China has long been ahead of the US when it comes to human genetic engineering—there, the idea seems far less morally fraught. But for the first time, scientists in the United States have now genetically modified a human embryo, according to a new report in the MIT Technology Review. At Oregon Health and Science…
Recently, a kerfuffle in the world of CRISPR illustrated just how easily money—and our perception of it—can impact science.
Rapid developments in brain-machine interfacing and neuroprosthetics are revolutionizing the way we treat paralyzed people, but the same technologies could eventually be put to more generalized use—a development that’ll turn many of us into veritable cyborgs. Before we get to that point, however, we’ll need to make…
Last fall, John Zhang made headlines after his fertility clinic announced that for the first time a baby had been born using a new technique requiring three genetic parents. The baby’s mother carried the genes for a fatal nervous system disorder called Leigh syndrome, but Zhang had been able to keep the disease from…
Yesterday, a New York state appeals court rejected an appeal filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) seeking legal rights for a pair of captive chimpanzees. It’s a major setback for the group, but the battle to secure human-like legal protections for highly intelligent and self-aware animals is far from over.
Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans, and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviors are not just harmful to robots—they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we’re better than the characters on the screen, and that when…
In what sounds like a clichéd horror movie premise, a recent investigation suggests as many as 7,000 bodies are buried across 20 acres at the Mississippi Medical Center Campus—the former site of the state’s first mental institution. Officials at the university now face the grim task of pulling 100-year-old bodies…
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced a new venture called Neuralink, a startup which aims to develop neural interface technologies that connect our brains to computers. Musk says it’s the best way to prevent an AI apocalypse, but it’s on this point that he’s gravely mistaken.
Courts in New Zealand and India have granted legal personhood status to three rivers. The strange status is meant to protect the waters from pollution, but the measure could lead to unintended consequences, while undermining efforts to grant personhood status to living beings who actually deserve it.
Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s freshly-announced nominee for the US Supreme Court, has spent his career weighing matters of life and death. His views on life—that it is sacred and “intrinsically valuable”—are likely to shape court decisions in areas from abortion to assisted suicide for decades to come.
President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Tom Price to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), placing the Georgia Congressman in an extremely powerful position as far as the nation’s health is concerned. Given his dubious track record, this appointment is of serious concern.
A team of scientists in China has become the first to treat a human patient with the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique. While the results of the trial are uncertain, it’s a historic milestone that should serve as a serious wakeup call to the rest of the world.
Donald Trump made some pretty scary threats during the election about cracking down on abortion. Here’s a quick refresher on his campaign promises—and why women have every right to be very worried.
Using skin cells extracted from mice, researchers in Japan have produced fully functional egg cells that were used to produce healthy mouse pups. Should the method work in humans, it could introduce powerful new ways of treating infertility—and even allow same-sex couples to produce biological offspring.
To address the burgeoning “loneliness epidemic” and the demands of an aging population, some think that we should deploy robotic caregivers. A new ad titled “B.E.N. (Biologically Engineered Nursing),” however, suggests that this is a dreadful idea.
Regulators in the state of Illinois have suspended a Chicago doctor who allegedly gave patients vaccinations containing cat saliva and vodka.
A new reproductive technique in which a baby is produced with the genetic material from three distinct parents has yielded its first human.
Agriculture company Monsanto has acquired a non-exclusive global licensing agreement from MIT’s Broad Institute and Harvard to use the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing system. The firm will use it to design and grow new seeds and plants, but there are key restrictions on its use to prevent Monsanto from abusing this…
A terminally ill 17-year-old has become the first minor to be helped to die in Belgium since age restrictions on euthanasia requests were eliminated two years ago. It’s a historic precedent that could influence suicide laws elsewhere.
For the first time ever, scientists have produced live mice without a fertilized egg cell. The potentially revolutionary technique could one day allow gay men to produce biological offspring, or—even more radically—allow both men and women to self-fertilize.