science
Substandard, Superficial, and Absurd: Experts Slam the Science Behind the CRISPR Baby Experiment

A pair of genetic experts are claiming that the controversial human gene-editing experiment conducted by Chinese scientist He Jiankui was not only unethical, it was also deeply flawed from a scientific perspective. The experiment, they said, likely won’t work as intended, and the two girls produced by the project now face uncertain health risks. Read More >>

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Scientists Partially Revive Disembodied Pig Brains, Raising Huge Questions

Researchers from Yale have developed a system capable of restoring some functionality to the brains of decapitated pigs for at least 10 hours after death. The achievement has tremendous scientific potential, but it raises some serious ethical and philosophical concerns. Read More >>

science
Report: Nobel Prize-Winning Biologist Knew About Gene-Edited Babies for Months but Kept Quiet

The Associated Press reports that Nobel laureate and biologist Craig Mello was aware of a pregnancy in China involving gene-edited babies for months before the news went public. That a prominent scientist knew of this highly unethical work but chose to remain silent is a serious cause for concern, and a sign that the culture around questionable research needs to change. Read More >>

science
Chinese Scientist Who Created CRISPR Babies Could Face the Death Penalty, Fellow Geneticist Warns

A British geneticist is worried that He Jiankui—the Chinese scientist responsible for the birth of genetically modified human twins—could face the death penalty for corruption and bribery charges. Read More >>

science
Report: Scientists in China Are Losing Track of Gene-Edited CRISPR Patients

Gene therapies are very much at their preliminary stages of development, so it would make sense to keep tabs on patients whose DNA has been modified via the innovative CRISPR technique. For some scientists in China, however, this is apparently not a priority. Read More >>

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China’s Social Ranking System Will Now Target Rule-Breaking Scientists

To tackle widespread scientific misconduct, the Chinese government has expanded its controversial social credit system to include infractions made by research scientists. The plan could scare some scientists straight—but the potential for abuse is very real. Read More >>

science
Baboon Survives for Six Months With a Pig’s Heart Beating in Its Chest

A baboon survived 195 days after an experimental heart transplant, according to a new paper. But the heart didn’t come from another baboon—it came from a pig. Read More >>

science
Chinese Scientist Responsible for Gene-Edited Babies Has Reportedly Gone Missing

The current whereabouts of He Jiankui—the scientist who claims to have engineered the world’s first genetically modified human babies—is unknown. Rumours are now circulating that he’s been detained by the Chinese government. Read More >>

science
Chinese Government Says It Has Shut Down Controversial Human Gene-Editing Project

A project claiming to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies has been stopped by the Chinese government, which is declaring the work of scientist He Jiankui as being both unlawful and unethical, according to the Associated Press. Read More >>

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Rogue Scientist Defends Gene-Edited Babies – And Reveals a Second Pregnancy

Speaking at a genetics conference in Hong Kong earlier this week, embattled Chinese scientist He Jiankui said he was “proud” to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, despite receiving near-universal condemnation from his peers. Speaking publicly today for the first time, the scientist offered new details about his unauthorised, clandestine project – including news of another woman who is pregnant with an edited embryo. Read More >>

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Reports of First Genetically Enhanced Babies Spark Outrage

Twin girls born earlier this month had their DNA altered to prevent them from contracting HIV, according to an Associated Press report. If confirmed, the births would signify the first gene-edited babies in human history—a stunning development that’s sparking an outcry from scientists and ethicists. Read More >>

animals
Demand for Chocolate Labs Is Making Them Sick and Prone to Early Death

New research shows that chocolate Labrador retrievers are more likely to experience health problems and die younger compared to their black and yellow canine compatriots. A likely reason, say scientists, is a tightening genetic bottleneck caused by consumer demand. Read More >>

science
Artificial Genome Scientists Want to Build Human Cells That Are Impervious to Viruses

Two years ago, a consortium of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs announced a plan to synthesise an artificial human genome from scratch—an extremely ambitious endeavour that’s struggled to secure funding. Project organisers have now disclosed details of a scaled-down version of the venture, but with a goal that’s still quite audacious: creating human cells that are invulnerable to infections. Read More >>

science
Scientists Kept Disembodied Pig Brains ‘Alive’ for 36 Hours – and It’s Testing Our Conceptions of Death

A neuroscientist from Yale University is claiming to have developed a technique that preserves the brain tissue of pigs for an extended period following decapitation. The brains are apparently not conscious, but the new technique is raising a number of important ethical issues. Read More >>

robots
Experts Sign Open Letter Slamming Europe’s Proposal to Recognise Robots as Legal Persons

Over 150 experts in AI, robotics, commerce, law, and ethics from 14 countries have signed an open letter denouncing the European Parliament’s proposal to grant personhood status to intelligent machines. The EU says the measure will make it easier to figure out who’s liable when robots screw up or go rogue, but critics say it’s too early to consider robots as persons—and that the law will let manufacturers off the liability hook. Read More >>