Archive for the ‘genetics’ category: Page 133

Dec 17, 2015

Ethics on the near-future battlefield

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, cyborgs, ethics, food, genetics, military, neuroscience, robotics/AI

US army’s report visualises augmented soldiers & killer robots.

The US Army’s recent report “Visualizing the Tactical Ground Battlefield in the Year 2050” describes a number of future war scenarios that raise vexing ethical dilemmas. Among the many tactical developments envisioned by the authors, a group of experts brought together by the US Army Research laboratory, three stand out as both plausible and fraught with moral challenges: augmented humans, directed-energy weapons, and autonomous killer robots. The first two technologies affect humans directly, and therefore present both military and medical ethical challenges. The third development, robots, would replace humans, and thus poses hard questions about implementing the law of war without any attending sense of justice.

Augmented humans. Drugs, brain-machine interfaces, neural prostheses, and genetic engineering are all technologies that may be used in the next few decades to enhance the fighting capability of soldiers, keep them alert, help them survive longer on less food, alleviate pain, and sharpen and strengthen their cognitive and physical capabilities. All raise serious ethical and bioethical difficulties.

Continue reading “Ethics on the near-future battlefield” »

Dec 14, 2015

Evidence of a genetic ‘fountain of youth’ discovered

Posted by in categories: genetics, health, life extension

Scientists at ETH Zurich isolate genes for a longer, healthier life.

Read more

Dec 12, 2015

Technology Will Save Our Future, According To Japanese SF Author Taiyo Fujii

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, engineering, genetics, security

I’ve been increasingly interested in translated science fiction novels, and one of the best ones that I picked up this year was Taiyo Fujii’s debut Gene Mapper.

Gene Mapper takes place in a future where augmented reality and genetic engineering is commonplace. When a freelance gene mapper named Hayashida finds that a project that he had worked on is collapsing, he believes that it’s being sabotaged. Determined to fix it, he travels to Vietnam where he finds that there’s more behind the problem than he initially thought.

You can read a tie-in story over on Lightspeed Magazine, ‘Violation of the TrueNet Security Act’.

Read more

Dec 11, 2015

Britain should lead way on genetically engineered babies, says Chief Scientific Adviser

Posted by in category: genetics

But at a conference in London yesterday, Sir Mark Walport, who advises the government on scientific matters, said he believed there were ‘circumstances’ in which the genetic editing of human embyros could be ‘acceptable’.

Read more

Dec 4, 2015

Geneticists Are Concerned Transhumanists Will Use CRISPR on Themselves

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, transhumanism

A informative article by Vice Motherboard:

The biggest debate at the International Summit on Human Genome Editing is where to draw the line between “medical treatment” and “body enhancement.”

Read more

Dec 1, 2015

Biologists induce flatworms to grow heads and brains of other species

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Tufts biologists induced one species of flatworm —- G. dorotocephala, top left — to grow heads and brains characteristic of other species of flatworm, top row, without altering genomic sequence. Examples of the outcomes can be seen in the bottom row of the image. (credit: Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University.)

Tufts University biologists have electrically modified flatworms to grow heads and brains characteristic of another species of flatworm — without altering their genomic sequence. This suggests bioelectrical networks as a new kind of epigenetics (information existing outside of a genomic sequence) to determine large-scale anatomy.

Besides the overall shape of the head, the changes included the shape of the brain and the distribution of the worm’s adult stem cells.

Read more

Nov 29, 2015

Scientists show that gene editing can ‘turn off’ human diseases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Gene editing has already been used to fight diseases, but there’s now hope that it might eliminate the diseases altgether. Researchers have shown that it’s possible to eliminate facial muscular dystrophy using a newer editing technique, CRISPR (Clusters of Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) to replace the offending gene and ‘turn off’ the condition. The approach sends a mix of protein and RNA to bind to a gene and give it an overhaul.

This doesn’t mean that doctors suddenly have a cure-all on their hands. They haven’t tried CRISPR on real live people, and there’s no guarantee that it’d work with every genetic condition under the Sun. The initial test was only 50 percent effective, too. If this gene mending is useful in the field, though, it could do a lot to transform medicine. Doctors could treat the root cause of a genetic disease rather than deal with the symptoms, and possibly wipe it out entirely — or at least, make it more bearable.

[Image credit: Getty Images].

Read more

Nov 24, 2015

Hacking the Brain — Restoring Lost Abilities With the Latest Neurotechnologies

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, genetics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, Ray Kurzweil

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Ray Kurzweil’s wild prediction that in the 2030s, nanobots will connect our brains to the cloud, merging biology with the digital world.

Let’s talk about what’s happening today.

Over the past few decades, billions of dollars have been poured into three areas of research: neuroprosthetics, brain-computer interfaces and optogenetics.

Read more

Nov 20, 2015

Scientists Crack the Code to Protein Self-Assembly

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, genetics

New findings out of Duke University will allow medical researchers to act like computer programmers except with genetic code rather than digital.

Read more

Nov 15, 2015

Lost And Found: Can We Restore Forgotten Memories?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Memories are priceless, and the plight of dementia patients highlights how important they are to forming what makes us, well us. Now a new study has provided hope we may one day be able to restore lost memories.

Clearing the mist

A paper from researchers at MIT has demonstrated the reactivation of memories in amnesia patients with optogenetics — in which cell activity is controlled by bursts of light.

Read more