It's in the Blood! A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia All Documents and Media  
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"Men and Molecules: Molecular Medicine"
"Men and Molecules: Molecular Medicine" March 30, 1962.
Produced by the American Chemical Society

Stopping the Spread of Sickle Cell Anemia to Children. (1:33)

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Narrator: Researchers now know that the possession of one sickle cell gene can, in at least one sense, be considered an advantage. Their work has shown that people with a single gene have a high degree of protection against malaria, once considered to be the greatest disease scourge in some parts of the world.

Linus Pauling: Now of course malaria is no longer a scourge in the United States and in other countries, and so being a sickle cell heterozygote is not of any advantage, and yet the defective children with sickle cell anemia continue to be born. And that is a way of getting rid of the gene now that it no longer is of value. When these defective children die, they carry two sickle cell genes out of existence; consequently the gene will slowly disappear.

A man who has worked in this field, Dr. Anthony Allison - he is an Englishman who is responsible for having shown that the sickle cell gene protects against malaria - has calculated that among the Negro population in the United States the incidence of the gene has dropped from about twenty percent to about ten percent, at the expense of much suffering. If the children were not to be born, that would be a better way of getting rid of this deleterious gene, not at the cost of human suffering but by the use of human intelligence.


Creator: Linus Pauling
Associated: Anthony Ellison
Clip ID: 1962v.3-sca

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Creator: American Chemical Society
Associated: Linus Pauling

Date: March 30, 1962
Genre: sound
ID: 1962v.3
Copyright: More Information

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