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Genetics

— Science

LCD projector used to control tiny organisms

By - January 18, 2011 2 Pictures
Genetically engineered remote controlled animals ... what the? Using inexpensive and widely available technology combined with the latest techniques in optogenetics, researchers at Georgia Tech have created exactly that. Optogenetics is a mix of optical and genetic techniques that has allowed scientists to gain control over brain circuits in laboratory animals. Mary Shelly would be proud – or totally freaked out. But don't expect remote controlled poodles or parrots in your nearest pet store by Christmas, this might be a few years off. Read More
— Science

Agricultural discovery could mean more biomass from the same sized field

By - December 31, 2010 1 Picture
Biofuel derived from crops such as switchgrass certainly holds promise, although some critics maintain that such crops use up too much agricultural land – land that could otherwise be used for growing food crops. A genetic discovery announced this Tuesday, however, reportedly allows individual plants to produce more biomass. This means that biofuel crops could have higher yields, without increasing their agricultural footprint. Read More
— Environment

Insecticide from GE corn crops found in streams

By - September 29, 2010 1 Picture
A new study by Indiana’s University of Notre Dame has revealed that streams across the U.S. Midwest contain insecticides from adjacent fields of genetically engineered corn, even well after harvest. The transgenic maize (GE corn) in question has been engineered to produce the insecticidal protein Cry1Ab. Pollen, leaves and cobs from those plants enter streams bordering on the cornfields, where they are said to release Cry1Ab into the water. Read More
— Science

Scientists sequence apple genome

By - August 30, 2010 1 Picture
No sooner do we hear about the sequencing of the wheat genome, than word comes this week that the genome of the apple has been decoded. The feat was accomplished through a collaboration between 18 research institutions in the US, Belgium, France, New Zealand and Italy, and was coordinated by Italy’s Istituto Agrario S. Michele all'Adige (IASMA). DNA sequences of the Golden Delicious apple were produced in 2007/08, and over 82 percent of the genome was assembled into the total 17 apple chromosomes in 2009. Now, over 90 percent of the genes have been anchored to a precise position in the chromosomes. It may all sound like Greek (or Italian) to us non-geneticists, but the upshot of the whole thing is that we should now be able to selectively breed apples like never before, resulting in hardier, tastier fruits. Read More
— Science

First truly synthetic organism created using four bottles of chemicals and a computer

By - May 20, 2010 3 Pictures
A research team, led by Craig Venter of America’s J. Craig Venter Institute, has produced the first cell controlled by a synthetic genome. The team had previously synthesized a bacterial genome, and transplanted the genome from one bacteria to another, but this is the first time they have combined the two techniques to create what they call a “synthetic cell” - although only its genome is actually synthetic. They now hope to be able to explore the machinery of life, and to engineer bacteria designed for specific purposes. Read More
— Science

World's first blue roses to go on sale

By - October 25, 2009 1 Picture
They may not be exactly blue in color, but the long-awaited commercial release of the blue rose is set to take place in Japan next week (November 3). Thought to be impossible to create because they lack the blue pigment delphinidin, Australia-based Florigene and its Japanese parent company Suntory Holdings (known more for its beer than its floral conquests) began working together in 1990 to create a blue rose by introducing a blue gene from panzies and then irises into roses. It took until 2004 before the team could announce the successful development of blue roses. But before you go ordering a dozen or so for your loved one, check out the price – around ¥2,000-3,000 (US$22-32) each. Read More
— Science

Zebrafish sheds light on blindness

By - March 27, 2009 3 Pictures
Since the eyes of the zebrafish contain a mosaic of light-sensitive cells whose structure and functions are nearly identical to those of human eyes, their study may help understand the progression of disease and find more effective treatments for blindness. A study of the retinal development of zebrafish larvae by scientists from Florida State Universityand has identified a genetic switch that should shed new light on these molecular mechanisms and, consequently, provide much needed insight on inherited retinal diseases in humans. Read More
— Medical

A purple tomato a day keeps the oncologist away

By - October 27, 2008 1 Picture
It seems purple might just be your new favorite color if you’re interested in staving off cancer. British scientists are reporting in the journal Nature Biotechnology that they have genetically engineered a purple tomato that significantly extended the life of cancer-prone mice. The purple coloring is due to a class of pigments called anthocyanins, which are found in high concentrations in blackberries and blueberries and and have been associated with protection against a broad range of human diseases. Read More
— Science

Why some men cheat – genetic link to relationship difficulties

By - September 4, 2008 1 Picture
September 4, 2008 Comedian Robin Williams once defined the key issue of fidelity as being that men had a brain and a penis and only enough blood to run one at a time. We all know some guys are faithful, and some are not, but until now, it all appeared random behaviour. Now new research suggests that men who carry a certain gene behave differently in relationship. The incidence of the gene has been statistically linked to the incidence of a marital or relational crisis in the past year ,how strongly the man felt he had bonded with his partner, and what their respective partners thought about their relationship. One wonders if perhaps one day we’ll see genetic screening for prospective partners? Read More
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