Click here for a deeper conversation on this topic led by Hastings Director of Research Josephine Johnston.
“If you look through the red-tinted glass, you will see the radioactive pig,” said the director of animal laboratories at my university–let’s call her Susan–near the start of my tour of the facility. There on a concrete floor, within a steel cage, was a large solitary sow, lying on her side, legs pointed left. I… Read more
BIOETHICS FORUM ESSAY
At the end of April, the biotech firm Amyris announced that it was launching its own line of skin emollient under the brand name Biossance. The product is based on a hycrocarbon known as squalane that Amyris produces from sugarcane using genetically modified microorganisms and has sold to cosmetics manufacturers such as L’Oreal and Unilever.… Read more
For several years, a British company called Oxitec has been proposing a strategy for controlling a species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, that humans have accidentally carried from Africa to other parts of the globe, thereby also spreading a risk of dengue fever and other diseases for which A. aegypti is a vector. One of the… Read more
Perhaps the biggest challenge in talking about something like de-extinction is simply being clear on what it is you’re really talking about. Emerging technologies can be surrounded with so much hoopla that one can lose sight of what the technologies actually accomplish. Somebody recently expressed exactly this caution to me about de-extinction: “That is not… Read more
An article in the October issue of Discover Magazine has a great line from Drew Endy, a bioengineer at Stanford University who has become one of the foremost public figures in the field of synthetic biology. It’s not his comment about how, someday, synthetic biology might allow us to create a modified fungus that can turn a can of… Read more
Is the end in sight for wilderness? A recent opinion piece in the New York Times, by the science journalist Christopher Solomon, says it is. “There’s a heresy echoing through America’s woods and wild places,” writes Solomon. “It’s a debate about how we should think about, and treat, our wilderness.” We have always thought of a wilderness as… Read more
Some of the most hotly debated questions making the rounds these days include who should interpret, distribute, review, and receive data, and with good reason. From WikiLeaks to National Security Agency whistleblowers, the problems of data privacy, data security, data accuracy, and data availability are making headlines. Over the summer, The New York Times ran a piece… Read more
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