FDA to study “three-parent embryos”
On February 25 and 26 the US Food and Drug Administration will discuss the possibility of legalising three-parent embryos – or, in scientific lingo, “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease or treatment of infertility”.
This procedure, which involves removing the nucleus from one human egg whose cytoplasm contains defective mitochondria and placing it in an enucleated egg with healthy DNA for subsequent fertilisation, is also being debated in the UK.
The measure is strongly opposed by the Center for Genetics and Society, which is promoting an open letter to the FDA. It claims that mitochondrial transfer is unsafe, is effectively experimentation on unconsenting human subjects, and would only help a handful of women. Most importantly, it constitutes germline modification, a form of eugenics. This is a bright line which no country has ever stepped across.
We strongly believe that clinical trials … should not be permitted because of the profound safety, efficacy, policy and social problems they would pose. We question the ethics of bringing children into existence by experimental techniques that have had developmentally poor outcomes in studies using both animal and human oocytes. We are also concerned about the contravention of widespread prohibitions against human germline genetic modification that approval of clinical trials would represent, and about the possible precedent such approval could set for additional human germline modifications.
This is a copy of the full article provided by BioEdge
(Photo: Discovered on BioEdge)
With stem cell technology constantly advancing, the dream of artificial (or synthetic) gametes comes ever closer. Last September Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, hosted a conference on “Artificial Gametes: Science and Ethics” (no papers available at the moment). The creation of artificial gametes would represent the triumph of technology over the limitations of natural reproduction. Now that it seems feasible… Read more →
Have you ever seen someone wearing Google Glass out at the bar? Like a real person at a real bar actually wearing Google Glass? If so, you know how absolutely ridiculous they look. Which may be the only factor we have that will stop this: A new app will allow total strangers to ID you and pull up all your… Read more →
You’ve probably heard that diabetes is a huge and growing problem—affecting one in every 19 people on the planet. But you may not be familiar with the daily struggle that many people with diabetes face as they try to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Uncontrolled blood sugar puts people at risk for a range of dangerous complications, some short-term and others longer term, including damage to the eyes, kidneys and heart. A friend of ours told us she worries about her mom, who once passed out from low blood sugar and drove her car off the road.
Many people I’ve talked to say managing their diabetes is like having a part-time job. Glucose levels change frequently with normal activity like exercising or eating or even sweating. Sudden spikes or precipitous drops are dangerous and not uncommon, requiring round-the-clock monitoring. Although some people wear glucose monitors with a glucose sensor embedded under their skin, all people with diabetes must still prick their finger and test drops of blood throughout the day. It’s disruptive, and it’s painful. And, as a result, many people with diabetes check their blood glucose less often than they should.
Over the years, many scientists have investigated various body fluids—such as tears—in the hopes of finding an easier way for people to track their glucose levels. But as you can imagine, tears are hard to collect and study. At Google[x], we wondered if miniaturized electronics—think: chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair—might be a way to crack the mystery of tear glucose and measure it with greater accuracy.
Google Official Blog has the full article
(Picture: Google Official Blog)
The past few years have seen a surging interest in the international scientific movement to “help end human death.” It fears no mechanics and abhors the imperfections of the human body. Transhumanism is snowballing into an international movement aggressively defying human nature and embracing machines. The current wave of debate surrounding the concept began with The Transhumanist Wager, a novel about the possibilities of… Read more →
Polar sea ice increased 50% over last year, growing from 6,000 to 9,000 cubic kilometers when compared to the same period in 2012. Moreover, this year’s multi-year ice is 30 cm thicker than last year, and scientists claim that thick, multi-year ice indicates healthy Arctic sea-ice cover. <p”>The results were revealed by the European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat satellite mission. The CryoSat-2… Read more →
Google buys military robot-maker Boston Dynamics
Google has acquired the engineering company that developed Cheetah, the world’s fastest-running robot and other animalistic mobile research machines.
Boston Dynamics, which contracts for the US military, is the eighth robotics company snapped up by Google this year.
Both the price and size of the project, which is led by former Android boss Andy Rubin, are being kept under wraps.
However, analysts say the purchases signal a rising interest in robotics use by consumer internet companies.
Online shopping portal Amazon, for example, recently announced plans to deploy a fleet of delivery drones.
In a statement posted on the Google Plus service, Chief Executive Larry Page said:
“I am excited about Andy Rubin’s next project. His last big bet, Android, started off as a crazy idea that ended up putting a supercomputer in hundreds of millions of pockets. It is still very early days for this, but I can’t wait to see the progress.”
BBC has the full article
Amazon wants to use drones to deliver parcels
Online retailer Amazon is looking at using drones to deliver small packages to its customers. The company has released a video which shows how the service, Amazon Prime Air, would use a GPS system to carry packages weighing up to 5 pounds to people within a 10-mile radius of its distribution centres. However, CEO Jeff Bezos admitted that drone delivery would probably not come into service for four or five years. Report by Jeremy Barnes.
Watch Amanda Rose give her perspective on bees.
World’s first 3D printed metal gun unveiled
Engineers at the Texas team of a custom manufacturing company want to make 3D printing more than a novelty, and may have accomplished just that with their latest endeavor: a high-powered, fully functioning metal handgun.
The team at Solid Concepts announced this week that that they’ve successfully designed, printed, assembled and (accurately) fired a 1911 pistol created using digital blueprints that were fed through an industrial 3D printer loaded with powdered metals.
“We’re proving this is possible,” Kent Firestone, Sound Concepts’ VP of additive manufacturing, said in a statement this week. “[T]he technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Printing.”
RT has the full article