In the fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world we live in today, some people will do almost anything to get an edge on their competition. When a drug is discovered to not only get you high, but also get you higher grades, there is bound to be immense reaction from the public. These “brain-boosting” drugs are the prescription stimulants used as treatment for children with ADHD, but are also frequently being used (illegally) by college students hoping to raise their GPA.
Imagine a world virtually free of all cancers and organ failures, where war victims could regain their lost limbs instead of using awkward prosthetics, and where burn victims could replace their skin without skin grafts donations. It may sound more like science fiction today, but such a world may be in the near future, thanks to the development of a new technology called organ printing.
A once unimaginable future, a feat possible only in science fiction, is now being fulfilled by scientists today. The woolly mammoth, a hairy prehistoric version of the elephant and about 8 to 14 feet tall, became extinct around 10,000 years ago. Scientists have recently deciphered the genetic code of the woolly mammoth and are now claiming to be able to recreate the long extinct mammal in a couple of decades.
As the demand for health beneficial super foods is on the rise, researchers in the agricultural biotechnology field are working tirelessly to make significant leeway in the production of genetically altered produce. A new age of anti-oxidant enriched tomatoes developed by researchers at the British government-sponsored John Innes Center has sparked consumer attention and has marked the dawn of the purple tomato. Researchers speculate that since these tomatoes are enriched with high levels of anthocyanins – anti-oxidants proven to eliminate harmful oxygen molecules and free radicals in the body – they may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Genes are the sections of DNA that encode every ounce of a human’s physical being. For years, humankind has striven to decode and fully understand these foundations of life, hoping that in them lay the answers to millions of unsolved mysteries: cures to diseases, causes of physical and psychological ailments, perhaps even a how-to-manual on redesigning genes. Yet, as we begin to reap the benefits of genetic knowledge, it often seems we are opening a Pandora’s Box.