Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie
- "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops
for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
Is Psychometric g a Myth?
- "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth
approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g
." [more inside]
The New Biology
- Eric Schadt's quest to upend molecular biology and open source it. (via
"Our findings provide genetic evidence of an increased rate of large CNVs in individuals with ADHD and suggest that ADHD is not purely a social construct." (abstract
) Researchers find a genetic basis for ADHD
, and the researcher hopes the finding will reduce the stigma associated with the disorder.
it's more complex
than just biology. In any case, children who are diagnosed at an early age are 10 times more likely
to be depressed as adolescents. (abstract
Followup to this post:
A US District Court has ruled
that Myriad Genetic's patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which allow them to hold exclusive rights
to a widely used genetic test for inherited breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, are invalid
. Genomics Law Report analyzes the ruling
in two posts
. The decision is likely to be challenged in a legal appeal — but if upheld, it could have huge implications for the biotechnology industry. [more inside]
A new study
suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics
. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion
in human history, as well as more complex economies
). [more inside]
We may soon be able to clone Neanderthals. But should we
? An essay from Archaeology Magazine examines the ethical, scientific and legal ramifications. (Via Heather Pringle's Time Machine blog, where essay author Zach Zorich posted a reply and elicited a response.) [more inside]
Scientists Repurpose Adult Cells
- "Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research." [nature abstract
, nature writeup
, audio announcement
Israeli researchers discover gene for altruism
Why are some people more prone to give charity or put themselves in danger in order to help others?
A team of Israeli psychologists claim they have the answer - they've located the first gene linked to altruistic behavior.
New research takes steps towards finding the "gay genes."
A study conducted on gay brothers in more than 100 families found several genetic regions of similarity with linkage to sexual orientation. This is kind of dense (scroll to the bottom of the page for the FAQ), but that's because it hasn't been written up in the press so there are only journal doc's and scientific summaries available.
This is the press release, which is clearer
This is the article on the study, as published in the journal Human Genetics
New form of mousepox developed.
A scientist has created an extremely deadly form of mousepox (a relative of smallpox) through genetic engineering. The new virus kills mice even if they have been given antiviral drugs as well as a vaccine that would normally protect them.
Eek eek! - Jennings Bryan spins in his grave:
"Chimpanzees are so closely related to humans that they should properly be considered as members of the human family, according to new genetic research." [BBC] In the early 1900's, Jennings Bryan offered $100 in cash to anyone who signed an affidavit declaring that he personally was descended from an ape.
Gene Prevents 'Brains Everywhere'
The human version of the gene probably is not involved in keeping the human brain inside the skull, but likely plays some other role in nervous system development in human embryos, says Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, a developmental biologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Mutant Mice Drink More Alcohol, Recover Faster
Now this is useful scientific research. Please alter my genes.