Are lab–grown embryos and human hybrids ethical?

This spring, a U.S. and Chinese team announced that it had successfully grown, for the first time, embryos that included both human and monkey cells.

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In Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel “Brave New World," people aren't born from a mother's womb. Instead, embryos are grown in artificial wombs until they are brought into the world, a process called ectogenesis.
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Discovered: A tiny, glowing, poisonous, singing toadlet

Roughly the size of a thumbnail, this newly discovered toadlet has some anatomical surprises.

Credit: Nunes, et al. / PLOS ONE
  • A new species of "pumpkin toadlet" is discovered skittering along the forest floor in Brazil.
  • It's highly poisonous and brightly colored, and some if its bones glow under UV light.
  • An analysis of the toadlets' chirp song helped scientists establish that it's something new.
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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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Researchers identify genes linked to severe repetitive behaviors

A lab identifies which genes are linked to abnormal repetitive behaviors found in addiction and schizophrenia.

Image: Jill Crittenden
Extreme repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping, body-rocking, skin-picking, and sniffing are common to a number of brain disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Huntington's disease, and drug addiction.
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Tarantulas: How 120-million-year-old creatures conquered the globe

A study from Carnegie Mellon University tracks the travels of tarantulas since the Cretaceous period.

Credit: davemhuntphoto/Adobe Stock
  • Scary-looking tarantulas actually prefer to keep to themselves and stay in their burrows.
  • Their sedentary nature makes a puzzle of their presence in so many places around the world.
  • Researchers discover that this is because they've been around a very long time and rode drifting continental land masses to their contemporary positions.
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