We need an active public debate on the ethics of gene editing technology to realise its potential and prevent it being used in nefarious ways, for example by the military and amateur scientists, and to take cultural differences into account, according to Professor Christiane Woopen, executive director of the Centre for Ethics, Rights, Economics and Social Sciences of Health (CERES) at Germany’s University of Cologne.
Breeding together corals that have naturally high heat tolerance and planting them on coral reefs could increase the reefs’ resilience to climate change and reduce the impact of bleaching events, according to Dr James Guest, a coral reef ecologist from Newcastle University, UK. He is studying this ‘assisted evolution’ approach to coral conservation and examining the risks associated with it.
Drugs that activate or block the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery to treat conditions such as anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and cancer are being made possible because we now understand the way that cells respond to oxygen deprivation, according to Sir Peter Ratcliffe, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.
From the first discoveries of planets beyond our solar system in the 1990s, we now know of thousands of alien worlds, some of which could even be habitable to life as we know it. Now we need to detect more of these exoplanets and study them in detail, says astronomer Dr Michaël Gillon from the University of Liège in Belgium, who was involved in one of the most important exoplanet discoveries to date.
The most powerful source of misperceptions about important issues such as immigration and climate change are false beliefs rooted in people’s political or social preferences, but having people who question authority is also important for a society, according to Professor Jason Reifler, a political scientist at the University of Exeter, UK.
Finding ways to enlist the bacteria living in our bodies to defend against infections while better understanding their role in promoting antibiotic resistance are key to fighting this growing problem, says Dr Nassos Typas, a microbiologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
With Europe facing significant challenges over the next decade, it is vital that the EU’s research activities are designed not just by bureaucrats but by a wide range of voices to ensure that they’re fit for purpose, according to Jean-Eric Paquet, the European Commission's Director General for Research and Innovation.
Cities have a critical role to play in fighting climate change but hard conversations lie ahead about the best way to achieve the transition to sustainability, according to Harriet Bulkeley, professor of geography at Durham University, UK.
The success of European research missions, which aim to stimulate innovation to solve major societal problems, will require a complete change in the way governments think about business and risk, according to Professor Mariana Mazzucato, special advisor to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas.
A strange species of cavefish is helping to reveal why heart attacks cause permanent damage.
‘Industrial symbiosis’ is encouraging industry byproducts to be used for new purposes.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.