Frontiers in Genetics, 1949

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This week's Studio 360, "Making Better People," takes a look at man's preoccupation with improving man. Featuring interviews with Greg Stock, author of Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future, and others, the program considers how we might better nature through engineering. Meanwhile, in the Archives we found a WNYC program exploring the same topic ...almost exactly sixty-two years earlier.

Featured on the daily morning program "Around New York," Dr. Iago Galdston, Secretary of  Medical Information of the New York Academy of Medicine, is interviewed regarding an upcoming "Frontiers in Genetics" lecture by Dr. Laurence H. Snyder. Snyder, today recognized as a pioneer in human genetics, was then Dean of the Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma and was working on genetic research related to blood groups and Rh incompatibility.

Several notable moments stand out during this short interview. Galdston takes care to note that while the field of genetics was once only of interest to scientists it has recently become a "weapon: political, economic and otherwise." He specifically references a controversy between Russian geneticists, who subscribe to the "Lysenko theory," and American geneticists, who follow Mendelian inheritance theory.

Galdston goes on to discuss the daily applications of genetic research, including a better understanding of the Rh factor in blood, and anthropological applications of blood group identification.


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.