NEJM Debates Repairing Human Germlines  Michael Cook  11-18-17

With the rapid advance in gene-editing technology, the time has come to consider how to ethical trials, according to an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. Bryan Cwik, a philosopher at Portland State University, in Oregon, zeroes in on some unprecedented difficulties in designing trials of modifying the human germline.

Cwik argues that “intergenerational monitoring” will be needed, not just of the first generation of modified children, but of …

Deletion of a Stem Cell Factor Promotes Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery in Mice

Science Daily  UT Southwestern Medical Center  November 17, 2017

UT Southwestern molecular biologists today report the unexpected finding that selectively deleting a stem cell transcription factor in adult mice promotes recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines TBI as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function, ranging from mild — brief changes in mental status — to severe, marked by an extended

Investigating Patterns of Degeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease

Science Daily  Brigham & Women’s Hospital  November 17, 2017

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is known to cause memory loss and cognitive decline, but other functions of the brain can remain intact. The reasons cells in some brain regions degenerate while others are protected is largely unknown. In a paper to be published in Stem Cell Reports, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found that factors encoded in the DNA of brain cells contribute to

‘Chemical surgery’ Used to Mend Harmful Mutations in Human Embryos

The Guardian  Ian Sample Science Editor 9-28-17

Scientists have used the technique, also known as ‘base editing’, for the first time in human embryos to change a single letter in a faulty gene.

Researchers in China have used a procedure described as “chemical surgery” to mend harmful mutations in human embryos for the first time.

The scientists found that it was possible to repair a faulty gene that gives rise to a serious blood disorder …

The CRISPR revolution: Getting ahead of the ethical curve

CWR  Sister Renee Mirkes 9-25-17

If you’ve been following science headlines, you know that the CRISPR revolution is a real speedboat, clipping along at a breakneck pace. The aim of this essay is to equip this CRISPR ship with moral ballast before it runs afoul of ethical hazards (Part Two). To do that, we have to first school ourselves in facts and concepts about genetic engineering in general and CRISPR-Cas9 in particular (Part One).


Ectogenesis: The End of the Abortion Debate?  by Xavier Symons | 28 Oct 2017

Ectogenesis, or the gestation of fetus in an environment ex utero, was once an idea confined to the realm of science fiction. But research involving the incubation of premature lambs in artificial gestation bags has made pundits think that fetal development ex utero may soon be possible.

The possibility of ectogenesis raises significant ethical questions, such as this: “will ecogenesis allow us to reconcile pro-choice and pro-life …