It Should Be Legal To Hack Your DNA

A group of geneticists has called for a moratorium on research into modifying heritable human DNA — a practice that could lead to so-called "designer babies." But as scientists consider this drastic proposal, they should also recognize the potential benefits this technology could afford – and the risks of an outright… » 3/24/15 4:00pm 3/24/15 4:00pm

Why The Human Brain Isn't As Special As We Think It Is

The human brain is special. Just not that special. To understand animal minds, and our own place in the living world, we should remove ourselves from centre stage. » 2/10/15 8:40am 2/10/15 8:40am

Canada's Highest Court Affirms The Right To Doctor-Assisted Suicide

In a historic decision, the Canadian Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that adults who are mentally competent and suffering intolerably and permanently have the right to seek a doctor's help in dying — and it doesn't matter if that suffering is physical or psychological. » 2/06/15 9:30am 2/06/15 9:30am

Now that Britain has legalized three-parent IVF, it's time for other countries to follow suit. As noted by Tom Solomon in The Guardian, "It's mind-boggling that some people are against a medical advance that will prevent mitochondrial disease from occurring." Critics warn that it could lead to so-called "designer… » 2/04/15 4:00pm 2/04/15 4:00pm

It’s Survival Of The Most Useful When Protecting Species

Consensus is growing that we are steering towards a sixth mass extinction event. There are calls for increased efforts to stop the accelerating loss of plants and animals. But do we really need to protect all species from global extinction? » 1/13/15 6:40am 1/13/15 6:40am

This Orangutan Is Now A Legally Recognized Nonhuman Person In Argentina

History was made this past weekend in Buenos Aires when an appeals court ruled that an orangutan held in a zoo is a nonhuman person unlawfully deprived of its right to bodily autonomy. » 12/22/14 2:20pm 12/22/14 2:20pm

How The Military Could Turn Your Mind Into The Next Battlefield

Long a staple of science fiction, the idea of creating weapons that can disrupt or alter the cognitive processes of enemy combatants is starting to become reality. Inspired by recent advances in neuroscience, the U.S. military is considering the potential for "neuro-cognitive weapons". Here's what you need to know… » 12/19/14 11:09am 12/19/14 11:09am

Babies With 'Three' Parents Are About To Become A Reality In Britain

The U.K. is set to be the first country in the world to legalize a controversial three-parent reproductive technique. » 12/18/14 4:00pm 12/18/14 4:00pm

Conservation Scientists Sign Global Treaty To Recognize Animal Culture

Last month, delegates at the UN Convention on Migratory Species passed an unprecedented resolution acknowledging that some social animals have culture, and that conservation scientists need to be sensitive to this if their efforts are to be effective. » 12/15/14 2:20pm 12/15/14 2:20pm

No, HPV Vaccines Don't Make Girls Promiscuous

A Canadian study shows that HPV shots don't make girls promiscuous, as some parents have feared. But given that HPV causes about 70% of cervical cancers, this is hardly something we should be worrying about. » 12/09/14 2:30pm 12/09/14 2:30pm

Why An Appeals Court Was Wrong To Say This Chimp Isn't A Person

Yesterday, a New York appeals court rejected a lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project seeking legal rights for Tommy, a 26-year-old chimp kept alone in a warehouse. Here's why the judges were wrong — and why that's actually good news in the struggle to recognize nonhuman animal personhood. » 12/05/14 9:20am 12/05/14 9:20am

[UPDATED] Why the U.S. Is One of the Cruelest Places in the World for…

The United States prides itself on being a country of animal lovers. But when it comes to the ethical treatment of lab animals, few countries perform worse. Here's how the U.S. practices measure up to the rest of the world. [UPDATE: io9 has editorial concerns with this article.] » 11/26/14 11:00am 11/26/14 11:00am

China Is Testing An Unproven Malaria Drug On An Entire African Nation

The tiny island nation of Comoros off Africa's east coast is being treated as a massive guinea pig experiment for Chinese scientists. More than 700,000 people have been given doses of an untested malaria drug that appears to be working. Regardless, critics are outraged by the approach. » 11/11/14 11:20am 11/11/14 11:20am

Want to Stay Healthy? You'll Need to Become a Human-Animal Hybrid.

Biologists have been mixing the DNA of different animals since the 1970s, but the idea of injecting the genes of animals into humans remains taboo. Called transgenics, it's a practice that could cure illness in the future — and eventually reshape our species. Here's what you need to know about it. » 10/15/14 11:25am 10/15/14 11:25am

Man Turned His Amputated Leg Into A Real-Life Leg Lamp

It didn't end up looking like the "major award" from A Christmas Story, but a Dutch man succeeded in turning his amputated leg into a floor lamp. But not before engaging in a battle with the hospital over what he could and couldn't do with his own disembodied body part. » 9/24/14 10:40am 9/24/14 10:40am

It's Time to Destroy Corporate Personhood

The United States is one of only a few countries in the world that recognizes corporations as persons. It's a so-called "legal fiction" that's meant to uphold the rights of groups and to smooth business processes. But it's a dangerous concept that's gone too far — and could endanger social freedoms in the future. » 7/21/14 11:00am 7/21/14 11:00am

Blood Of 2 Million Babies Found In Indiana Warehouse

For over 20 years, the state of Indiana hoarded the blood of newborns without their parents' consent. If your child was born in Indiana after 1991, chances are his or her blood sample is one of an estimated 2.5-million specimens currently stored in a warehouse, the location of which state officials have not disclosed. » 7/19/14 2:00pm 7/19/14 2:00pm

Bioethicists Defend Facebook's Controversial Mood Study

Saying it could have "a chilling effect on valuable research," over 30 ethicists have put their signatures on a column claiming that Facebook's clandestine and manipulative mood study was not inappropriate. » 7/18/14 9:30am 7/18/14 9:30am

9 Unexpected Outcomes Of Human Cloning

Human cloning is currently illegal in virtually all parts of the world, but that doesn't mean it will stay that way. Here are some surprising things we can expect once we're finally allowed to make genetic duplicates of ourselves. » 7/17/14 9:17am 7/17/14 9:17am

Why A "Sex Chip" Could Be Considerably More Trouble Than It's Worth

The ability to trigger feelings of extreme pleasure on-demand is a prospect that's fascinated both scifi writers and scientists for decades. Indeed, the day is coming when we'll be able induce orgasmic-like sensations at the flick of a switch — a prospect with obvious appeal, but with some serious downsides. » 6/05/14 8:00am 6/05/14 8:00am