From Star Wars to Real Life: New Prosthesis Transforms Lives

April 19, 2016. Read article in MIT Technology Review. Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the DEKA arm is radically transforming the nature of upper body prostheses. Its sophisticated electrical and battery systems enable wearers to perform such delicate tasks as picking up a grape and tie shoelaces, while also providing sufficient power to use tools such as a hand drill. As prosthetic technology becomes increasingly advanced, these artificial limbs could surpass the functionality of natural...

Plan to Fabricate a Genome Raises Questions on Designer Humans

June 2, 2016: Read article in MIT Technology Review. A group of scientists have proposed a research plan to fabricate the human genome, but their proposal does not tackle any of the looming ethical difficulties of such an endeavor. However, one of the main authors of the proposal has made his viewpoint clear in a book published in 2012: George Church of Harvard, author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves, believes that this technology can and should allow mankind to further evolve itself and the rest of nature with it, according to scientific...

11 Body Parts Grown in the Lab

January 26, 2015: Read article in Live Science. Growing human organs in laboratories has increasingly become a focus of medical research, with scientists hoping to one day be able to produce organs for transplant in a...

First Monkeys with Autism Created in China

January 25, 2015: Read article in MIT Technology Review. Scientists in China say they used genetic engineering to create monkeys with a version of autism, and they now plan to attempt to reverse the symptoms by erasing the genetic error in live animals using new genome-editing technologies such as CRISPR. They hope that this work will one day lead to a cure for autism and change the way we study human disabilities. However, their research raises several ethical questions related to genetic engineering and animal welfare, as well as practical considerations over how accurate a model of autism their genetically engineered monkeys...

Pope Francis Said to Bless Human-Animal Chimeras

January 27, 2016: Read article in MIT Technology Review. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a prominent stem-cell biologist, is engaged in efforts to grow human tissue inside of farm animals such as pigs, sheep, and cows. This type of research is sensitive because scientists have to inject human stem cells into early-stage animal embryos, then try to implant the embryos into surrogate animals in the hopes of producing fully-formed human organs for transplant. Belmonte told Scientific American that Pope Francis has personally blessed this ethically questionable research which may blur the line between human and...

Head Transplant Performed on Monkey, Claims Surgeon

January 20, 2016: Read article in Discovery News. Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero is moving ahead with plans to perform a human head transplant in 2017, with his volunteer patient Valery Spiridonov. Canavero has now announced that he recently performed a successful head transplant on a monkey, although he has not published a peer-reviewed article on the subject as of...