science
New Study Finds Unintended Consequences of CRISPR Gene Editing

Scientists and biotechnologists have heralded the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system as revolutionary way to edit DNA, like scissors and a glue stick for the genome. But a new study found some potentially harmful unintended effects. Read More >>

science
Synthetic Brain-Destroying Human Prions Created in the Lab for the First Time

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have synthesised an artificial human prion, a scientific first that could eventually lead to treatments for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other deadly brain-wasting disorders. 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 >>

science
Transgender Woman Breastfeeds Her Baby After Experimental Treatment

A medical team from Mount Sinai in New York City is the first to formally report on the details of an experimental therapy that allowed a transgender woman to breastfeed her baby for six weeks. Read More >>

science
Cautious Optimism as Scientists Grow Human Eggs From Immature Cells in the Lab

In a scientific first, researchers from the UK and US have taken early-stage human egg cells and grown them to full maturity in the lab. It’s an important proof-of-concept that could eventually yield new infertility treatments for women. Read More >>

biotechnology
Experimental Weekly Pill Could Make HIV Treatment a Lot Easier to Swallow

The current slate of treatments for HIV have been nothing short of life-saving. These antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs, as they’re known, keep people with HIV healthy and virtually virus-free, with relatively minor side effects—so long as they take the pills daily. The biggest reason why some people can’t keep up with daily treatment is access: Many people, particularly in poorer areas of the world, simply can’t afford a lifetime supply. But there’s also a problem of adherence—as much as 30 percent of people can’t stick to the needed daily regimen of ART. To help remedy this commitment gap, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard Medical School have created a tiny star-shaped cargo container, packed inside a gel capsule, they hope can parse out a week’s supply of ART with one dose. Read More >>

science
Scientists Added Two New Letters to DNA’s Code

If you’ve taken a science class, you’re likely aware that DNA is the body’s instruction manual. But its language is only written in four letters: A, T, C, and G. Those who paid extra close attention will remember that RNA, the photocopy of the instructions that the cell actually uses, replaces the Ts with the letter U. Read More >>

science
Dolly the Sheep Didn’t Die Prematurely Because She Was a Clone

Dolly the Sheep made biotech history in 1996 when she became the first animal cloned from adult somatic cells. She lived to the age of seven, which is young for sheep, leading scientists to speculate that her premature death had something to do with her being a clone. New research now shows this wasn’t the case. Read More >>

science
This Guy Just Injected Himself With a DIY HIV Treatment on Facebook Live

Tristan Roberts sits sandwiched between two men on a couch in a bland DC apartment, with leafy, dusk-lit trees peeking out from the sheer curtains behind him. The mundanity of the setting betrays the extremity of what is about to happen next. On the elliptical glass coffee table in front of him is a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a tray holding a glass of water, several vials, and syringes. Roberts is about to inject himself with an experimental gene therapy for HIV, a DIY prototype treatment designed by three biohacker friends. The treatment had never been tested in humans. Read More >>

biotechnology
Scientists Just Found the Perfect Spot to Build an Underground Colony on the Moon

For years, scientists have wondered if dark, crater-like features on the lunar surface might be entrances to giant caverns carved long ago by flowing lava. Researchers from Japan and the United States have uncovered new evidence to prove that these features actually exist—which is good news for future lunar colonists looking for a convenient and safe place to live. Read More >>

science
How New Technology Could Threaten a Woman’s Right to Abortion

In April, scientists achieved a major breakthrough that could one day drastically improve the fate of babies born extremely prematurely. Eight prematurely born baby lambs spent their last month of development in an external womb that resembled a high-tech ziplock bag. At the time of publication, the oldest lamb was nearly a year old, and still seemed to be developing normally. Read More >>

science
How Scientifically Plausible Is the ‘Simian Flu’ in Planet of the Apes?

The Planet of the Apes prequels did much to explain how humans lost their status as the dominant species on the planet—a cataclysmic set of events fueled by a global pandemic known as the “Simian Flu.” This virus, the product of a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, wiped out the vast majority of humans, but it boosted the brains of apes. And in the latest installment of the franchise, the virus has mutated into an insidious new form, affecting humans in some disturbing new ways. That’s a lot for a single virus to do, prompting the inevitable question: How feasible is the Simian Flu from a scientific perspective? Read More >>

science
This Squishy Artificial Heart is Amazing

Researchers in Europe have created a soft artificial heart that mimics the real thing. It’s still not ready for prime time, but the approach, in which the developers used silicone and 3D-printing, could revolutionise the way patients with heart disease are treated. Read More >>

science
CRISPR May Not Be Nearly as Precise as We Thought

The revolutionary gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 is often described as “molecular scissors” for its ability to turn previously improbable feats of genetic engineering into exercises in cutting and pasting. But while over the last few years CRISPR has become so commonplace that even middle school students are now using it, a study out this week in the journal Nature Methods reminds us that it’s still a nascent technology with a long way to go before we can freely cut and paste human DNA at will. Read More >>