Open Nav

The New York Times - 01.30.2016

New Weapon to Fight Zika: The Mosquito

Every weekday at 7 a.m., a van drives slowly through the southeastern Brazilian city of Piracicaba carrying a precious cargo — mosquitoes. More than 100,000 of them are dumped from plastic containers out the van’s window, and they fly off to find mates.

But these are not ordinary mosquitoes. They have been genetically engineered to pass a lethal gene to their offspring, which die before they can reach adulthood. In small tests, this approach has lowered mosquito populations by 80 percent or more.

Read more


Science Insider - 12.18.2015

NAS Panel Tackles—and is Tackled by—Genome Editing in Animals

A 2-day National Academy of Sciences (NAS) workshop here last week exposed just how far scientists, ethicists, and regulators are from agreeing on the best way to move forward with genome editing in animals. Following on the heels of this month’s NAS summit on genome editing in humans, the workshop attracted much less attention, even though the work has more immediate regulatory and scientific implications. It also has the potential to shape how these technologies may one day be used in humans.

Read more


The New York times - 11.19.2015

Genetically Engineered Salmon Approved for Consumption

Federal regulators on Thursday approved a genetically engineered salmon as fit for consumption, making it the first genetically altered animal to be cleared for American supermarkets and dinner tables.

The approval by the Food and Drug Administration caps a long struggle for AquaBounty Technologies, a small company that first approached the F.D.A. about approval in the 1990s. The agency made its initial determination that the fish would be safe to eat and for the environment more than five years ago.

Read more 


Mother Jones - September/October 2015

This Scientist Might End Animal Cruelty—Unless GMO Hardliners Stop Him

Maybe you've watched the undercover video: A farmer presses a hot iron into the scalp of a wide-eyed calf, burning away tissue that is beginning to turn into horns. She writhes, moaning pathetically, and collapses in the dirt.

When Scott Fahrenkrug saw that footage, released by Mercy for Animals in 2010, it made him sick to his stomach. Most of the roughly 9 million dairy cows in the United States have been dehorned—with an iron, clippers, or caustic paste—to protect handlers and other cows. Fahrenkrug, then a professor in the department of animal science at the University of Minnesota, decided to do something to stop it. "I started talking to producers, and it became real clear to me that it wasn't just me being touchy-feely," he says. Dairy farmers told him they hated dehorning calves, and they were under pressure from animal welfare groups and customers, like General Mills and Nestlé, to phase it out.

Read more


Popular Science - 07.06.2015

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Massively Reduce Dengue Fever Risk

 Dengue fever is so excruciating that it is often called the “bone breaker,” causing severe pain in the joints and abdomen, vomiting, and circulatory system failure. It’s nearly impossible to treat, so the only way to cut down on incidences of the disease is to decrease the number of mosquitoes that carry it. One startling effective way to do that: genetically modifying mosquitos so their offspring won't survive. A year-long trial with genetically modified mosquitoes in northeast Brazil has been the most successful yet, reducing the population of the disease-carrying insects by 95 percent, according to a study published last week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Read more


GEN Exclusives- 01.2.2015

Gene Editing Will Change Everything—Just Not All at One Time

From the discovery in the late 1980s by researchers at Osaka University of strange repeat DNA sequences sitting beside a gene in a common bacterium, to the frenzied deals and financings over CRISPR technology today, gene editing has taken firm hold in the worlds of basic and applied life science. In fact, the variety of gene-editing technologies goes way beyond CRISPR, and its commercial applications go beyond human therapeutics to encompass agriculture, both plants and animals, and a broad array of high-margin industrial products. In short, gene editing holds the promise of transforming the way R&D is conducted and products developed across major sectors of the global life science economy.

Read more