An industrial revolution on a minute scale is taking place in laboratories at The University of Manchester with the development of a highly complex machine that mimics how molecules are made in nature.
When the nurse asks you to disrobe for a checkup… when the doctor inspects your organs… when the dentist invades your mouth.. do you palpitate with sexual imaginings? Naughty thoughts about our medical practitioners isn’t perverse… it’s pervasive!
By Ramez Naam, adjunct faculty at Singularity University and fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Ramez explores the impacts of neurotechnology on individuals, governments, and civil liberties in his new novel Nexus. What...
There are lots of popular articles I could point to, but let’s start with a recent series in Time that included eight online features and the Dec. 13 cover story, ominously titled “The DNA Dilemma.”
The series, written by Bonnie Rochman, is thoroughly reported, balanced, and full of fascinating personal stories about children whose genomes have been sequenced. It’s also timely: The primary question Rochman raises—how much information is too much information?—has been dominating commentaries about genetic testing in the medical literature.
But this is the wrong question, or at least one that’s becoming increasingly irrelevant. The personal genomics horse has bolted, and yet many paternalistic members of the medical community are still trying to shut the barn door. In doing so, they’re fostering a culture of DNA fear when what we really need is a realistic and nuanced genetics education.
There are many kinds of genetic tests, but most of the hoopla revolves around whole-genome sequences—the impossibly long, letter-by-letter readouts of the DNA inside the nucleus of each of your cells. In 2003, the first human genome was fully sequenced for just shy of $3 billion. Today a doctor can order yours for around $10,000.
Though dropping every day, the cost is still prohibitive enough that most people who get their genome sequenced are part of a medical research study. But the technology is beginning to seep into everyday clinical settings, especially for children with rare diseases. In either situation, the doctor or researcher might inadvertently discover genomic information—known as “incidental findings” in the scientific literature and “dark DNA secrets” in one of the Timearticles—that has nothing to do with the child’s sickness or the study at hand. Hence the big dilemma: How much do patients want to know? How much do they need to know?
The hand-held scanners, or tricorders, of the Star Trek movies and television series are one step closer to reality now that an engineering team has invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation.
Mars One, a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands, intends to establish a human settlement on Mars in 2023. Anyone on planet Earth can apply if they meet the basic requirements. But obviously, the job isn't for just anyone.