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Today on Context Florida: Crispr gene-editing tool, fantasy sports and Camp Murphy WWII memories

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Today on Context Florida:

If you pay attention to the news, you’d think Florida, the nation and the world are doomed. But cheer up, says Tom O’Hara. The big story of 2015 is Crispr/Cas9, and it’s very good news. For laymen, the scientists are calling this a “gene-editing tool.” With Crispr (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), scientists have discovered a cheap and efficient way to cut DNA so they can disrupt bad genes and insert good ones. They compare the technique to having very precise scissors that can slice into DNA. Some predict that Crispr may transform food production, allow doctors to cure all kinds of diseases, bring woolly mammoths back from extinction and enable scientists to create designer babies.

Fantasy Sports Trade Association chair Paul Charchian says that Floridians have spoken loudly: They want fantasy sports to remain legal, and they want the industry to be held to a high standard of integrity. As the state lawmakers move toward the 2016 Legislative Session, Charchian simply asks that Florida lawmakers take into account the 3 million Floridians who love fantasy sports, and want to keep their pastime legal.

Sally Swartz talks about the traces of Camp Murphy’s 1,000 structures which remain at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, where a $10 million village went up in three months during World War II. Sandy Doptis, daughter of Col. John A Ward, gave her late father’s collection of Camp Murphy artifacts to the park. Sally Green Ansell, daughter of the late Gen. James W. Green Jr., recalls that Camp Murphy was “our parents’ favorite duty station.” The camp was “so important to the war effort,” Ansell said. “We had radar. The Germans didn’t.”

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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