a transferring this transfer and a is a similar kind of molecule which acts as a bit of machinery in the synthesis of proteins within the cell. I guess we should emphasize that it acts sort of as a specific bit of machinery. Will other components of the salary car are also required for this protein synthesis. So what Dr. Khurana is sort of like the housewife who I hate to be baked this is the symbol but what Dr Grabow has done isn't taken all as an analogy. The materials to bake a cake and has made a cake that nobody else has ever made before. Yes I think that's a really good analogy. He is taking the four basic building blocks which are found in a gene. These are commercially available. He started with very simple materials.
These are the ones that are commonly regarded represented by A.G. T and C. these four building blocks are then arranged in specific order for East alanine gene and this will in turn code for the transfer and it is what Dr. Khurana has made living. Could you say that he's made life in a test. Or the layman's point of view this is a very touchy point. I say that this is sort of a borderline question. My first impulse of course is a as a biologist to recoil and say Well no but if we regard virus as living the viruses is a series of genes. Then in a sense we might also extend this to it to a single gene but I think this is just a push. Well what you're saying here then is that it depends it's it's an in-between case.
It's not like Test tube babies or anything like that right. There's been a lot of this in the newspapers and. This brings up the idea of little paramecium or little one celled animals at least running around in the test tube. And this is just completely false. We've never been able to synthesize anything like this and it's who knows if we ever would be. Sally is an extremely complicated organism made of many different components and June is just one of these many in fact a chromosome itself is made up of many many genes in the chromosome itself is only part of a cell. Miss Nancy Thorne a cell biologist and science and technical writer for the universe to Wisconsin discuss Dr. Khurana discovery however limited our current abilities to the development of synthetic genes. The prospect of genetic engineering should be
considered in all its implications. Dr. James B Kitzmiller a professor of zoology at the University of Illinois in about a specializes in genetics. Here are some of his observations on the future of genetics. We are on the verge of being able to control a man's heredity and his evolution. And of course it goes without saying that. Such a possibility is an awesome one because all one has to do is to ask the question Who makes the decision as to what kinds of genes are going to be put into the human race. And you're talking about DNA. Why don't you explain that for us. Well this is just a shorthand way of saying that molecular genetics has come so far these days that we know very much about the chemistry of life itself. DNA is a is a shortened abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid which is the material that is the actual hereditary material in the gene. And this is just a short way of saying that DNA and RNA and protein synthesis and all of the other advances in
genetics have been made within the last 10 or 12 years put us to the point that we're actually able to neural a great deal about the chemistry of life itself at the moment. I think you're familiar with ideas Huxley in phrasing it well how far away from that are we really thank you. Where can we have to do we got. We can't produce test tube babies right now. Well all depends on what your definition is. I think suicide is the the idea of test tube babies in quotation marks as a Sunday supplement sort of thing and we wouldn't talk about that but if you're talking about creation of life in the laboratory it depends upon your definition of life. If you define life as in the way that most geneticists would define it as a soft replicating system that's capable of mutation and reproduction. Well that's been done on this campus already and brought up Dr Spiegel Dr Spiegelman's work of course.
And it's also been done in several other places Dr. Kornberg with California or in California Stanford. So that depending on what your definition is it's already been done. Now you ask how far it is away I don't know. It's in the past it isn't in the future. Now when you get to the point of the sort of thing that Huxley was talking about. Having a nice little germ Marium with some growing ovaries in tissue culture and introducing sperm. I think we're a long way from that for several reasons I think. First of all I don't think most people are going to hold still for that kind of thing. And secondly I think the political and moral and philosophical implications involved are just too much for us to handle at the present time we can't handle simple problems let alone something like that. However I suppose that you know that in many places in the world not perhaps not many but in a number of places in the world. Artificial insemination.
From knowing or unknown male donors is already practiced that women can be inseminated artificially from sperm that has been put into a sperm bank by males with whom we have had no contact at all. And this sort of thing is being done right now. Very basically knowing you know the chemistry of DNA and RNA and just exactly how they work in the cell and what the chemical structures are. We at least have the possibility of what in the trade jargon we call genes on the shelf. Which means that if we know just a little bit more about as we're not at the stage of doing this right now. But if we know just a little bit more about it and can develop the technology to go along with it then we're going to be able to change the genetic composition of individuals. Hopefully we could cure genetic diseases such things as
as color blindness or diabetes or I'll cop to Noria or baldness. These are the kinds of things that we can perhaps cure genetically. Now we're not very far away from that. I wouldn't say that you should hold your breath to get a genetic cure for baldness next week. But in terms of human evolution it's it's not very far away. So we're asking actually going to be able to make some sort of decision to. You eliminate these weaknesses and by a lot in individuals by genetic structure I think that's as generalizing a little bit too far. I think that we're we can eliminate the weaknesses now by selective breeding if we care to do that. But what we're talking about is the possibility of change of a genetic system that is developed serious. For example if a if a person has phenol ketonuria which is a particular kind of disease that is an aberration which is connected
with kidney malfunction and it's a failure of genetic change which results in the figure and one of the steps of final alanine metabolism filing is one of the essential amino acids are necessary for all protein synthesis. And you probably know about this. Babies are given a routine test in the hospital now and if the diaper turns green or blue they have an Akita Maria. Well. These people must restrict their intake of final I mean all their life. Well now theoretically if we were able to mutate the gene or substitute genes by a shot or by ingestion or something else that would fit into the place in the DNA chain in which this final ketonuria gene is operating. Then we might be able to change a person's heredity. Now again don't hold your breath this is this is not in the immediate future. But these are the kinds of things that are possible. Now the reason that that we're still very very concerned about this is that
my generation spent four five years of our life fighting because people had made those decisions if they knew what heredity was and what the master race was and who was going to rule the world and things of this sort. So we're very very cautious about making decisions of this sort. It's scares me frankly. Obviously if you and I made the decisions they'd be right ones. I don't know but you might not agree. The future developments describe an after Kitzmiller do more than bring hope to people who suffer from such diseases diabetes. They force all of us to take a final look at what we believe. Traditionally the field of human heredity was considered to be a matter that man should not touch.
For those who did venture into such things were usually considered evil a threat to man and God. How we will deal with such questions is morally and practically it will be shown to a certain extent by our handling of birth control and health care. Despite moral objections by some groups research and use of birth control measures continues at a rapidly growing pace. Dr. Alan Guttmacher president of Planned Parenthood world population had these comments on future developments of birth control measures. Well I think it's very likely that we'll come up with a once a month pill that will be safe and free of side effect say brutally current pill that is would postpone serious illness this problem we've taken 20 through 24 of the cycle. And if the woman is pregnant. Brain You see we're not implant or we may develop the pill but it can be taken of the woman as
two or three days over a period and simply goes to the medicine closet and takes out the proper pill. I think this is very likely. I think the next five years will see this. I also think that we're going to get some pill method for the male. So far we really don't have it in clear focus but I think research is mounting in this whole field and I think this will come then for the developing nations where medicine is more primitive where doctors are in short supply where they just did Lage difficult to get medicines around to people. I think we're probably get an injection which can be taken every three to six months which probably will prevent pregnancy. I think that we're really in the horse and buggy day of contraception the ER 970
I think by 1980 will be in the jet age. Before we start this can I have you were going to write each other and the title that's just out spoken of course is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and DR JOHN HERRON clinical associate professor of pediatrics and. Dr. Robert C. stept associate clinical professor of stations in the council. Dr. Robert Blumstein assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. John Keller associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at what is being done as far as a miry research. Or any new innovation is in the 70s that we can look forward to as far as birth control birth control devices and so forth. Thank you both. Well most of the work that's been done I think unfortunately is in the area
of hormonal or prevention of either of elation or spread of Genesis and a medical approach kind of trying to improve upon what we already have with the pill the male form of the pill and cetera. I think that the real one real solution for a large segment of the population. Lies in an area that isn't yet unscratched and that has to do with reversible. Kinds of sterilization. I think that most women most families who were the parents are in their 30s and the children are two or three or four. Honestly feel they definitely don't want any more children and are desirous of sterilization but there is some reservation of any procedure that is irreversible. I think that. A surgical er er simple surgical procedure which could be easily undone should circumstances dictate
the desire for another child would gain wide acceptance and would be highly successful I think that a simple method of booting there covering the fallopian tubes instead of tying them might might accomplish that. This could be done through a vegetal incision without without injuring the belly through or through what we call a core part of me. We do tubal ligation through such an incision. Patients go home the next day. I think that it might be done through the leper scope we do the leg ations where we cut and burn the fallopian tubes with an instrument that is much like much like an icepick if you like. It goes through the abdominal wall and again the patients go home the next day but for a large segment of the population people who who are again married have two or three kids are quite certain they don't want any more. There is some shadow of doubt as to you know what if a tragedy of fire an accident were to happen and they would want another child
and I think that a reversible procedure would would really add to our image area and would literally take care of the segment of the population it would do nothing for the teenager would you nothing for the young couple that wants the space their children but I think you would do it would be a satisfactory solution to the couple that feels they have finished their family. Can anyone else. We too common this woman in this area want only I'd like to comment there is that this is going to involve to anesthetics. And I think when you're going back to anesthetics you're certainly approaching or surpassing the dangers of appeal that as we know now why too in a stage where you're going to do it and you're going to undo it. Oh you mean for those who go but I but I. But all of this there are extremely few I'm not never there but you might be talking about a tenth of one percent that would do whatever wanted I'm done but there's a psychological advantage to knowing that it can't be undone. But I would also argue that it can be done under a set of walk or low spinal anaesthesia that we have 10000
anesthetics in our delivery room here at the university. Ten thousand settlers walk anesthetics having been done in this university without a serious complication. If 10000 women on the pill without a death would be nothing. I'm not opposed to tubal ligation I think it's a very wonderful procedure and we do have a vast ligation the male can be done with a and it's reversed when are 90 percent of the cases. Michael one of. The one of the most fascinating things that I can pursue in the future is the problem. Genetic control and genetic counseling. Many people who have in their pedigree abnormalities for instance and job to birth development who marry and run an increased risk of genetic abnormalities in their stead of a breeding these people we have in the future if we can project this into the 21st century. Well yes perhaps in the future of controlling this so the genetic abnormalities will not be produced and I think this is an area that in the next 15 or 20 years will be hearing a group
deal more about even the right this moment is not practical. It means when you go looking you too much specific going up. Oh comments like the tribulation happened the lack of fertilization right. What is I mean really. How could you do with breeding with her to set up with animals. Well actually we you know we've learned a great deal about our infertility work up from the veterinarians at University of Wisconsin especially and they took the lead in showing us how they were checkride relation to the tests it should be done certain hormonal aspects of it and we picked it up from them and I think this is a marvelous thing working conjunction with the people of this sort. And they can probably take the lead much better than we in genetic manipulation so we can avoid some of the genetic catastrophes which are produced occasionally. I think there's no question I think by most analysis that they feel that that you are at the possibilities on limited constants I think they they all pretty well agree that by the end of the century that we can produce any sect you want in women
just as certain as you are like you. This is certainly well within the realm of possibility whether from a moral and physiological standpoint that's going to be right now which is a fascinating thought. Yes. Can we have something that is going to say it is talking the same line of genetics I think it's worth mentioning that we have available to us right now the ability to make a diagnosis of early pregnancy of many of the genetic abnormalities which were not done four years ago with the amniotic fluid can be studied in homes on the ground and so forth various enzymes tested for so that if there is a danger for example of hemophilia your mongoloid child these things can be picked up early in pregnancy and if so desired the pregnancy terminated and this is just an extension in the genetic area test taking a little closer to your subject I think there's none of us doubt that and in the future that all of our methods of birth control are going to be like a 44 crown molding.
Right now he said there is hardly room is better. They bring a lot of people who want research being done on vaccinations to prevent pregnancy there's a lot that is being done on interfering with the you know. The compatibility between the sperm is through with mucus and all of this is certainly going to be you know probably much safer than it was for oil or anything else for using physicians from the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. Discuss the developments they foresee in the area birth control the physicians participating in the discussion where doctors jailed ASCO John P. Herrick. Robert C. Steptoe Robert W. Blum Stein and John M. Keller. What will all this mean to our children to our grandchildren. It will mean first of all that they will have a better opportunity to live long healthy lives. No small blessing if we remember the health problems that we our parents and grandparents faced.
But in addition our children will have to deal with moral problems we've never yet considered. Should we attempt to select what genes we will give our children. Should we attempt to raise test tube babies. And if so what will this mean in terms of birth certificates inheritance laws wills and other practical matters. And what about our concepts of the meaning of life death birth. Whether we like it or not our children will face these issues. They will have to make the moral and ethical decisions that will govern the brave new world of medicine. You have been listening to one plus one equals three four five. A series of programs about the problems we face because of our growing population. Your
host for this program has been Dennis Corrigan special music performed by Ria Truscott engineering by Edna Haney. Meet with like many many eat like any meat. And there is little to eat. We will meet. One plus one equals three four five was produced and directed by Luis Geissler wy allowing the radio service of the University of Illinois in Urbana. This is the national educational radio network.
One plus one equals three
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A Brave New World
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “One plus one equals three; 9; A Brave New World,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
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APA: One plus one equals three; 9; A Brave New World. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from