Archives for May 2015
Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates are considered to be some of the greatest minds of our time. They are ground breaking pioneers of modern day science and technology. They also share a common belief when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI). They have all publicly stated that AI poses a threat to both the integrity and the survival of the human race.
Genomics has experienced rapid expansion since the 1990 launch of the Human Genome Project, which led to the complete sequencing of the human genome in 2003. Today scientists across the globe are experimenting with the idea of altering genetic material in order to combat genetic diseases. In the past such experimentation has only been conducted on somatic cells, but this April a group of Chinese scientists published the first reports of genome modification experiments carried out on human germline cells. Germline cells, such as eggs and sperm, differ from somatic cells in that the genetic material they contain is passed down to subsequent generations. The researchers working on this study used a new genome editing technology, CRISPR/Cas9, to replace a mutated hemoglobin gene that causes a severe blood disorder. The results were controversial and raised questions about the effectiveness of this type of genome therapy. While CRISPR/Cas9 was able to alter the target hemoglobin gene, a healthy version of the gene was rarely substituted for the old one and unwanted mutations frequently occurred elsewhere in the genome. Despite the study’s limitations, the fact that genome-altering experiments on germline cells are currently being conducted sparked widespread dialogue and debate over the ethics of gene editing.
The Science Advisory Board presented the results of the STEM Education Survey at the MDBio Foundation’s ATLAS event on Saturday May 9th, 2015. Dr. Larry Miller, Executive Director of The Science Advisory Board, talked about how we can encourage the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) students to pursue a scientific career. He presented some key results from the survey at a VIP breakfast before the event.
Early April, 2015, The Science Advisory Board® invited scientists to share their experiences regarding pursuing a career in STEM (science, technology, math, and science). Members of the ScienceBoard.net community were asked to participate in an online questionnaire featuring questions about their experiences as a scientist and how they would advise high school students that wish to pursue a scientific career.