Biotechnology


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Astronomy Biology Biotechnology Chemistry Computing and artificial intelligence Cosmology Deep time Earth science and climate Ecology and environmental sciences Engineering Evolution Genetics History of science Human evolution Human reproduction Illness and disease Mathematics Medicine Oceans and water Palaeontology Physics Quantum theory Space exploration

Photo by Richard Kalvar/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Language and linguistics
The space between our heads

Brain-to-brain interfaces promise to bypass language. But do we really want access to one another’s unmediated thoughts?

Mark Dingemanse

A scanning electron microscope image shows a nematode in biofilm (blue), in its natural deep-subsurface habitat. The scale bar is 20 micrometres (μm) long. All images courtesy Gaetan Borgonie

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Earth science and climate
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau

Freshly harvested vegetables and flowers are sold at a private farm stand in Pawlet, Vermont, 6 August 2010. Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty

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Technology and the self
Natural, shmatural

Mother Nature might be lovely, but moral she is not. She doesn’t love us or want what’s best for us

Molly Hodgdon

Costume design for the character of Medea in The Golden Fleece ballet (1915) by Nadezhda Vladimirovna Lermontova. Photo by Getty Images

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Biotechnology
Bio-techne

Half-human soldiers, robot servants and eagle drones – the Greeks got there first. Could an AI learn from their stories?

Adrienne Mayor

Photo by Jessica Holden/Gallery Stock

Essay/
The environment
Sunshine in a bottle

Mimic the dance between carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and you can tap into clean solar energy and ease climate change

Peter Forbes

Forever young. Photo by Leslie Ann O’Dell/Gallery Stock

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Biotechnology
Young blood

From teen-targeting vampires to Lady Báthory’s bloodbaths, we love stories of stolen youth. What if it were possible?

Jess Zimmerman

US cyclist Tyler Hamilton rides with a broken collarbone in the 2003 Tour de France. Photo by Offside/Lequipe

Essay/
Bioethics
A doping manifesto

The rules on doping in sport are incoherent – should we change them to allow the right kind of performance enhancement?

Julian Savulescu

A researcher demonstrates the process to clone a pig in a laboratory in National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, central Taiwan, February 6, 2013. Photo by Reuters

Essay/
Bioethics
Prometheus Inc

Biotechnology and other life sciences promise to transform our health, identity, even our brains. Should we be worried?

Hilary Rose & Steven Rose

Photo by Tatsuro Nishimura/Gallery Stock

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Biotechnology
The vegan carnivore?

It’s made in a lab, no factory farms and no killing, but it’s still meat. Looks like we’ll need a whole new food ethics

Julian Baggini

A false-colour, scanning-electron microscope image of a breast cancer cell Photo by Science Photo Library/Getty

Essay/
Biotechnology
An iCure?

Crowdfunding might catapult promising cancer treatments into clinical trials, but can it make a real difference?

Alexander Masters

A Chinese crested dog. Photo by Tim Flach

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Art
Beauteous beasts

Humans have been breeding animals for beauty for centuries. But should we draw the line at genetically modified pets?

Emily Anthes

Corn follies: a protest in front of the European Union headquarters in Brussels over genetically modified maize crops. Photo by Thierry Roge/Reuters

Essay/
Biotechnology
Beyond belief

Unreason, like the poor, will always be with us. But why does quackery survive when science is making life better?

Michael Hanlon