Blog Posts (24)
June 14, 2014
Once upon a time in a fairy tale land that now seems far, far away, young people fell in love, got married, and started a family. But the idea of “starting a family” has taken on new meaning as pregnancy has come under the rubric of technological control. Increasingly, it is not about having children but about “making babies.” With the advent of technology and... // Read More »
June 12, 2014
Yesterday’s post by Steve Phillips raises a central question for us in the “biotech century”: are there some sorts of experiments that fundamentally ought not be done because of the potential they will be grossly misapplied by bad actors? Steve cited research by Lord Robert Winston seeking to create genetically altered pigs—that seem, from the description in the press, to be what scientists call “transgenic”... // Read More »
June 11, 2014
Germline genetic modification is a technique that some find intriguing and many find very concerning when its use is considered in humans. However there are uses of germline genetic modifications in animals that may impact humans in multiple ways. In an article in The Telegraph, British researcher Robert Winston talks about current research to develop animal organs (usually from pigs) that could be genetically modified... // Read More »
May 8, 2014
Synthetic biology—loosely defined as the intersection of engineering and biology—is a burgeoning field with the potential to create or alter “non-naturally” occurring organisms using basic biomolecules, or similar molecules not found in living things as we encounter them. A few years ago, Dr. Craig Venter’s group in San Diego synthesized the entire DNA of one species of mycobacterium on a lab bench, added some identifier... // Read More »
April 24, 2014
Readers of this blog probably saw last week’s report, as the NPR headline put it, that “First Embryonic Stem Cells Cloned from a Man’s Skin.” I was able to read the full text of the online publication, by Cell Stem Cell, here. The stated goal of the work is to use somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) to clone an embryo that can then be used... // Read More »
April 19, 2014
Images powerfully impact how we think and how we live. Metaphors, those images we use to describe the indescribable, to portray the unfamiliar and mysterious, are particularly so because of the identity relationships they create. In my last post, I commented on an article in the NYT entitled, “A Tumor: the Embryo’s Evil Twin,” which described the similarities between embryogenesis and the cellular behavior of... // Read More »
March 11, 2014
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
According to an article in Nature Medicine, a new blood test appears to be accurate for diagnosing whether an individual is likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.…
March 4, 2014
by Maurice Bernstein, MD
Babies are born with a progressive neurometabolic disorder with a general onset in infancy or childhood, often after a viral infection, but can also occur in teens and adults. …
January 21, 2014
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
In the 1997 film GATTACA, a couple anxious to have a child sit down with their doctor.…
November 26, 2013
by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.
For those on the cutting edge (or as we called it in tech journalism, “the bleeding edge”) of science, the Human Genome Project’s promise could be found in home genetic testing.…
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August 26, 2014 1:19 pm
A high-profile 2013 study that concluded that different kinds of happiness are associated with dramatically different patterns of gene activity is fatally flawed, according to an analysis published on Monday which tore into its target with language rarely seen in science journals.
August 13, 2014 4:31 pm
When I think of “science fiction,” I picture three-eyed aliens with purple-and-gold tentacles — not the disturbing demise of a man, and a company, depicted in the film “The Perfect 46.”
August 12, 2014 1:54 pm
A 37-year-old British man who needs a mechanical pump to keep his heart working has kicked off tests to see if gene therapy could help him recover and potentially avoid the need for a heart transplant.
July 31, 2014 6:01 pm
According to a report from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, researchers discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions that, if confirmed in larger studies, could offer doctors a simple blood test to predict a person’s risk of attempting suicide.
July 29, 2014 4:01 pm
Google’s newest project aims to create a crowd-sourced picture of human health by collecting anonymous genetic and molecular information from participants.
July 15, 2014 2:39 pm
The mainland has lifted the controversial ban on medical diagnostic products that can help detect birth defects in unborn children.
July 10, 2014 4:03 pm
A microscopic image that shows a genome being removed from a donor egg. 1. Manipulation pipette. 2. Donor egg. 3. Holding pipette. 4. Zona pellucida (encircling the egg). 5. Location of the oocyte genome (or nuclear DNA) before removal.
July 9, 2014 1:55 pm
One of the few things older than the battle of the sexes is the origin of the sexes. How sexes evolved in the first place has been a lasting mystery in biology. Thanks to some transgender algae, scientists may have cracked this evolutionary whodunit.
June 23, 2014 1:53 pm
When the US diagnostics giant Myriad Genetics had its legal monopoly on breast-cancer gene testing eliminated one year ago, the company still retained an enormous edge over competitors.
June 23, 2014 1:52 pm
Many of us find ourselves swimming along in the tranquil sea of life when suddenly a crisis hits — a death in the family, the loss of a job, a bad breakup. Some power through and find calm waters again, while others drown in depression.
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