(Washington Post) – The kingdom of Saudi Arabia officially granted citizenship to the humanoid robot last week during a program at the Future Investment Initiative, a summit that links deep-pocketed Saudis with inventors hoping to shape the future. Sophia’s recognition made international headlines — and sparked an outcry against a country with a shoddy human rights record that has been accused of making women second-class citizens.
(Chemistry World) – The therapeutic potential of the Crispr/Cas genome editing tool continues to grow, as US scientists have developed a version of the system that targets RNA and chemically alters its nucleotides. As RNA is ultimately translated to make proteins, being able to edit it could be advantageous for research and gene therapy applications, says Feng Zhang who led the team behind the research at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.
Bonds of Life–the Organ Transplant Law 20 yrs on/ Traveling Overseas in Dire Quest for Donor Can Lead to Pitfalls Back Home
(The Yomiuri Shimbun) – The Organ Transplant Law prohibits organ trafficking, and people who travel overseas for transplants are viewed with a harsh eye around the world. All countries face an insufficient number of donors compared to the number of people who need transplants. Criticism is intensifying against transplant tourism, in which people from developed countries travel to mainly developing countries to pay for organ transplants. The Transplantation Society in 2008 adopted the Declaration of Istanbul, which calls for each country to save its own patients. In 2010, the World Health Organization issued new guidelines including similar policies to the declaration.
(Quartz) – Imagine you’re lying in a hospital bed during the last moment of your life and your friends and family can’t be with you. Would a robot do? Not a fancy, Ferrari style one, but a simple machine that touches you repetitively and comforts you with a robotic voice, saying things like “You’re not alone.”
(Medscape) – Genetic technologies are rapidly reshaping medical practice. In 2016, more than 48,000 genetic tests were ordered, many with the primary goal of confirming a clinical diagnosis and guiding medical decision-making. The explosion of genomic diagnostics is allowing more patients to recognize when their own medical conditions are hereditary and, of importance, to understand the risk for their offspring to be similarly affected. Yet one of the most powerful tools of genetic disease prevention—preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)—is frequently overlooked by clinicians.
(First Things) – When first invented, in vitro fertilization (IVF) was sold as a medical remedy to be limited to married couples who could not otherwise conceive. That moralistic restriction is long gone. Today, access to IVF has few limitations—and includes even women well beyond their natural childbearing years. Moreover, it is often combined with “preimplantation genetic diagnosis,” in which a cell is removed from IVF embryos and tested for medical or eugenic failings—as well as for the sex—so that only embryos with desired attributes will be implanted.