Category: Science

Putting a Price on Life

How much would you be willing to pay for your life? If you’re one of 3,100 young Americans living with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), the current asking price is $475,000. In August of 2017, the FDA approved a groundbreaking gene therapy to treat this specific type of cancer. The treatment is called Kymriah, and… Read more »

Lost and Found: Searching for the World’s Lost Birds

For twelve days this October, a team of Brazilian birders and ornithologists performed an exhaustive search of Rio de Janeiro’s Atlantic Forest. Their target was the tiny Kinglet Calyptura, a bird so sought after it is often called the “Holy Grail” of South American birding. For over one hundred years, the bird was as lost as… Read more »

The Three-Parent Baby: A Year Later

The scientific community is abuzz with reports that a few months ago, following fertility treatments in Mexico, a baby was born in New York to a Jordanian couple. Prior to the birth of this child, the couple had two children. Both suffered from Leigh syndrome, a disease resulting from mitochondrial defects that causes children to… Read more »

The Brave New World of Gene Editing

Biotechnology has progressed faster than our society’s ability to understand it. Our newfound powers raise serious ethical questions.

Fixing the Powerhouse of the Cell

The headlines are attention grabbing: “House of Lords Legalizes Three-Parent Babies”. But what exactly is a three-parent baby? And what does their legalization mean? Three-parent babies could be the answer to one of the most common and deadly genetic mutations. Mitochondrial mutations within a developing fetus can lead to crippling diseases throughout the child’s adult… Read more »

Healthcare: The Next Generation

Huntington’s disease (HD) is notoriously deadly. No cure and high rates of heritability make it a death sentence not only for the individual diagnosed, but also for immediate family members. Huntington’s hides inside a person’s genotype, and generally expresses itself when a person reaches 30-50 years of age. It causes the loss of mental faculties and… Read more »

Worldwide Access to Insulin Falls Short

Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition that, with current technology and a strong education, is manageable, yet remains the eighth leading cause of death worldwide. In individuals with Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas does not produce the insulin needed to allow sugar to enter the cells and produce energy. A diagnosis with diabetes used… Read more »

The Seeds of a Failed Agricultural Revolution

The benefits of a globalized agricultural economy has been extolled much in the same way that most neo-liberal policies have been championed in recent decades. The advantages, mostly economic, are often framed in the context of the efforts of developing countries to integrate themselves into an increasingly global trade system. Nowhere has this discussion on… Read more »

Sustainable Development Goals and the Private Sector

Saving the world is going to cost us a lot of money. Many people working in development, realizing this cold hard truth, have noticed the private sector – protecting troves of resources and piles of moneybags. The solution becomes clear, and the problems associated with it even clearer: can the goals of the private sector… Read more »