The media is abuzz with news of researchers at Cornell University successfully creating the first genetically engineered human embryo, and critics argue that this is a first step towards “designer babies.” But this is not necessarily a slippery slope, and we must consider that the potential rewards of this work are immense.
The Associated Press reports that over 200 million children worldwide do not have access to basic health care. As a result, about 10 million children, most from the developing world, die each year from treatable illnesses.
One wonders how much of a public health crisis we need before we rethink our vaccine exemption policies—particularly given that misconceptions floating around about a connection between vaccines and autism are driving more parents to opt against MMR.
Dr. Arno Motulsky, who is now 87, essentially launched the field of pharmacogenomics, which studies how an individual’s genetic makeup affects his or her response to medication, in 1957. The New York Times Science section recently featured an interview with Dr. Motulsky, who has a hopeful but cautionary attitude about the future of genetic medicine.
On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on a contaminant in blood thinner heparin that caused 81 deaths. Federal regulators now believe the contamination was deliberate, identifying a Chinese subsidiary of Scientific Protein Laboratories. It is no longer realistic to expect the FDA to make informed decisions if it does not have the resources to undertake foreign inspections.
Attention in the news to conflicts of interest within the medical profession seems to be on the rise. This is an issue that deserves serious scrutiny, particularly given how permissive the attitude of the medical community has been so far.
The Science Times section in the NYT today has a short profile on Francisco J. Ayala, author of Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion. Dr. Ayala is an evolutionary biologist and geneticist at the University of California, Irvine. He spends much of his time lecturing on evolution and its compatibility with belief in God.
Report to the president fails on both academic and public policy levels to shine a meaningful light on human dignity and bioethics.
Reporting on the work of the Hinxton Group, experts explained the state of the science and criticized policies that aim to avoid all ethical disagreement by banning research.