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Undark’s home for editorials, opinions, and curated news from around the Web.

A Reality Check on Designer Babies

Designer babies have been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. Wondering about them was understandable in the early days, but repetition of these supposed fears now suggests lack of understanding of how DNA, and the genes they encode, work.

Three Decades Later, We’re Still Grappling With the Guinea Worm

The final push to full eradication of the parasite requires new approaches — including the implementation of better surveillance in at-risk communities, and more rigorous and field-informed scientific research. After all, nobody knew this reservoir of Guinea worm disease was percolating below the radar in central Africa precisely because nobody had bothered to look.

Punishment: What Is It Good For?

Given the complexity of punishment, it’s improbable that the phenomenon has a single evolutionary explanation. Not all punishment serves to promote a greater good — and even when it does, it might not have originally evolved for that purpose anyway. We should take seriously the possibility that even virtuous penalties have vicious origins.

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