The Most Disturbing Scientific Discoveries From The Last 10 Years
#5 ROBOTIC SURGEONS
2016 saw the development of the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) that performed the first autonomous surgery. The robot was created by a group of scientists and surgeons at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation in Washington DC.
Although the operation was performed on a pig, the technology had been developed to work on humans and to improve the precision of specialist surgeries by performing them with more accuracy than humans.
The bot performed the operation with a bit of human supervision (40% human assistance and 60% on its own). It was able to stitch up a pig’s small intestines (intestinal anastomosis) using its own intelligence, tools, and vision. In fact, SMART did a better job than most human surgeons. Four surgeries were performed and the subjects did not experience complications.
According to the researchers, the assistance did not mean that the robot cannot perform surgery by itself. Instead, they believe human assistance would be appropriate in a real operating room. While STAR is likely to pave the way for bots in the surgery room, the biggest concern is how many people are willing to put their lives in the “hands” of a machine.
#6 THREE PARENT EMBRYOS: THREE PARENTS FOR ONE CHILD
In 2013, there was a scientific breakthrough that allowed for the creation of a three-parent embryo. A three-parent child was actually born in the United States in 2016. The method can be used in assisting women who want to get pregnant but are unable or women who do not want to pass some genetic conditions to their children. The procedure mainly involves using mitochondrial cells from a donor to try and prevent genetic conditions while keeping the genetic information of both parents to make the child theirs.
The first baby was a boy and he was born with three genetic parents with DNA from two women and one man. The baby was born in Mexico with the help of researchers from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York. The child’s mother had genes for a condition referred to as Leigh syndrome, a condition that killed her two former children. But scientists were able to introduce healthy mitochondrial DNA from another woman and replaced her diseased mitochondria. While some people claim the procedure may have adverse effects in the future, the idea of three biological parents makes most people uncomfortable.
#7 INTERGALACTIC DNA CAN ACCESS EARTH
In 2014, Swiss and German scientists discovered that despite the significant pressure changes and the high temperatures, DNA can survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
The researchers dotted the exterior of a rocket with DNA fragments to perform the test and were surprised when the genetic blueprints remain unaltered after being exposed to a 13-minute trip to sub-orbital space and back: a trip that was expected to be too hostile for their survival.
In addition, they could even pass on their genetic information after the re-entry.
The fact that DNA can survive re-entry from space raises the possibility of extraterrestrial molecules entering Earth from space. This is disturbing, especially among those who fear the invasion of creatures from space.
It is very much possible that we are exposed to intergalactic bacteria and diseases. And what if we are products of some kind of extraterrestrial? The possibilities are endless.
#8 ‘ARMAGEDDON’ BIRD FLU VIRUS IS CREATED IN A LAB
Sometimes scientists discover breakthroughs by conducting risky experiments. For example, in 2011, a Dutch laboratory came up with a highly contagious strain of bird flu. Their goal was to understand more about the flu and how to mitigate it should it spread to humans.
Since its emergence in 1996, H5N1 had killed millions of birds and the scientists needed a way to develop vaccines and drugs. So they went ahead and came up with a mutated, highly contagious form of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain.
The researchers had developed a weapon of biological warfare because their virus was capable of wiping out millions of people if it found its way out of the lab. They were even thinking of releasing their methodology, but the U.S. stepped in fast to keep the method a secret.
Some scientists were surprised that the experiment had been performed in a university laboratory instead of a military facility. If the virus had landed in the hands of bioterrorists, all of humanity would be at risk.