Track the Future

Codon is a newsletter about progress and how to accelerate it.

People today are living longer, healthier lives than at any other time in human history. In the early 1900s, influenza killed about 4 percent of people. Today, that number is basically zero, thanks in part to ‘cell factories’ that make tailor-made influenza vaccines on-demand.

In 1981, more than 23,000 animals were slaughtered to make one pound of insulin, enough to help 750 people with diabetes for one year. Today, the world’s supply of insulin is produced by genetically altered microbes.

We’ve made incredible strides in health and medicine. Many of our greatest leaps are borne from the fruits of biotechnology. But biology does not advance alone. Its progress has accelerated, over the last decade, in lockstep with artificial intelligence, automation, and conceptual changes in how science is done; so-called metascience.

At Codon, we track the weekly advances in science that are enabling a brighter future. We’re not interested in hype or the latest company raises. We’re enamored by execution. Our writing is evidence-based and data-rich. Our essays aim to inform, inspire, and change minds.

By sharing the brilliant pace of scientific progress, we hope that more people will understand existing gaps in technological capabilities and will be inspired to create companies, solve global problems, and become effective stewards of the Earth.

Thanks for joining us.

About Niko McCarty

As a bioengineer and writer, my goal is to highlight the people, ideas, and scientific breakthroughs that are driving progress.

My peer-reviewed research has appeared in Nature Communications, eLife, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and elsewhere. I’ve previously developed and published gene-editing technologies to simultaneously make dozens of changes to the genomes of living cells and developed early AI tools for automated science news writing.

I hold master’s degrees in bioengineering and science journalism from Caltech, Imperial College London (where I studied as a Fulbright Scholar), and New York University. Learn more at or @NikoMcCarty.

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Pushing biological frontiers | Read by teams at MIT, Stanford & Harvard.


Niko McCarty

I write Codon.