Reproductive technology is an issue that grows more complicated and more controversial each day. Some experts believe that imminent reproductive techniques, like human cloning and germ-line genetic engineering, pose the risk of injuries so frequent and so serious that they should be prohibited completely. Others believe this technology has endless medical possibilities and should be used to its fullest potential. A new book by a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher helps create a road map for determining when and how to regulate risky reproductive technologies on behalf of future children.
“The premise of this book is that the interests of future children are frequently misunderstood,” said Philip Peters, MU professor of law and director of the MU Biotechnology and Society Program. His book, How Safe is Safe Enough? Obligations to the Children of Reproductive Technology, was published recently by Oxford University Press. “Confusion arises because children who owe their lives to a life-inducing technology, yet are born with injuries, could not have been born without their injuries. For them, the only alternative to life with their injuries was never living at all. Daunted by this comparison, regulators rely instead on their untutored instincts or else leave the matter entirely to the fertility industry.”
In his book, Peters offers lawmakers a coherent and comprehensive framework for identifying the circumstances in which the use of a life-inducing procedure places the interests of the resulting child in jeopardy. Peters provides a plan for balancing those risks against the procreative liberty of prospective parents.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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