Better and worse ways to fiddle around with T-cells using CRISPR

By Monika Berezowska  “Because the first person to put it on paper wins!” – that’s how the committee of the 2018 International Summit on Genome Editing in Hong Kong justified their sharp criticism of a presentation He Jiankui made during the conference.  As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, He learned the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editingContinue reading “Better and worse ways to fiddle around with T-cells using CRISPR”

Chimeras: The ethics behind human ‘hybrids’.

By Easha Vigneswaran Chimeras are organisms that are composed of two distinct interspecific cell types and since their initial discovery they have forever changed the medical world. Providing a solution for the time-old issue of organ availability for transplantation, chimeras allow scientists to synthesise organs in an animal model that can then be inserted intoContinue reading “Chimeras: The ethics behind human ‘hybrids’.”

A Poorer Practice: The Consequences of Unethical Research

By Ethan Sim Ethics are ubiquitous normative statements which delimit societally acceptable behaviour, and thereby advise individual and collective action (Vanclay, Baines & Taylor, 2013). As scientific research primarily aims to benefit society (Rull, 2014), ethical standards, which permit discrimination between beneficial (“right”) and detrimental (“wrong”) research practices are necessary. Although, unethical research which floutsContinue reading “A Poorer Practice: The Consequences of Unethical Research”

Intellectual Property Rights and Vaccine Production

By Mark Comer The WHO recently criticised the “shocking” disparity in the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.  Twenty-seven countries in the EU and five other wealthy nations have secured approximately half of all Covid-19 vaccine doses (Mullard, 2020). The problem of inequal access to vaccines is apparent and numerous world leaders and former officials haveContinue reading “Intellectual Property Rights and Vaccine Production”

A Poorer Purpose: The Influence of Vested Interests

By Ethan Sim Impartiality is a cornerstone of scientific inquiry (Lacey, 1997), and undergirds science’s ability to accurately inform human understanding and policy (Oliver & Boaz, 2019). Scientific impartiality is often juxtaposed against vested interests – secondary goals which diverge from the primary aim of elucidating truth (Babor, Miller & Edwards, 2010). When these interestsContinue reading “A Poorer Purpose: The Influence of Vested Interests”

Should Tech Companies Be Trusted to Read our Brains?

By Anushka Gupta  Humans are always finding ways to use technology to good use, especially in the medical industry. The BRAIN initiative stems from this idea, such that it is a public-private alliance of companies (including NIH, FDA and NSF amongst others) with the purpose of seeking a way to ‘deepen understanding of the innerContinue reading “Should Tech Companies Be Trusted to Read our Brains?”

A Poorer Perspective: The Prominence of Publication Bias

By Ethan Sim Empiricism and objectivity undergird the reliability of scientific research (Nature Medicine, 2001) by inspiring investigative and publicatory rigour (Prager et al., 2018). However, the nexus between significant results and career progression (Joober et al., 2012) creates publication bias: an incentive to prioritise such results for publication, which ultimately undermines scientific progress (NatureContinue reading “A Poorer Perspective: The Prominence of Publication Bias”

Evolutionary warfare; a solution or a threat?

By Jemima Frame Genetics is an ever-growing field in biology, with new techniques and technologies still being discovered. With these new discoveries come new potential uses, one of these being evolutionary warfare. For the past 20 or so years there has been research into how to alter certain species genomes in order to reduce theirContinue reading “Evolutionary warfare; a solution or a threat?”

The Biology underlying Human morality

By William Carter The roots of human morality have long been attested to lie in our likeness to the divine, and discussion on the matter reserved for philosophers. This article will make the case that there are innate human morals arise from our evolutionary process and are enshrined in our genome. Developmental psychology for manyContinue reading “The Biology underlying Human morality”

Gene-Editing Baby: A Blessing or a Curse?

By Helen Luojia Zhang Genome editing technologies enable modifications of DNA sequences in many organisms, leading to changes in the phenotypes. They have been largely applied in areas such as agriculture, medicine, and research. The discovery of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas9 (CRISPR associated protein 9) genome editing tool is a technical revolution,Continue reading “Gene-Editing Baby: A Blessing or a Curse?”