We Should Resist Making “Synthetic Embryos” Too Realistic

We Should Resist Making “Synthetic Embryos” Too Realistic

A rendering of emerging medical technology.

(© chombosan / Fotolia)


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Insoo Hyun
Insoo Hyun (PhD) is Associate Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He chaired the Subcommittee on Human Biological Materials Procurement for the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). He also served as Co-Chairperson of the ISSCR Task Force on International Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells. Most recently, Dr. Hyun served as a member of the ISSCR Working Group that revised the ISSCR’s 2016 guidelines for basic and translational stem cell research. Dr. Hyun has authored over 50 scholarly articles in journals such as Science, Nature, Cell Stem Cell, and The Hastings Center Report. His book Bioethics and the Future of Stem Cell Research was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.
Therapies for Healthy Aging with Dr. Alexandra Bause
Sabine van Erp / Pixabay

My guest today is Dr. Alexandra Bause, a biologist who has dedicated her career to advancing health, medicine and healthier human lifespans. Dr. Bause co-founded a company called Apollo Health Ventures in 2017. Currently a venture partner at Apollo, she's immersed in the discoveries underway in Apollo’s Venture Lab while the company focuses on assembling a team of investors to support progress. Dr. Bause and Apollo Health Ventures say that biotech is at “an inflection point” and is set to become a driver of important change and economic value.


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Matt Fuchs
Matt Fuchs is the host of the Making Sense of Science podcast and served previously as the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He writes as a contributor to the Washington Post, and his articles have also appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Nautilus Magazine, Fortune Magazine and TIME Magazine. Follow him @fuchswriter.
This man spent over 70 years in an iron lung. What he was able to accomplish is amazing.

Paul Alexander spent more than 70 years confined to an iron lung after a polio infection left him paralyzed at age 6. Here, Alexander uses a mirror attached to the top of his iron lung to view his surroundings.

Allison Smith / The Guardian

It’s a sight we don’t normally see these days: A man lying prone in a big, metal tube with his head sticking out of one end. But it wasn’t so long ago that this sight was unfortunately much more common.

In the first half of the 20th century, tens of thousands of people each year were infected by polio—a highly contagious virus that attacks nerves in the spinal cord and brainstem. Many people survived polio, but a small percentage of people who did were left permanently paralyzed from the virus, requiring support to help them breathe. This support, known as an “iron lung,” manually pulled oxygen in and out of a person’s lungs by changing the pressure inside the machine.

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Sarah Watts

Sarah Watts is a health and science writer based in Chicago.