All Gene-Editing Research Should Proceed Cautiously, Scientists Conclude

“The official statement, which says work altering human germ lines should remain only in the lab, caps a three-day summit on using technology to alter the human genome”

And a second article on the subject

“Improving” Humans with Customized Genes Sparks Debate among Scientists”

Pet micro pigs? Chinese biotech firm says it will sell very small swine

This article offers us another example of the ceaseless advancement of new and innovative applications of genetic engineering. With all this advancement come more questions about the ethics of such techniques.

“What rules should apply to gene editing is an increasingly pressing question for not just agencies such as the FDA but also scientists and medical ethicists as the technique moves from the animal world to the human realm. Although gene editing holds the promise of significant medical breakthroughs, it also could open a Pandora’s box of eugenic-like applications.”

As British scientists seek to edit the genes of embryos; bioethicists warn of potential dangers

“It was the first time edits had been confirmed to have been done on reproductive cells and the news caused deep divisions within the scientific community. Some expressed optimism and hope that such research could eventually lead to the eradication of genetic diseases from the face of the Earth. Others were horrified — warning that genetically modifying humans is unsafe and could have devastating consequences on future generations of our race that no one can foresee.”

How hard is it to clean up the scientific literature?

“Because the goal is supposed to be a body of reliable knowledge upon which the whole scientific community can draw to build more knowledge, it’s especially problematic when particular pieces of the scientific literature turn out to be dishonest or misleading. Fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism are varieties of dishonesty that members of the scientific community look upon as high crimes. Indeed, they are activities that are defined as scientific misconduct and (at least in theory) prosecuted vigorously.”

Radiolab Podcasat: The Trust Engineers

“When we talk online, things can go south fast. But they don’t have to. Today, we meet a group of social engineers who are convinced that tiny changes in wording can make the online world a kinder, gentler place. So long as we agree to be their lab rats.

Ok, yeah, we’re talking about Facebook. Because Facebook, or something like it, is more and more the way we share and like, and gossip and gripe. And because it’s so big, Facebook has a created a laboratory of human behavior the likes of which we’ve never seen. We peek into the work of Arturo Bejar and a team of researchers who are tweaking our online experience, bit by bit, to try to make the world a better place. And along the way we can’t help but wonder whether that’s possible, or even a good idea.”

A Lasting Gift to Medicine That Wasn’t Really a Gift

“The story began in January 1951, when Mrs. Lacks was found to have cervical cancer. She was treated with radium at Johns Hopkins, the standard of care in that day, but there was no stopping the cancer. Her doctor had never seen anything like it. Within months, her body was full of tumors, and she died in excruciating pain that October. She was 31 and left five children, the youngest just a year old. She had been a devoted mother, and the children suffered terribly without her.”