Science With Borders

January 14, 2019

A debate over genetic sequences and national rights threatens to inhibit research

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Prolonged social isolation can do severe, long-lasting damage to the brain

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Animals like chimpanzees are autonomous beings with rich emotional lives, says animal rights lawyer Steven Wise. He’s working to get courts to recognize them as “legal persons” and grant them rights

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Julian Savulescu presents hypothetical cases to explore whether safe and effective gene therapy ought to be compulsory

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You’ve probably heard the story of Henrietta Lacks’ cells, which spawned more than 17,000 patents, a bestselling book and a made-for-TV movie starring Oprah. The cancer cells were harvested from Lacks’ cervix without her consent in 1951. According to Johns Hopkins, where doctors took the cells, the resulting “immortal” cell line, known as HeLa, has contributed to medical breakthroughs

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“The allegiance of a health provider is really irrelevant if they’re providing health care,” our Leonard Rubenstein comments, “A doctor or a nurse is ethically supposed to provide care for everyone.”

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Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Institute, raises some cautions. “There’s kind of a range of issues that people need to think about before they swab their cheek and send their credit card,”. Kahn said that besides the potential of unearthing long-buried family secrets, there’s the issue of what happens to the data. Many consumers don’t realize that if they agree to all the terms, their information is likely sold

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Do the additional safeguards withstand scrutiny?

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