Imagine Jennifer Doudna working in the lab overnight, her eyes sore, her head pulsing, and her mind swirling with an existential crisis. Utilizing a bacterial cell’s self-defense mechanism, the geneticist has mastered the ability to reproduce and guide gene-editing technology, otherwise known as CRISPR-Cas9. This technology could save countless lives, cure genetic diseases, and reverse the effects of cancer. But it could also advance efforts at human enhancement, leading to a revival of modern eugenics.
In December, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine held a three-day summit on CRISPR technology.
One of my grad school teachers said that anyone teaching bioethics should adopt Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Upon arriving at Baylor I took up her suggestion, and I have taught the National Book Critics Circle Award winner twice a year for nearly a decade.
Britain's House of Commons voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to legalize the creation of so-called "three-parent babies." Though advocates of the move say it will help prevent a debilitating and often lethal condition, many warn that the procedure, though well-intentioned, opens the door to ethical and safety questions that have yet to be sufficiently grappled with.
David Gushee’s attempt to define and defend the concept of the sacredness of life is a welcome reminder of why it is so important that we not take for granted the protections that surround our lives and the lives of others.
In The Kids Are All Right, a sperm donor connects with his biological children but is eventually dismissed as an "interloper" in their lives. To believe that the kids are all right, we have to agree with this judgment.
Based on the award-winning 2005 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, who also penned The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go is that rare story that doesn't rely on a revelatory plot twist to make its thematic point and drive the message home.
The completion, or near completion, of the human genome project was announced with expressions of Promethean awe. The New York Times called the feat “a pinnacle of human self-knowledge.” Other commentators referred to the new knowledge as the “Book of Life.” President Clinton said mapping the body’s sequence of genes was like “learning the language of God.” And Dr.
When two groups of scientists announced in mid-February that they had finished mapping the human genome, scientists, politicians and journalists paid rapt attention. The human genetic code has been deciphered! We are on our way at last to obeying scientifically the old Delphic oracle: Know thyself!
Last month two fertility specialists, an American and an Italian, announced plans to clone a human being in the next two years. If they don’t get the job done, it’s very likely that someone else on the planet will. Margaret Talbot, writing recently in the New York Times, reports that many scientists expect a cloned human to be introduced within five years.