George Church

FDA approves 1st GM animal (fast-growing salmon) to eat

AquaAdvantage-Salmon

After a seemingly endless period of review, the FDA has approved the genetically modified (GM) AquaBounty salmon for sale and consumption. Update: You might find my interview with George Church on CRISPR and gene modification interesting. I don’t see any particular reason to think that this GM fish as a food would pose any significant …

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Claim of risky DIY gene therapy linked to unlicensed stem cell clinic

Elizabeth-Parrish

In a strange, but fascinating tale recounted by Antonio Regalado in an article over at MIT Tech Review, we hear the first claim of a do-it-yourself (DIY) gene therapy. The owner of a small biotech called BioViva, Elizabeth “Liz” Parrish, reportedly traveled from her home in Seattle to get an unapproved, experimental gene therapy in …

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Recommended thought-provoking books…and one I’ve been writing

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In choices of fictional books to read I gravitate toward sci-fi and fantasy. For example, in late 2014 and through the first few months of this year I read all the Game of Thrones books. The first three of those were the best and I thought definitely better than the TV show, although it’s pretty good …

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With CRISPR, is GMO also for Google?

GMO-google

Google is reportedly getting into the genetic modification business. It plans to use a sexy, new genetic technology called “gene drive”, which has both excited and unsettled scientists due to its great power to make GMOs in nature via reproductive chain reactions. This move toward genetic modification is part of a larger trend of Google …

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Why I Disagree with Steven Pinker On CRISPR

Steve-Pinker

Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has been making the case recently that when it comes to novel biotechnologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 that bioethics should just get out of the way. Further, he has argued that we do not need a moratorium on clinical use of CRISPR-Cas9 for human genetic modification. In fact, he says that …

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Conversation with Harmit Malik on Gene Drive & Genetics

Harmit-Malik

Gene drive is a powerful, emerging genetic technology that can force genetic modification into an entire population. For more background on gene drive you can read my previous post. It’s a very exciting, but potentially dangerous technology with sizable possible risks. Recently I had an intriguing conversation with leading geneticist Harmit Malik on gene drive. What …

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Why interview Steven Pinker on my blog if I strongly disagree with him?

blog-ethos

Earlier this week I posted an interview with Steven Pinker on CRISPR, human germline modification, and bioethics. With only a few exceptions, I strongly disagree with Pinker’s philosophy in these areas and I knew going into the interview that his answers would likely go against my own views. I also expected the interview would anger …

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Exciting CRISPR-powered “gene drive” also has scientists deeply concerned

Gene-Drive

Scientists studying genetics are both excited and worried about a powerful, new technology called “gene drive“. Some have been raising serious concerns about gene drive and in certain cases calling for proactive regulation, which is unusual in science. This method is so powerful because it is designed to induce genetic changes in an entire population …

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Interview with transhumanism leader Maria Konovalenko

Maria-Konovalenko

The transhumanism movement has been garnering attention lately for a variety of views including embracing aspects of heritable human genetic modification. Earlier this year I interviewed geneticist and transhumanist, George Church. In this post I interview molecular biophysicist and transhumanist Maria Konovalenko. She is the program coordinator at the Science for Life Extension Foundation. In …

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Biotechnology & the Ethical Imagination – A Preview of BEINGS summit

beings-logo

Later this May, I will attend and participate in Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination (BEINGS 2015). This is an exciting and experimental summit that will focus on advances in cellular biotechnology – including both stem cell science and synthetic biology. The meeting is premised on the idea that the implications of increasing biotechnology power are …

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