Ethical and social implications of powerful DNA-altering technology are too important to be left to scientists and politicians, researchers find.
Designer babies, mutant mozzies and frankenfoods: these are the images that often spring to mind when people think of genome editing.
The practice – which alters an organism’s DNA in ways that could be inherited by subsequent generations – is both more complex and less dramatic than the popular tropes suggest.
However, its implications are so profound that a growing group of experts believe it is too important a matter to be left only to scientists, doctors and politicians.
Writing in the journalScience, 25 leading researchers from across the globe call for the creation of national and global “citizens’ assemblies”, made up of lay-people, tasked with considering the ethical and social impacts of this emerging science.
Modelling shows big galaxies get bigger by merging with smaller ones
grow large by eating their smaller neighbours, new research reveals.
how massive galaxies attain their size is poorly understood, not least because
they swell over billions of years. But now a combination of observation and
modelling from researchers led by Dr Anshu Gupta from Australia’s ARC Centre of
Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D) has provided a
Two square metres of solar window will do the same job as a standard rooftop solar panel, Australian researchers say.
Semi-transparent solar cells that can be incorporated into window glass are a “game-changer” that could transform architecture, urban planning and electricity generation, Australian scientists say in a paper in Nano Energy.
The researchers – led by Professor Jacek Jasieniak from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science (Exciton Science) and Monash University – have succeeded in producing next-gen perovskite solar cells that generate electricity while allowing light to pass through. They are now investigating how the new technology could be built into commercial products with Viridian Glass, Australia’s largest glass manufacturer.
A proof-of-concept published today in Nature promises warmer, cheaper and more robust quantum computing. And it can be manufactured using conventional silicon chip foundries.
Most quantum computers being developed around the world will
only work at fractions of a degree above absolute zero. That requires
multi-million-dollar refrigeration and as soon as you plug them into
conventional electronic circuits they’ll instantly overheat.
But now researchers led by Professor Andrew Dzurak at UNSW
Sydney have addressed this problem.
Using a face mask, Adelaide researchers have a new way to detect a major hidden equine health issue.
Up to 80 percent of horses – including racehorses and showjumpers – suffer from a form of asthma that affects their performance and wellbeing.
Researchers led by veterinarian Surita Du Preez from the University of Adelaide are designing a way to detect the condition – which often produces no obvious symptoms – without adding further stress to the affected animals.
“Currently the methods that are available to diagnose the mild to moderate form of horse asthma are invasive,” says Surita.
After 90 years, scientists reveal the structure of benzene.
One of the fundamental
mysteries of chemistry has been solved by Australian scientists – and the
result may have implications for future designs of solar cells, organic
light-emitting diodes and other next gen technologies.
Ever since the 1930s debate has raged inside chemistry
circles concerning the fundamental structure of benzene. It is a debate that in
recent years has taken on added urgency, because benzene – which comprises six
carbon atoms matched with six hydrogen atoms – is the smallest molecule that
can be used in the production of opto-electronic materials, which are
revolutionising renewable energy and telecommunications tech.
A new type of concrete that is
made out of waste materials and can bend under load has been developed by
researchers from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.
This material, which
incorporates industrial waste products such as fly ash produced by coal-fired
power stations, is especially suited for construction in earthquake zones – in
which the brittle nature of conventional concrete often leads to disastrous