Wednesday, July 01, 2020

"The Central Dogma of Biology", by Avi Schiffmann

University of Washington Quad, Spring 2007

Here’s a short film from June 2019 by Avi Schiffmann, then a sophomore in high school at 16, “The Central Dogma of Biology”, with Arman Azeem and Sean Roandson, and a cat.

With skateboards, old tires, and various other knickknacks around a Seattle high school’s grounds, the characters string together a hip-hop narrative of how viruses mutate.  There is mention of transcriptase, which would have come from HIV.

Yet, the film seems like a shocking prescience of the “gain of function” experiments done in the past with coronaviruses, which have led to Sars-Cov2. The style is pretty much pure David Lynch.

And Avid started working on his coronavirus tracker before Christmas 2019, before China admitted it had a problem (Dec. 31).  A teenager knew about this before the CDC did? (And then China covered it up for two deadly weeks, and then our own government fumbled it for two months.)

High school biology will never be the same.

And neither will “the Chaz”.

Picture:  University of Washington, Wiki (click for attribution). 


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