The future of (human) cloning: dangerous or a blessing?

Hello everyone,

Another week has passed, so it’s time for a new blog!
Today I want to cover something different than fluorescence. Early this morning I had to do some labwork regarding cloning experiments (actually I have to do this kind of labwork more or less everyday) and it got me thinking. I had to clone (technical definition: a cell, cell product, or organism that is genetically identical to the unit or individual from which it was derived or a population of identical units, cells, or individuals that derive from the same ancestral line) some DNA of my fluorescent proteins in bacteria (E. Coli) and I started wondering off in a more phylosophical way. What would happen if people would actually be allowed to be cloned? or maybe just parts of the human body? For example wouldn’t it be great to replace damaged organs or tissues by genetically exactly the same  organs and tissues in your body or even a little bit modified so this certain medical issue won’t be a problem anymore or should we stay away from playing god in the first place? The big question, if allowed: where does it end? Who draws the line and why there? Will we create “super” humans after a while? what about the need of diversity? A quick search on google ended up most of the times in an article or debate about the ethics regarding this topic (f.e.: http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/could-humans-be-cloned-130520.htm)  

I’d like to ask your opinion about this matter in a more open blog this week. Maybe we can have a ‘respectful’ discussion regarding this topic gaining a few insights from one another, so please don’t hesitate to write your thoughts about this!

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The human body as a coloring book for surgery?

Hello everyone!

This week, I had a bit of trouble finding anything suitable to post as I lacked a little inspiration, however then it hit me, TED talks!
TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is an annual conference consisting of various speakers which bring up various topics and shed an (interesting: I’ll let you decide) light/opinion regarding this topic.
So I browsed youtube and typed in “Ted talks and Fluorescence” .I got the following result: 

Roughly summarized this video explains us how surgeons can you use fluorescence to mark or “color” our body so they can enhance their vision for incisions in their surgeries.

While medicine students have a long studying career ahead of them with all sorts of graphical textbooks preparing them to practice medicine and perform surgeries. The textbooks (usually illustrated with colored drawings as the figure of a heart below demonstrates) still differ (alot) from the real human body where almost all tissues look like a color pallete of red. Relations_of_the_aorta,_trachea,_esophagus_and_other_heart_structures

The woman in the video above discusses that even veteran surgeons sometimes have problems distinguishing cancer tissue from “healthy” tissue while incizing. This can create problems as biopsies (tissue taken from the human body for further examination) from surrounding tissue have to be performed to be certain all the cancerous tissue has been removed. This is time consuming and can cause extra surgeries if not everything was removed in the first place.
Wouldn’t it be better if you could somehow make the cancerous tissue visible and separable from all the other tissue? Well this woman and her team have found a solution to this problem. They created tissuemarkers based on fluorescence to color specific tissues in our body. Depending on the tissuemarker’s composition they will “stick” to specific tissue (mostly cancerous tissue) so surgeons can “easily” remove this tissue. They can even color other tissue and organs such as nerves with an other fluorescent color to prevent wrong incisions basically creating a color book of your body! How cool is that?

However, while I think this technique of surgery is quite interesting to say the least, she doesn’t mention anything about disadvantages or side effects.
Since the TED talk dates back from 2011 and this video is the first thing I have ever seen from this technique myself, I wonder why this hasn’t broken through yet in our medicine world and if the side effects still have too much impact to put this fluorescence coloring of the human body to work.

Any thoughts about this blog? Feel free to comment!

See you guys, next week!