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Life goes on as gene-edited foods begin to hit the market. Japanese consumers have recently started buying tomatoes that fight high blood pressure, and Americans have been consuming soy engineered to produce high amounts of heart-healthy oils for a little over two years. Few people noticed these developments because, as scientists have said for a long time, the safety profile of a crop is not dictated by the breeding method that produced it. For all intents and purposes, it seems that food-safety regulators have done a reasonable job...

It may seem like olden days to millennials, but the late 1970s were a lot like today. America was divided due to an unpopular President, gas was expensive, the movie industry was at death's door ... and genetic engineering was a big concern.

GMOs were a worry 40 years ago? Didn't they just come out in the 1990s? The answer is 'yes' to both. The legal term GMO was due to a patent in the 1990s, but before then the first commercial product was insulin for diabetics. If you are not familiar with insulin, it's a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin removes that blood sugar. Without it, diabetics suffer numerous long-term complications. Diabetes was once an early death sentence but in the 1920s scientists discovered they could use beef pancreases...

One final observation on our great post-war successes in controlling malaria by targeting its vector, the Anopheles mosquito. By using that most marvelous insecticide DDT, we were beginning to gain the upper hand in our conquest of malaria as clearly demonstrated in the table below.

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Country

Malaria occurrence per annum prior to introduction of DDT

Malaria occurrence per annum after the introduction of DDT

Sardinia

Human genome editing, like self-driving cars or drone delivery, is becoming a part of our everyday reality faster than we realize it. 

A panel discussion held at The Rockefeller University entitled "The Future of Gene Editing: A multi-disciplinary panel discussion" brought together four experts who tackle the challenges of human gene-editing from different approaches and perspectives, based on their individual focuses and specialties. Why does this particular area of science need so much conversation?

There are significant concerns, to be sure, especially about unintended consequences. People are particularly nervous about gene drive technology and the release of altered...

Over the last decade, the gene editing technology CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palidromic Repeats) has become a household word. It is popping up in magazines, novels, ethics reports, Senate hearings, etc. If we needed further proof of it's reach into our living rooms, CRISPR is the subject of J. Lo's latest TV project

Several features of CRISPR are behind the rise in the excitement that surrounds it. It is an incredibly easy to do, cheap, quick and accurate form of gene editing. For a detailed description of how it works, please read here...

courtesy of shutterstock courtesy of shutterstock

The success of battling mosquito-borne viral invaders such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya may rest in the hands of two American researchers.

According to a paper published in the journal Trends in Parasitology, Zach Adelman and Zhijan Tu, from the Departments of Entymology and Biochemistry at Virginia Tech, have devised a technique to increase female-to-male conversion of ...

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via shutterstock

Malaria is still a major problem in many regions of the world. According to the World Health Organization, around 200 million people annually contract the malarial parasite. In 2013, it was responsible for 500,000 deaths, mostly children in Africa and babies under five. These numbers are trending downward, but we need something...

How should scientists respond to the rising tide of anti-scientific sentiment in the world? The backlash against modern technology is widespread: Protests against genetic engineering, vaccines, "chemicals," modern agriculture, neuroscience, nuclear power (and almost any other form of power), animal research, and embryonic stem cell research threaten to hold back, if not reverse, decades of progress. What can scientists do to address this problem?

The typical response, as elaborated in a report by the National Academy of Sciences, is "public engagement," which can range from education to the alignment of values between scientists and the public....

1. In a Christmas miracle, the UN Biodiversity meeting - often environmental activists lobbying bloated quasi-world-government committees - met in Cancun and didn't cave into anti-science environmentalists determined to prevent all biology from being used in agriculture. As Joshua Krisch notes in The Scientist, we had fought the anti-science barbarians at the gate and the UN’s final agreement—penned December 16—instead only sanely urged caution in testing gene drives. Which is exactly what we wanted.

2016 was a weird year in many ways, but we are finishing it off with a win.

2. ...

Mosquitoes are some of the most deadly creatures on the planet. They carry viruses, bacteria and parasites, which they transmit through bites, infecting some 700 million people and killing more than 1 million each year.

With international travel, migration and climate change, these infections are no longer confined to tropical and subtropical developing countries. Pathogens such as West Nile virus and Zika virus have caused significant outbreaks in the United States and its territories that are likely to continue, with new invasive pathogens being discovered all the time. Currently, control of these diseases is mostly limited to broad-spectrum insecticide sprays, which can harm both humans and...