animals

Five Memorable Animals Who Expanded the Scientific Frontier

Laika, a gene-edited pig, was named in honor of the first living creature to orbit the earth, a stray dog named Laika.

(Courtesy eGenesis)


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Eleanor Hildebrandt
Eleanor Hildebrandt is a writer and researcher from Seattle. Her work has appeared in the Boston Review and Popular Mechanics. Follow her on Twitter at @ehhilde.
This Dog's Nose Is So Good at Smelling Cancer That Scientists Are Trying to Build One Just Like It

Claire Guest, co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, with Daisy, whom she credits with saving her life.

(Photo credit: Darcie Judson)


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Linda Marsa
Linda Marsa is a contributing editor at Discover, a former Los Angeles Times reporter and author of Fevered: Why a Hotter Planet Will Harm Our Health and How We Can Save Ourselves (Rodale, 2013), which the New York Times called “gripping to read.” Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing, and she has written for numerous publications, including Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Nautilus, Men’s Journal, Playboy, Pacific Standard and Aeon.
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When Are We Obligated To Edit Wild Creatures?

Cows on a pasture, who, among other mammals, could experience immense suffering from the New World screwworm.

(© Creaturart/Fotolia)


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Kevin Esvelt
Kevin M. Esvelt is an assistant professor of the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Sculpting Evolution Group in exploring evolutionary and ecological engineering. The first to identify the potential for CRISPR “gene drive” systems capable of unilaterally altering wild populations of organisms, Esvelt and his colleagues defied scientific tradition by revealing their findings and calling for open discussion and safeguards before they demonstrated the technology in the laboratory. At MIT, the Sculpting Evolution Group develops local “daisy drives” for community-based environmental editing, which may be able to save endangered species and restore populations to their original genetics. Esvelt's work has appeared in major scientific journals, including Nature and Science, and features regularly in popular media, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and NPR.
So-Called “Puppy Mills” Are Not All As Bad As We Think, Pioneering Research Suggests

New research challenges the popular notion that all commercial breeding kennels are inhumane.

(© sommai/Adobe Stock)


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Kim Kavin
Kim Kavin is a lifelong journalist who has been reporting on and writing about the dog industry for nearly a decade. Her 2012 book Little Boy Blue and her 2016 book The Dog Merchants both won national awards. More recently, Kim won the 2019 Donald Robinson Prize for Investigative Journalism for a piece in The Washington Post that documented a multimillion-dollar river of cash flowing from rescue nonprofits, shelters and dog-advocacy groups through dog auctions into the pockets of dog breeders. Kim lives in New Jersey with her two adopted shelter mutts. Learn more about her at www.kimkavin.com
“Jurassic Park Without the Scary Parts” Is Actually Happening

Two of six female Southern white rhinos who were brought to the San Diego Safari Park to serve as surrogate mothers for the embryos that scientists hope to make from gametes from induced pluripotent stem cells.

(Courtesy Jeanne Loring.)


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Kira Peikoff

Kira Peikoff was the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org from 2017 to 2021. As a journalist, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Nautilus, Popular Mechanics, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other outlets. She is also the author of four suspense novels that explore controversial issues arising from scientific innovation: Living Proof, No Time to Die, Die Again Tomorrow, and Mother Knows Best. Peikoff holds a B.A. in Journalism from New York University and an M.S. in Bioethics from Columbia University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two young sons. Follow her on Twitter @KiraPeikoff.

The First Cloned Monkeys Provoked More Shrugs Than Shocks