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FROM THIS EPISODE

Creating synthetic humans sounds like science fiction, but genetic science has advanced so fast that the possibility is becoming a fact. We talk with the geneticist who's leading the way and hear about ethical and religious objections.

Also, American diplomats break with President Obama. Later on the program, Russia's track and field team is banned from the Rio Olympics. 

Image: greyloch

Producers:
Paul von Zielbauer
Christine Detz
Gideon Brower

US Diplomats Break with Obama 6 MIN, 30 SEC

After meeting with Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince today, President Obama had no public comment. Meantime, the White House has received a critical memo from 51 mid-level employees of the State Department asking increased military action against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. Karen DeYoung, senior national security correspondent for the Washington Post, has the details.

Guests:
Karen DeYoung, Washington Post (@karendeyoung1)

The Quest for Synthetic Humans 33 MIN, 22 SEC

Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996, but no human being has ever been duplicated.  Now there's the possibility of creating a human from scratch. Genetic scientists have already mapped the human genome, opening the possibility of eliminating disease. A Harvard geneticist is raising money to manufacture a human genome with the potential of creating a synthetic person who has no parents. We talk with him and others — including fellow scientists — who raise ethical and religious objections that he's going too far too fast.

Guests:
George Church, Harvard Medical School / Synthetic Human Genome Project (@geochurch)
Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review (@antonioregalado)
Laurie Zoloth, Northwestern University / Genetic Literacy Project (@GeneticLiteracy)
Jon Entine, Genetic Literacy Project (@JonEntine)

More:
Science magazine on the genome project
Regalado on plan to fabricate a genome raising questions on designer humans
Zoloth's concerns on synthesizing the human genome
Entine's 'Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture'

Regenesis

George M. Church

IAAF Maintains Ban on Russian Track Team 9 MIN, 53 SEC

The worst fears of Russia's track and field team have been realized. The governing body of world track and field, the IAAF announced today that the ban against Russian track and field athletes will be extended to this summer's Olympics in Rio.
Former world-record miler Sebastian Coe, now IAAF President, announced, "Although good progress has been made, the IAAF council was unanimous that RUSAF had not met the reinstatement conditions and that Russian athletes could not credibly return to international competition without undermining the confidence of their competitors and the public."

Dick Pound is the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, called WADA. He headed the investigation into what he called, "a deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels."

Guests:
Dick Pound, World Anti-Doping Agency

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