Mosquitos are a global carrier of diseases. Genetically-modified mosquitos can alter their ability to transmit disease or suppress their population. Isn't it time to use this tool in our continued fight against this lethal carrier?
Biomedicine & Biotech
The last major cultivated plant that didn't have its genome sequenced has finally gotten its day in the colinearity sun. The sugarcane genome has entered the modern molecular biology era.
Just like fingerprints, we all have a unique set of behavioral quirks. For example, I tend to drink triple shot, iced vanilla lattes. Before beginning my work, I clean off the table using water and a napkin. (Seriously, why are coffee shop tables always so disgusting?) And, oftentimes, I tip my glasses in a peculiar way as I write my articles. None of these quirks is particularly unique. But taken together, I'm probably the only triple shot, iced vanilla latte-drinking, table-cleaning, glasses-tipping person in Seattle. If I ever committed a crime and the police were out to get me, this combination of quirks may be just enough to identify me.
These type of studies are increasingly found in the literature. But for many of us, the research approach is new, and it's hard to separate the good from the bad. So here are the basics of how these studies work, along with their benefits and limitations.
Plants, marine organisms and bacteria have the capacity to biosynthesize extraordinarily complex organic molecules. Those are the ones that drive chemists nuts when they try to make them synthetically. Here's the story of monensin, an antibiotic used in livestock. While it's a monumental effort to make it in the lab, bacteria can make it in their sleep.
Antibacterial surfaces are one way that we are fighting back against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In one type of surface – naturally found on dragonfly wings – tiny pillars physically rip bacteria apart.
The most inhospitable places on Earth usually host some sort of life, from the super-hot hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor to the ice of Antarctica. While not as extreme, caves are also quite inhospitable. Complete darkness serves as a harsh restriction on what can – and can't – survive there.
This agonizing situation is a powerful reminder that nature will always be our greatest adversary. That said, current day understanding, innovation and progress is a formidable opponent.
Many believe that “genetically modified organism” is a term that has some significance for interpreting the safety of food. Most life scientists – geneticists, biologists, ecologists and agronomists – are pretty certain that the opposite is true. Here's why.
Sunlight is the energy source for photosynthesis. But a new discovery finds that cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can grow in near-infrared light.
With drones, discovery in science and medicine makes the sky – and now the sea – the limit.