Scientists are beginning to use CRISPR gene-editing technology to treat diseases and alter the human genome. But as research advances, the ethical dilemmas multiply. Which illnesses—and traits—should be eliminated from the human experience?
Writing shaped our world and the rise of human knowledge, from the trading of goods to tales of ancient goddesses and kings. Follow the evolution of the written word, from 4,000-year-old carvings in an Egyptian turquoise mine to modern-day alphabets.
Scientists investigate the bizarre “intelligence” of slime molds, which appear to learn and make decisions—without a brain. These cunning, single-celled blobs can navigate mazes and create efficient networks. Can they also redefine cognition?
With an extraordinary new technology called CRISPR, we can now edit DNA—including human DNA. But how far should we go? Gene-editing promises to eliminate certain genetic disorders like sickle cell disease. But the applications quickly raise ethical questions. Is it wrong to engineer soldiers to feel no pain, or to resurrect an extinct species?
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has upended life as we know it in a matter of months. But at the same time, an unprecedented global effort to understand and contain the virus—and find a treatment for the disease it causes—is underway. Join doctors on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as they strategize to stop the spread, and meet the researchers racing to develop treatments and vaccines.
Eagles dominate the skies. But what makes these predators so special? Researchers study one special bird—and stunning up-close footage reveals her exceptional strength, eyesight, and flying skills. With intimate access to a new bald eagle family, NOVA takes you into the nest to witness the drama of chicks struggling to survive.
Scientists are coming to understand fat as a dynamic organ—one whose size may have more to do with biological processes than personal choices. Explore the mysteries of fat and its role in hormone production, hunger, and even pregnancy.
When the U.S. trade embargo left Cuba isolated from medical resources, Cuban scientists were forced to get creative. Now they’ve developed lung cancer vaccines that show so much promise, some Americans are defying the embargo and traveling to Cuba for treatment. In an unprecedented move, Cuban researchers are working with U.S. partners to make the medicines more widely available.
From fruit flies to whales, virtually every animal sleeps. But why? Why do we need to spend nearly a third of our lives in such a defenseless state? Scientists are peering more deeply into the sleeping brain than ever before, discovering just how powerful sleep can be, playing a role in everything from memory retention and emotional regulation to removing waste from our brains.
Worshipped as a goddess, condemned as satanic, and spun into a stunning array of breeds, cats have long fascinated humans. But did we ever really domesticate them? And what can science tell us about our most mysterious companions?
Dogs have long been dependable companions by our sides. But it wasn’t always that way, and a look at their closest living relative, the wolf, makes it clear why. Research into dog domestication and intelligence offers clues into the human-dog relationship. And analyzing dogs’ brain activity and genes may even help answer whether dogs are in it for the food—or if they really love us.
Following a trail of fossils found in all the wrong places–beech trees in Antarctica, redwoods and hippo-like mammals in the Arctic–NOVA uncovers the bizarre history of the poles, from miles-thick ice sheets to warm polar forests teeming with life.