Hot Topics: Science

Blog Posts (36)

May 23, 2017

Dear Mr. President: It’s Time for Your Bioethics Commission

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week, seven Democratic members of the U.S. House Representatives sent a letter to the White House asking President Trump to appoint a director to the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), position that normally serves as the presidential science advisor.…

May 11, 2017

It’s Not Science Fiction: Ethics of Artificial Wombs

With the advent of 3-D printers and similar technology, modern science has come closer and closer to artificially solving medical issues and imitating parts of both the anatomy and physiology of the human body. However, when it comes to issues of reproduction and pregnancy, it’s an entirely different battle. Attempts to create an artificial womb for human … More It’s Not Science Fiction: Ethics of Artificial Wombs
May 8, 2017

Woolgathering: It’s a Bag, It’s a Baby, It’s an Artificial Womb!

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

An announcement last week took the science dream of an artificial womb one step closer to science fact: premature lambs were gestated in a biobag (technically an “extra-uterine system”).…

April 25, 2017

Why I Marched

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This past Saturday, I donned by pink knitted brain hat and joined 40,000 other scientists and allies in Chicago’s Grant Park.…

March 10, 2017

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: March 10, 2017

Politics White House Slammed by Federal Ethics Chief for Not Disciplining Kellyanne Conway U.S. government’s official ethics watchdog blasted White House for not taking disciplinary action against senior counselor Kellyanne Conway for promoting Ivanka Trump’s products on TV Trump’s Ethics Order Seen as Boost for Shadow Lobbying President Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress … More Ethics & Society Newsfeed: March 10, 2017
February 24, 2017

Good facts, calm deliberation, and wise counsel

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” – Aldous Huxley, Proper Studies (1927)

A recent exchange on the bioethics listserv began with a panicked message that the Presidential bioethics commissions website (bioethics.gov) has gone dark.…

February 17, 2017

Ethics & Society Newsfeed: February 17, 2017

Politics Trump Ethics Monitor: Has The President Kept His Promises? To track Trump’s ethics-related promises, NPR checked debate transcripts, campaign speeches and press conferences Trump’s South Florida estate raises ethics questions Ethics questions and possible conflicts surrounding President Donald Trump’s frequent trips to his sprawling Mar-a-Lago property, especially in regards to the invitation of Japanese Prime … More Ethics & Society Newsfeed: February 17, 2017
February 15, 2017

The National Academy of Sciences Expands its Approval for Gene Editing

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

This week the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a report giving their support for altering heritable genes when previously the NAS only supported altering uninheritable genes.…

February 10, 2017

Stoking the Flames of Competitiveness on an Overheating Planet

STUDENT VOICES By: Michael Aprea This essay is in response to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs video “Climate Protectionism and Competitiveness.”   Steam put the world in motion. It lit up the night, and tightened humanity’s grasp on the forces of nature. Nature, however, has eluded the human race and has forced civilization to reconsider … More Stoking the Flames of Competitiveness on an Overheating Planet
January 24, 2017

Can Science Survive in a Communications Blackout: Restricting Speech Violates Scientific Ethics

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

That good ethics begins with good facts is an oft-heard mantra and was my first lesson when I began conducting clinical ethics consults 20 years ago.…

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Published Articles (4)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 2 - Feb 2016

The Porosity of Autonomy: Social and Biological Constitution of the Patient in Biomedicine Jonathan Beever & Nicolae Morar

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 15 Issue 4 - Apr 2015

Ideology and Microbiology: Ebola, Science, and Deliberative Democracy Joseph J. Fins

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 11 - Nov 2013

If I Could Just Stop Loving You: Anti-Love Biotechnology and the Ethics of a Chemical Breakup Brian D. Earp, Olga A. Wudarczyk, Anders Sandberg & Julian Savulescu

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 13 Issue 11 - Nov 2013

The Difficult Case of Voluntariness as Autonomy in Anti-Love Biotechnology Hywote Taye

News (134)

May 26, 2017 9:00 am

Rice plant engineered with a ‘tunable’ immune system could fight multiple diseases at once (Science)

May 25, 2017 9:00 am

Fixing the tomato: CRISPR edits correct plant-breeding snafu (Nature)

From their giant fruits to compact plant size, today’s tomatoes have been sculpted by thousands of years of breeding. But mutations linked to prized traits — including one that made them easier to harvest — yield an undesirable plant when combined, geneticists have foundIt is a rare example of a gene harnessed during domestication that later hampered crop improvement efforts, says geneticist Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. After identifying the mutations, he and his colleagues used CRISPR gene editing to engineer more productive plants — a strategy that plant breeders are eager to adopt.

May 23, 2017 9:00 am

U.S. flower sellers rush to destroy illegal GE petunias (Science)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that U.S. flower distributors have begun to destroy countless petunia plants after federal scientists confirmed that they were genetically engineered (GE) to produce vivid orange, red, and purple blooms. The agency says the flowers pose no risk to the environment or to human health, but GE organisms need special permits to be sold in the United States.

May 10, 2017 9:00 am

Pocket laboratories (Nature)

Mobile phones are helping to take conventional laboratory-based science into the field, the classroom and the clinic.

April 26, 2017 12:30 pm

Fluid-filled ‘biobag’ allows premature lambs to develop outside the womb (Science)

Overcoming engineering, biology, and technology obstacles, a team of researchers has crafted what may be the best artificial womb yet: a fluid-filled bag in which lambs born early can live for up to 4 weeks, before being ushered into the outside world. Although others have designed similar systems that are still in animal testing, this one is notable for its stripped-down simplicity.

April 25, 2017 9:00 am

Bomb attack damages Monsanto research center in Italy (Science)

Earlier this week, in the middle of Easter night in Olmeneta, Italy, an unknown person attacked the Monsanto Research Center with several “bottle bombs” or Molotov cocktails, small improvised explosive devices. The 16 April assault, apparently a protest against research on genetically modified organisms (GMO), did not injure anyone but firemen worked for hours to stop a blaze set off by one bomb that devastated the cold room where most of the small facility’s experimental seeds are usually stored.

April 18, 2017 1:10 pm

Self-taught artificial intelligence beats doctors at predicting heart attacks (Science)

Doctors have lots of tools for predicting a patient’s health. But—as even they will tell you—they’re no match for the complexity of the human body. Heart attacks in particular are hard to anticipate. Now, scientists have shown that computers capable of teaching themselves can perform even better than standard medical guidelines, significantly increasing prediction rates. If implemented, the new method could save thousands or even millions of lives a year.

April 14, 2017 9:00 am

Japanese man is first to receive 'reprogrammed' stem cells from another person (Nature)

On 28 March, a Japanese man in his 60s became the first person to receive cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells donated by another person. The surgery is expected to set the path for more applications of iPS-cell technology, which offers the versatility of embryonic stem cells without their ethical taint. Banks of iPS cells from diverse donors could make stem-cell transplants more convenient to perform, while slashing costs.

April 12, 2017 6:00 am

Study finds some significant differences in brains of men and women (Science)

Do the anatomical differences between men and women—sex organs, facial hair, and the like—extend to our brains? The question has been as difficult to answer as it has been controversial. Now, the largest brain-imaging study of its kind indeed finds some sex-specific patterns, but overall more similarities than differences. The work raises new questions about how brain differences between the sexes may influence intelligence and behavior.

March 29, 2017 9:00 am

Zika mosquito genome mapped – at last (Nature)

As the Zika virus raced across the Western Hemisphere in 2015 and 2016, geneticists eager to battle the outbreak felt crippled. The genome sequence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads Zika was incomplete and consisted of thousands of short DNA fragments, hampering research efforts. With help from a new technique for stitching together genome sequences, scientists have finally ‘assembled’ the genome of A. aegypti as well as that of Culex quinquefasciatus, a mosquito that transmits West Nile virus.

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