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

​Peter Singer and David Brin to speak at animal personhood conference

The final list of speakers has been announced for Personhood Beyond the Human, a conference devoted to the issue of granting human-like legal protections to a select group of highly sapient nonhuman animals. » 11/22/13 2:34pm 11/22/13 2:34pm

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

These moronic hunters actually shot and killed a rare albino moose

My, don't they look proud. But after shooting this rare albino moose near Belle Cote in Nova Scotia last week — and posting the pics to social media — the trio has sparked considerable outrage, particularly among the region's Mi'kmaq indigenous community. » 10/09/13 6:20am 10/09/13 6:20am

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

9 Philosophical Thought Experiments That Will Keep You Up at Night

Sometimes, the best way to illustrate a complicated philosophical concept is by framing it as a story or situation. Here are nine such thought experiments with downright disturbing implications. » 9/18/13 10:00am 9/18/13 10:00am

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

Why You Should Fight For Your Right to Die

It should be within our rights to take our own lives when the circumstances warrant it. That means we must be prepared to accept laws in favor of assisted suicide. This becomes even more important in light of potential technologies that could grant us extreme longevity. » 6/06/13 2:00pm 6/06/13 2:00pm