God’s Scalpel: A Brief History of Gene Editing is a popular science book that explains the current progress of biology and the future of gene therapy. It’s thin but informative and easy to understand.
Gene editing develops rapidly, you’ll never know when a new technology will appear. TALEs replaced Zinc finger and OPEN, then CRISPR replaced TALEs. But patent dispute and ethical issues still hold it back. Using gene editing technology to damage the “bad” genes may put an end to the GM foods dispute.
Developing new drugs takes a lot of time and money, most countries give innovative drugs 20 years of patent protection period. But there is no secret in pharmaceutical market: the patent is public; government needs to supervise each progress; it’s easy to get the chemical structure through reverse engineering. This is why Indian drugs are cheap.
This book mentioned myopia, I doubted the accuracy of one sentence, so I checked the reference. This article mainly said the impact of sunlight on myopia:
They added a 40-minute outdoor class to the end of the school day for a group of six- and seven-year-olds at six randomly selected schools in Guangzhou; children at six other schools had no change in schedule and served as controls. Of the 900-plus children who attended the outside class, 30% developed myopia by age nine or ten compared with 40% of those at the control schools.
I also learned from this book that there is a way to cure AIDS: modify CCR5 gene. Only 1% of people are CCR5-Δ32 homozygotes, that means they are immune to AIDS. BUT:
CCR5-Δ32 can be beneficial to the host in some infections (e.g., HIV-1, possibly smallpox), but detrimental in others (e.g., tick-borne encephalitis, West Nile virus). Whether CCR5 function is helpful or harmful in the context of a given infection depends on a complex interplay between the immune system and the pathogen.