Need a reason to eat more fiber? How about flesh-eating cannibal microbes?
Biomedicine & Biotech
The green revolution helped feed the world with new varieties of food crops and fertilizers. Now, genetic engineering is extending that progress. In a recent "proof of concept" study, researchers improved the efficiency of carbon dioxide utilization by plants — which could well result in marked increases in food production without additional land going under the plow.
Pheromones have long been credited (or blamed) for our behavioral choices, most notably our choice of sexual partners. The idea that we could base such a seemingly personal choice on a unconscious chemical signal is fascinating but, is there any scientific evidence to support it?
By Simon Woods, Newcastle University A dying 14-year-old child recently won the right to be cryogenically frozen after her death following a UK court battle. In a letter to the judge, the child wrote: I think being cryo-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up, even in hundreds of years’ time. I don’t want to be buried underground … I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they might find a cure for my cancer and wake me up.
We were recently contacted by a concerned group of pro-science scholars who wants to counter the unscientific arguments made by anti-GMO activist Vandana Shiva. We made this handy flyer for them. Then, we realized that this could be useful for anybody who needs to confront the anti-GMOers in their lives. So, here it is. Feel free to print and distribute as widely as possible!
Insect repellent, window screens, long sleeve shirts. Even by using these methods and more, there's no way to have guaranteed protection from viruses that are spread by mosquitoes. But here's an idea that would put an end to all other methods of mosquito repellents: What if there were no mosquitoes?
The Epstein-Barr virus has always been a bit mysterious. It is responsible for mononucleosis, and is suspected of being a cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, although this disease remains poorly understood. The concept of viruses causing cancer is not new.
Gene drives are the hottest new technology in molecular biology. Although they are opening up boundless possibilities in the world of genetic manipulation, real concerns lie in the unknown consequences of using them. We will bring you the latest information, to close the gap between the lab bench and your living room.
Classifying species is a notoriously sticky problem in biology. As a very broad rule, organisms can be classified as belonging to a distinct species if they can successfully mate with each other to produce offspring that can also successfully mate. But this rule completely falls apart for microbes.
Gene drives change the way that certain genes (and therefore traits) are inherited, or passed down through generations. Using CRISPR gene editing technology, the gene drives have the ability to cut and paste a desired gene into each organism, making a trait present in an entire population of organisms.
Why America's supposed newspaper of record has become a voice for anti-biotechnology food activists remains a profound mystery. Maybe it's calculated, in that the paper is tailoring its reportage to its customers, consisting of mostly affluent, organic-food-eating elites. Evidence plays a small part in the Times' coverage of controversial scientific issues.
We humans like to think of ourselves as on the top of the heap as compared to all the other living things. About 50 years ago, a person's estimated number of human genes was in the millions. Today we’re down to about 20,000 (while bananas have 30,000). It’s time to rethink the question of how the complexity of an organism is reflected in its genome.