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.
Eight U.S. Department of Defense brain studies, one at Arizona State University, are investigating ways to help soldiers learn more efficiently.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) hopes not just to make better sharpshooters, but also to shorten training periods for translators, analysts and cryptographers — and, perhaps, to improve outcomes for soldiers with brain injury and memory loss.
Phoenix, Arizona, is not known for strong winds, but that all changes when monsoons annually deliver destructive downdrafts like the one that damaged its five-story Burton Barr Central Library. In this piece, and in the interview that follows it, I clear up some of the confusion that still whirls around these blasts.