Earlier this week, over a hundred scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered to discuss the radical possibility of creating a synthetic human genome. Strangely, journalists were not invited, and attendees were told to keep a tight lip. Which, given the weighty subject matter, is obvious cause for concern.
Scientists have sustained human embryos in a petri dish for 13 days, shattering the previous record of nine days. The breakthrough will allow researchers to study early fetal development in unprecedented detail, and brings us one step closer to viable “artificial wombs.” But it’s adding fuel to an already heated…
Less than a year after scientists in China became the first to genetically modify human embryos, a research team in Britain has been given the green light to perform similar work. It’s a huge moment in biotech history—one that could eventually lead to “designer babies.”
An international team of neuroscientists claims to have successfully carried out a head transplant on a monkey, along with other related experiments. But because the details haven’t been published, experts remain skeptical.
The most prominent sperm bank in the UK is under investigation after turning away donors with dyslexia and other questionable characteristics. This raises an important question: Should sperm banks be in the business of making “better” babies?
Last week’s historic summit on human gene-editing has come to a close, and its organizing committee has given the go-ahead for scientists in the US to experiment on human genes — only if it doesn’t result in a pregnancy. It’s a surprisingly progressive stance. But make no mistake, human trait selection is coming.…
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has stopped funding experiments in which human stem cells are transplanted into the embryo of an animal. Now, a group of researchers from Stanford University are speaking out, claiming that the restrictions are holding back important medical research—and that the NIH’s reasons…
Researchers in China are reportedly the first to use a powerful gene editing tool to produce super-muscled dogs. The goal is to create test subjects that mimic degenerative human diseases, but the breakthrough also raises the prospect of customized pets.
Just five months after scientists in China made history by modifying the germline of human embryos, a research team in the U.K. is requesting permission to do the same, but strictly for research into infertility. Given recent calls for a moratorium on such research, the decision is likely to set a precedent for future…
A recent campaign argues that a ban should be placed on the development of sex robots. While well-intentioned, it’s a shortsighted idea that fails to recognize the ways in which these technologies will help us explore new ideas of inclusivity, legality, and social change.
Off-license users of modafinil—a drug developed to treat various sleep disorders—have known for some time that it doubles as a surprisingly effective cognitive enhancer, and with very few side effects. A new systematic review shows it’s true, raising some important ethical questions about the use of smart drugs.
An independent analysis of reports gathered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2000 shows that robotic surgery isn’t as safe as some people might assume.
Since the 9/11 attacks, researchers in the United States have conducted exceptionally cruel, even superfluous, experiments on animals to develop countermeasures to weapons of mass destruction. But as BuzzFeed reporter Peter Aldhous asks: Is all this suffering really necessary?
By editing a single gene, researchers from South Korea and China have engineered pigs that produce about twice the amount of muscle as normal pigs. The goal is to produce leaner meat and at higher yields, but early results show it could be a long time before this jacked-up pork appears on your dinner plate.
Several months ago, the UK approved a groundbreaking reproductive technique in which babies are created from the genetic material of three people. The US is now considering the procedure, but Congress’s new spending bill will require religious experts to review a forthcoming report.
A new study shows racehorses have gotten progressively quicker over the past 160 years, and in sprint races, especially. But given the startling number of race-related deaths each year, it’s nothing to be proud of.
The Jane Goodall Institute, in collaboration with other animal welfare groups, has successfully petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to declare a new rule under which all chimpanzees—both wild and captive—must be protected as an endangered species.
Wal-Mart is asking its suppliers of meat, deli, dairy, and egg products to honor a new set of guidelines calling for the humane treatment of livestock and a reduction in the use of antibiotics. Supporters say this could revolutionize animal agriculture — but will Wal-Mart’s suppliers follow through?
In the wake of news that scientists in China modified the DNA of human embryos, a number of scientists and bioethicists have called for a global moratorium on experiments that could alter the human germline. The White House has come out in support of such a ban — for now.
Earlier today, a NYC judge heard arguments on the rights of two chimps being used for science experiments. During the two-hours of proceedings, the president of the Nonhuman Rights Projects described the chimps as “autonomous and self-determining beings.” A decision on their fate is expected in one to two months. More