Biomedicine & Biotech

A recent and thorough investigation of the scientific literature found no evidence that chiropractic care can prevent or stop the disease in its early stages. The researchers urged chiropractors to “cease such activities until, if ever, new evidence emerges.” It’s doubtful that chiropractors will follow this advice.
Plants can be turned into fuels and chemicals, but much of their stored value is lost in the woody component that's hard to break down. A sea creature, among others, has found a way to get at that additional value. It provides both something we can use – and a reminder about the power of nature and evolution.
The brain has evolved a method of protecting itself called the blood-brain barrier. But the BBB can backfire when it prevents drugs to treat brain diseases – for example, a malignant brain tumor – from reaching the site of the disease. Science has come up with some clever methods for defeating the brain's own defenses.
Ours is a culture that prioritizes instant gratification, and is instinctually reflexive about taking a pill or other fix immediately to end pain. When, actually, it is pain that can in a number of conditions be our greatest gift.
Genetic manipulation can be a force for good, but some voices raise concerns. Not about the unintended consequences, but about their possible, darker uses, as weapons.
Sen. Warren, who has taken flak for claiming Native American ancestry, just released the results of a genetic test that definitively proves ... well, nothing. The U.S. Senator from Massachusetts might be 1/32nd Native American. Or 1/1024th. Nobody really knows.
A new study in Nature Sustainability confirms what we've been saying for a long time: Organic farms produce fewer crops and are worse for the environment. Don't build more of them.
GM crop adoption has been facilitated in developing countries through the development of biosafety frameworks, allowing for thorough risk assessments to be completed. Significant benefits from these crops have come in the domain of socio-economics.
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?
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.