Mixing human + animal DNA and the future of gene editing

"The question is which are okay, which are not okay."

  • As the material that makes all living things what/who we are, DNA is the key to understanding and changing the world. British geneticist Bryan Sykes and Francis Collins (director of the Human Genome Project) explain how, through gene editing, scientists can better treat illnesses, eradicate diseases, and revolutionize personalized medicine.
  • But existing and developing gene editing technologies are not without controversies. A major point of debate deals with the idea that gene editing is overstepping natural and ethical boundaries. Just because they can, does that mean that scientists should be edit DNA?
  • Harvard professor Glenn Cohen introduces another subcategory of gene experiments: mixing human and animal DNA. "The question is which are okay, which are not okay, why can we generate some principles," Cohen says of human-animal chimeras and arguments concerning improving human life versus morality.

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For $50, convert your phone into a powerful chemical, pathogen detector

A team of scientists managed to install onto a smartphone a spectrometer that's capable of identifying specific molecules — with cheap parts you can buy online.

  • Spectroscopy provides a non-invasive way to study the chemical composition of matter.
  • These techniques analyze the unique ways light interacts with certain materials.
  • If spectrometers become a common feature of smartphones, it could someday potentially allow anyone to identify pathogens, detect impurities in food, and verify the authenticity of valuable minerals.
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Blame evolution for human disease

For every good idea in evolution, there is an unintended consequence. Disease is often one of them.

  • A new essay suggests that evolution both dooms us to certain diseases and provides ways to help improve medical care.
  • Technology like polygenic risk scores already allow us to use genetics to predict and improve health outcomes.
  • Future treatment options may begin with a review of your genetics.
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Own shares in this $180B healthcare market that affects a quarter of American adults

Invest in the future of arthritis medicine with Cytonics.

It can often be difficult for investors to predict the next industry that will boom within the next decade.

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Mysterious vomiting disease in dogs is due to novel coronavirus

A newly discovered coronavirus — but not the one that causes COVID-19 — has made some dogs very sick.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels
  • A different coronavirus outbreak in late 2019 made many dogs in the UK very ill.
  • The strangeness of the disease led veterinarians to send questionnaires to their peers and pet owners.
  • The findings point toward the need for better systems to identify disease outbreaks in animals.
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