The CRISPR Revolution

I’ve now mentioned CRISPR (pronounced “crisper”) gene-editing technology on several different occasions (examples here and here), but I’ve never done a very good job explaining what it is or why it matters. Since I’m convinced that CRISPR will transform the life sciences and, in a sense, Life itself, I thought I’d share some of the links that Read More …

Global Map of Trees

Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post about a multinational team of scientists that had used high-resolution satellite imagery to count the number of lakes on Earth. Now comes news that another multinational team of scientists has counted the total number of trees. After analyzing hundreds of thousands of ground-sourced measurements from Read More …

Designer Humans?

Humans have breached yet another taboo, and this time it’s a biggie. Reports are now surfacing that a group of Chinese scientists recently “edited” DNA in human embryos for the first time ever. Utilizing a new method of genetic cultivation based on CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes, the scientists experimented on more than 80 embryos. They dismissed their Read More …

“Go to the Ant…”

If you find yourself anywhere near the Florida panhandle this weekend, you’re free to join me at the Evolution & Ethics conference in Tallahassee. The event was organized by philosophers Michael Ruse and Robert J. Richards, is being hosted by FSU’s world-renowned History and Philosophy of Science program, and will feature speakers from no fewer Read More …

World’s Oldest Skeleton

Scientists have discovered an ancient reef in the unlikeliest of places: the arid plains of southern Namibia. The fossilized reef was produced by coral-like members of the wonderfully named Cloudina genus around 548-million years ago (give or take). These fossils provide the earliest evidence of “skeletonization” among multicellular animals, and they offer scientists a rare Read More …

Fountain of Youth

Scientists in Palo Alto recently showed that transfusing the protein-rich blood of young mice into the parched veins of old mice can reverse the effects of aging in the latter population. Scientists who conducted the experiments reported that older mice saw dramatic improvements to their hearts, muscles, and brains.  Because mice share certain proteins with Read More …

Evolutionary Stasis

Last month, a team of scientists announced that they had analyzed an “exquisitely preserved” fossilized fern that was more than 180 million years old. They analyzed the calcified fern’s particularly well-preserved stem using a variety of microscopic instruments, and the detail they found was incredible. Every aspect of the fern’s cells had been preserved in Read More …