How to Control the Incredible Promise and Profound Power of Gene Drive Technology

Cutting-Edge Genetic Research That Could Lead to Species Extinction Should Be Handled With Care

From ancient soothsayers to Wall Street stock pickers, humans have always yearned to be able to tell the future. The ability, needless to say, has mostly been overstated.

But what if there was a sense in which you really could tell the future? And what if we could also make a particular outcome more likely, even certain? The emerging technology known as gene drives offers just such a prospect for favoring particular traits in future plants and animals—to increase agricultural output, to reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission, or …

Meet the Deadly Bacteria Whose Story Is a Curious Mix of Hope and Danger

The ‘Elizabethkingia’ Strain Could Cure Malaria, but It’s Also Sickened Dozens in Wisconsin

Back in 1948, Milton Berle had a TV show where he’d greet his audience with “Good evening, ladies and germs!” This was considered hysterically funny, and so absurd: Germs were …

E. Coli Is Your Oldest Friend

The Evolutionary Genius of This Shifty Bacteria Is Giving Scientists New Healing Superpowers

It’s hard to find a fan of E. coli—especially since last October, when 55 people in 11 states got sick after eating at Chipotle—but we can see a reflection of …

We Can’t Expect the Government to Save Us From Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes

The Arrival of the Zika Virus in the U.S. Reminds Us That the First Line of Defense Is Our Own Backyards

“We need you to come take a look at something.” Ecologist Angela Brisco and technician Marc Mitchell, employees of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, peered over …

Vaccinations Have Always Been Controversial in America

While Creating the Polio Vaccine, Jonas Salk Had to Deal With Critics Like Walter Winchell, Who Warned, "It May Be a Killer"

In 1952, Americans suffered the worst polio epidemic in our nation’s history. As in prior outbreaks, the disease spread during the summer, mainly attacking children who had been exposed to …

Are Ebola Patients America’s New ‘Lepers’?

A Century Ago, Panic over Leprosy Led to Rampant Stigma and Bizarre Quarantines

The reaction to Ebola isn’t new. Few things alarm people as much as the perceived danger of a deadly or devastating disease. History shows that responses to epidemics often lack …