Category Archives: Law

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S. by Scientists

An eight-cell human embryo. Image courtesy Robert Wood Johnson Medical School IVF program.

For the first time in the U.S., scientists have genetically modified human embryos. The technique could help screen out heritable diseases, but many worry where it might ultimately lead.

As rumors spread in advance of the publication, the story sparked comparisons with films like Gattaca and books like Brave New World, with their themes of genetic discrimination, DNA-as-destiny and the social dangers of tampering with human heredity.

But the research’s most important — and, to some, troubling — aspect lies in the fact that it alters the hereditary DNA known as the germline.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
First Human Embryos Edited In U.S. By Scientists

Reclassification “Un-Endangers” Arizona Vole

The critter formerly known as the Hualapai Mexican vole. Credit: George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the Hualapai Mexican vole (Microtus mexicanus hualpaiensis) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife because genetic research shows that it’s not a separate subspecies.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Arizona Vole Removed From Endangered Species List

The Foggy Future of Refrigerants

Freon tanks await recycling. Image courtesy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stable, nontoxic refrigerants changed the world, transforming food storage, expanding Sun Belt populations, even helping early movie theaters succeed. But they also wrecked the ozone layer — Earth’s shield against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Today, as stockpiles dwindle — and prices rise — due to phase-outs set by the Montreal Protocols 30 years ago,  the future of Freon and its successors remains in doubt.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
As Stockpiles Dwindle, Freon Prices Rise

Clock Ticking for Mexican Wolf and Recovery Plan

Photo Courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.

After 30-plus years of wrangling, wildlife managers have yet to agree on a revised recovery plan for the endangered Mexican wolf. As a November deadline looms, a study by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and British Columbia’s Wildlife Genetics International offers guidance for finding common ground.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
As Deadline Looms For Mexican Wolf Plan, Arizona Study Offers Guidance

ASU Lab Takes Deep Dive into Dark Web

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The time to fix a security flaw is before it’s exploited — just ask the Clinton campaign or the World Anti-Doping Agency. So Arizona State University’s Paulo Shakarian tracks cyber threats to their origins: In the hard-to-access deep web and the secretive dark web.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
ASU Lab Tracking Cyber Threats On Deep Web, Dark Web