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Genetic engineering

Science

Synthesizing human genome in lab could lead to "ultrasafe" cell line

Since the human genome was completely sequenced in 2003, the field of genetics has zipped along at a mind-boggling pace, helping us do everything from detecting cancer earlier to offering new hope to diabetics. Now we can even cut-and-paste sequences of DNA in our own kitchens. So the just-announced project to chemically produce an entire human genome in a lab seems like a logical next step – even if it could one day lead to lab-made humans with no biological parents.Read More

Science

Genetically-engineered "skinbow" fish are multicolored marvels

The digital artists working for major movie studios like Disney and Pixar are no longer the only ones who can make outrageously-colored animals. Scientists at Duke university have genetically engineered a zebrafish to have myriad hues in its outer layer of skin, and the effect is dazzling. They call their creation "skinbow," an amalgam of the words "skin" and "rainbow."Read More

Medical

Gene-editing tool may prevent blindness

A team of researchers is working to turn the powerful CRISPR gene-editing tool towards treating a serious eye disease. Early results are promising, with the team successfully correcting the mutation that causes the condition in cells outside the body.Read More

Biology

Mutant mosquitos with glowing red eyes offer eco-friendly malaria control

We've seen genetic engineering used in various ways in an attempt to combat the spread of malaria by mosquitoes, including rendering the insects flightless, altering their sense of smell, making them infertile, and making them unable to spread the disease. Now another approach has been added to the list with scientists at the University of California developing a CRISPR/Cas9 technique that could stop entire mosquito populations from transmitting the malaria parasite to humans.Read More

Biology

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes genetically modified to pass on infertiity

The old joke says that infertility isn't hereditary, but a team of scientists at Imperial College London is proving it wrong as a way to fight malaria. Using gene splicing, the team is working on a way to introduce a strain of infertility into female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes that can be passed from one generation to the next to significantly cut, if not eradicate, local populations of the malaria-carrying insect.Read More

Biology

Salmon the first genetically engineered animal to get FDA approval for human consumption

Following what it describes as an "exhaustive and rigorous scientific review," the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced the approval of the first ever genetically-modified animal for human consumption. The engineered salmon in question has had its DNA altered in such a way that it grows to market-ready size in around half the time of regular salmon, and has now been declared safe for humans and safe for the environment.Read More

Environment

Addition of a single gene makes rice more environmentally friendly

The world's growing population faces a constant string of tradeoffs. On the one hand, we need more rice to feed ourselves. On the other hand, control of greenhouse gases is a major priority and rice growing generates a lot of methane. It seems like a Catch 22, but a team led by the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has come up with a genetically engineered strain of rice that not only produces almost no methane, but also more grains.Read More

Biology

Scientists create beef that's high in fatty acids found in fish

We frequently hear that eating fish is a healthy thing to do, because it's full of beneficial long chain fatty acids. Unfortunately, the Western diet tends to be short on fish and bigger on beef, which contains short chain fatty acids that aren't quite so good for us. Chinese scientists are creating a work-around, however – genetically-engineered beef that's high in the "good" fatty acids.Read More

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