Researchers Clone Stem Cells From Human Adults

Scientists from South Korea have devised a technique for cloning adult stem cells that doesn't involve the destruction of human embryos. The resulting stem cells, which are highly personalized, could be used to treat illnesses such as heart disease and blindness — but the technique could also be used to clone adults. » 4/18/14 6:00pm Friday 6:00pm

Russian scientists: We have a "high chance" of cloning a wooly mammoth

An exquisitely preserved wooly mammoth is currently undergoing an autopsy in Siberia. Some experts believe they'll be able to extract high quality DNA and cells from the remains which could conceivably be used to clone the extinct mammal. The question now is, should we? » 3/14/14 8:00am 3/14/14 8:00am

Bioengineered monkeys with human genetic diseases have almost arrived

Looking to create more accurate experimental models for human diseases, biologists have created transgenic monkeys with "customized" mutations. It's considered a breakthrough in the effort to produce more human-like monkeys — but the ethics of all this are dubious at best. » 1/31/14 2:00pm 1/31/14 2:00pm

Would you let this woman keep her dead husband's sperm?

In February 2012, Beth Warren's husband Warren Brewer died of a brain tumor. His sperm was stored in 2005, prior to radiotherapy, and Brewer made it clear that his wife could use the samples following his death. Now, legal regulations could prevent Warren from using the samples to conceive a child, should she choose to … » 12/04/13 8:50am 12/04/13 8:50am

What will jail terms be like when humans can live for centuries?

Radical life extension is coming. That means future societies will have to do a dramatic rethink of our ideas about how long offenders should be imprisoned and — more crucially — the ways they'll be rehabilitated. » 11/11/13 11:03am 11/11/13 11:03am

Biologists Deliberately Hold Back Details on Deadly New Toxin

For the first time in over 40 years, scientists have discovered a new form of the toxin responsible for botulism. But they’re keeping many of the details about it a secret for fear that it could be turned into a deadly bioweapon — prompting some scientists to warn that this action can only hold further research back. » 10/11/13 11:20am 10/11/13 11:20am

Flatlining comatose patients may be more 'alive' than we realized

When working with patients in a deep coma, doctors interpret a flat EEG reading as a sign that the person is brain-dead and with little chance of waking up. But a new Canadian study raises the possibility of ongoing brain activity beneath that flat line. » 9/20/13 1:20pm 9/20/13 1:20pm

No, India did not just grant dolphins the status of humans

Contrary to widespread reports, the Indian government did not recently grant legal personhood status to dolphins. But it did abolish the use of dolphins in aquatic theme parks — an important precedent that could eventually inspire other countries to do the same. » 8/15/13 1:24pm 8/15/13 1:24pm

How Artificial Chromosomes Could Transform Humanity

Normally, an extra pair of chromosomes would be considered dangerous. But what if we could design our own? According to biologists, we could create custom-built chromosomes to fix a variety of health problems, and even give us new abilities. Here’s how a 24th pair of chromosomes could change our biologies forever. » 7/12/13 12:00pm 7/12/13 12:00pm

Would it be evil to build a functional brain inside a computer?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about using supercomputers to simulate the human brain. But as scientists get progressively closer to achieving this goal, they’re going to have to consider the ethics involved. By making minds that live inside machines, we run the risk of inflicting serious harm. » 6/27/13 11:20am 6/27/13 11:20am

No, dolphins are not your 'therapists.' So just stop it.

Though it might not fit with New Age dolphin lore, the reality is that dolphins, even those born in captivity, are wild. There's absolutely no evidence to support the burgeoning practice of dolphin-assisted therapy. Here's why dolphins are not healers — and why this practice needs to stop. » 6/19/13 3:40pm 6/19/13 3:40pm

U.S. Supreme Court Says Human Genes Can't Be Patented. Sort of.

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States has declared that isolated chunks of human DNA cannot be patented. And thank goodness for that. But it's a ruling that comes with a compromise: Moving forward, companies can still patent synthetic genetic material. » 6/13/13 1:34pm 6/13/13 1:34pm

These Unresolved Ethical Questions Are About to Get Real

As our technologies take us from the theoretical to the practical, a number of thorny moral quandaries remain unanswered. Here are important unresolved ethical questions that are on the verge of becoming highly relevant. » 6/12/13 12:45pm 6/12/13 12:45pm