Part 1 of this two-part series described the “Stanford University paradox” – the uncritical embrace of politically correct concepts that contradict its reputation as a cutting-edge, science-grounded institution. I described the contrast between the university’s outstanding research and its dubious view of “sustainability,” which includes a commitment to organic farming practices. I elaborate on the latter here, in Part 2.
Orphan crops, private equity and the closure of Hahnemann Hospital, a for-profit medical school?, and how to understand the contradictions of science.
Advances in genetics have been revolutionized in the last few years. First came CRISPR, which can edit single genes, possibly preventing diseases with a single genetic determinant – raising the possibility of gene editing of children. CRISPR is too immature to be commercialized for this purpose, and this debate is speculative for now. But genome-wide association studies (GWAS) - which assesses the entire genome and can identify multiple genetic markers predictive of disease -- have made landfall and are being commercialized for that purpose.
A serious infectious disease nearly wiped out the beloved chestnut tree. Using genetic modification, scientists have found a way to bring it back. Of course, this is controversial because many environmentalists, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, are only in favor of restoring the environment as long as scientists aren't involved.
It's not often that a politician is openly pro-GMO, particularly in Europe. But the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom just praised genetic modification in his first speech to Parliament.
Gene editing – a brilliant demonstration of how basic research can yield world-revolutionizing technology – is seen as unsafe in Europe. The good news is that some scientists aren't going to sit idly by while Europe attempts to destroy an entire field of scientific research. The scientists are striking back.
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a state-run agency that funds stem cell research, is considering funding research on human embryos using a gene-editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas9. This could potentially allow for cures to be discovered for devastating inherited diseases.
Dr. Norman Borlaug is praised by President Obama, and in a letter to Norman s granddaughter, POTUS sings the praises as well of agricultural biotechnology GMOs to keep on with Borlaug s fight to feed a hungry world.
Dr. Matthew V. DiLeo and colleagues from Cornell University analyzed the biochemical footprints of a variety of tomatoes, some of which had been genetically engineered to ripen more slowly than usual, and compared those to the footprints of conventional varieties (both modern and heirloom types).
By Thomas R. DeGregori