May 24, 2010
Molecular biologist J. Craig Venter's announcement last week sounded like something out of a science-fiction film (or a Michael Crichton thriller): His team created living bacteria cells from genetic material designed by computer and assembled in a laboratory. Venter didn't exactly pull a Dr. Frankenstein — bacteria aren't complex organisms, and Venter's team didn't start completely from scratch. Still, his feat raises difficult questions about the expanding boundaries of science and the nature of life.
June 27, 2000 |
The first draft of the entire human genome ultimately will bring a wealth of scientific knowledge about ourselves. But it could also bring a heap of trouble. Controversial advances that push society to the edge of the scientific frontier frequently pose ethical dilemmas before public policy has had a chance to address them, bioethicists say.
October 28, 2011 |
The X Prize Foundation, which offers monetary awards for solutions to pressing scientific challenges, has tackled space travel, moon missions and oil spill cleanups. Now it's taking on the human genome. The Archon Genomics X Prize presented by Medco is challenging teams to accurately sequence the DNA of 100 centenarians within 30 days at $1,000 or less per genome. The first team to complete the task successfully will receive $10 million, and the sequenced genomes will be published for use in research.
January 7, 2007 |
EVERY YEAR SINCE 1996, the online salon Edge has e-mailed a question to scientists and thinkers about the state of the world. This year's question was: "What are you optimistic about?" Below are excerpts of some of the responses. For full responses (and those of other contributors), go to www.edge.org.
May 30, 2011 |
Instead of sending its employees to space, NASA is building them an office of the future closer to home. The curvy, space-age building at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley incorporates technology used by astronauts and will be one of a few structures in the state that can generate more electricity than it consumes. Construction won't be complete until mid-July, but the federal government is already calling the $20-million facility its green building of the year. It has a name only government officials could love — the Sustainability Base — but it is generating a lot of buzz among businesses and government agencies trying to be more green.
December 13, 2000 |
Leaders of the publicly led drive to crack the human genetic code have quietly refused to submit the research paper describing their findings to the same scientific journal as their private-sector rivals, puncturing a truce announced with great fanfare in June by President Clinton. The move revives one of the fiercest rivalries of modern science, which pits the publicly led Human Genome Project against biotech upstart Celera Genomics.
January 18, 2013 |
Scouring information available to anyone with an Internet connection, a team of genetic sleuths deduced the names of dozens of supposedly anonymous people who had their DNA analyzed for scientific and medical research. The snooping feat, which took advantage of genealogy websites that let people compare their DNA to search for relatives, was in full compliance with federal privacy regulations. Experts said it underscored a stark reality about genetic privacy in the age of social media: Don't count on it. "Nobody can promise privacy," said Mildred Cho, who heads up Stanford University's Center for Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics, and wasn't involved with the study.
June 27, 2000 |
Everybody has a particular way of entering a room. Francis Collins' is to come in quietly behind controversial figures. In 1992, Collins took charge of the publicly led Human Genome Project after James D. Watson, the voluble co-discoverer of DNA's structure, quit in a spat with his government superiors. He was pushed farther into the limelight when J. Craig Venter, the mercurial president of Celera Genomics, announced his determination to beat Collins' team to cracking the genetic code.
December 8, 2000 |
The prestigious journal Science is on the verge of striking an unusual bargain: In return for the right to publish a path-breaking paper on the human genetic code, it would allow the paper's biotech company authors to make their supporting data accessible only to those who promise not to use them for commercial or certain other purposes.
April 5, 2000 |
Monsanto Co. said Tuesday that it has completed "a working draft" of the genetic code of the rice plant--paving the way for improved nutrition, crop yields and drought tolerance, traits needed to feed a growing world population. It is the first plant genome to reach this advanced stage of completion, and scientists say it is especially significant because almost half of the world's people, most of them in Asia, depend on rice as the main staple in their diet.