genetic engineering

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3-Parent Baby Born After 2-Decade Ban

With mom's nuclear DNA, donor's mitochondrial DNA, and dad's sperm

(Newser) - A 5-month-old born using a "revolutionary" genetic technique is said to be the world's first baby created using DNA from three parents since the technique was banned about two decades ago, New Scientist reports. The boy, IDed by the International Business Times as Abrahim Hassan, was born in... More »

UK Gives Controversial OK for Editing Human Genes

It could help fight inherited diseases—but critics say there's an ethical 'slippery slope'

(Newser) - Britain's fertility regulator has approved a scientist's request to edit the human genetic code in an effort to fight inherited diseases—but critics fear the new technique crosses too many ethical boundaries, reports the AP . The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority announced Monday it has granted a research... More »

Scientists Make Pot Chemical Out of ... Yeast?

Genetically altered yeast could 'change the lives of millions': company CEO

(Newser) - Synthesized versions of tetrahydrocannabinol—that's THC, the active ingredient in marijuana— already exist in pill form and are used to treat nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss that often follows cancer treatments or appears in patients with AIDS. But a new process out of Germany could offer a less expensive,... More »

Mutant Bugs' Task: Destroy Own Species

Fruit flies implanted with gene to halt population

(Newser) - How do you get rid of a population of bugs destroying your crops? Scientists are trying out a controversial method: spreading a gene that prevents females from reproducing. Males can live with the lab-inserted gene, but females die in the larval stage—which doesn't leave a lot of options... More »

We Might Look Like Anime Characters In 100K Years

Artist and geneticist offer eye-popping vision of human race's future

(Newser) - How will humans evolve over the next 20,000, 60,000 years and 100,000 years? An artist has teamed up with a computational geneticist to research and illustrate one possible timeline, in which our species basically genetically engineers itself into looking like really creepy anime characters, Forbes reports. "... More »

Non-Browning Apple Has Growers Seeing Red

Genetically-engineered fruit has some growers fuming

(Newser) - It sounds like magic: an apple that won't turn brown when cut or bruised. But the genetically-engineered fruit's special powers aren't enough to win over other apple growers, who say it's just unnatural. The Arctic Apple, from small Canadian firm Okanagan Specialty Fruits, could hurt consumers'... More »

Environmentalists Fear New Biotech Corn

Dow's 'Enlist' resists powerful herbicide

(Newser) - Debate is raging over a new biotech corn engineered by Dow Chemical. The corn, called "Enlist," is intended to solve farmers' struggle against tough weeds; that's because it's resistant to a powerful herbicide, also made by Dow. But environmentalists fear that wind, heat, and humidity would... More »

Scientists Make Seaweed-Fuel Breakthrough

Next hurdle: bringing it to market

(Newser) - Algae-based fuel is a step closer to reality. Scientists in California have genetically modified a microbe so that it can convert seaweed into biofuel, the Guardian reports. "Natural seaweed species grow very fast—10 times faster than normal plants—and are full of sugars, but it has been very... More »

Biotech Firm Says It Can Grow Diesel

Joule Unlimited's organism absorbs sunlight, carbon dioxide, secretes fuel

(Newser) - A Massachusetts biotech company says it has created an organism capable of radically transforming the energy business—and the world. Joule Unlimited claims its genetically-engineered organism can create diesel fuel or ethanol using only the same ingredients grass needs to grow: sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Skeptics, however, doubt whether... More »

Coming to Your Plate: Genetically Modified Salmon

But critics say there's a transparency issue

(Newser) - The FDA has declared a genetically engineered salmon safe for human consumption, putting it one brief swim away from a supermarket near you. Dubbed AquAdvantage Salmon, the Massachusetts-bred fish have been enhanced with a gene from an ocean pout—an eel-like fish—that allows them to grow all year round,... More »

Don't Let Scientists Patent Synthetic Life

Genome pioneer argues for open access

(Newser) - Craig Venter's creation of the first synthetic life form is a milestone discovery but patenting it will hold back science, argues a British scientist who helped sequence the human genome. John Sulston—who clashed with Venter a decade ago when he sought to restrict access to genome information—tells the... More »

Monsanto Contracts Strangle Competition: Report

Licenses forbid mixing Monsanto genes with competitors'

(Newser) - Monsanto, the country’s dominant seed business, is squeezing competitors with stringent licensing agreements that protect its incredibly dominant position in the industry. Monsanto’s licenses prevent companies from breeding plants that contain both Monsanto’s genes and those of competitors, an AP investigation reveals, effectively locking competitors out of... More »

One Serving of Cotton, Please; Hold the Poison

Genetic engineering unlocks protein that could feed millions

(Newser) - Scientists have developed a novel genetic engineering technique that makes the protein-rich seeds of the cotton plant easily edible, Time reports. The entire plant, including the seeds, produces a toxic chemical called gossypol that protects it from insects and microbes. “People, pigs, chickens—none of us can stomach gossypol,... More »

Rumors as Virulent as Swine Flu Itself

Theories implicate everyone from Smithfield Foods to al-Qaeda as responsible

(Newser) - Rumors about the origins of the swine flu outbreak are spreading faster than the virus itself, with theories ranging from a group of slaughtered pigs in China to an al-Qaeda conspiracy, Reuters reports. China’s government was actually prompted into making a formal statement by international media reports suggesting that... More »

Assassin Cells Slay Hidden HIV

Human trials set next year

(Newser) - A promising new treatment for AIDS may be in the works, with the discovery that genetically engineered immune cells can detect and destroy HIV even when the virus tries to hide by mutating. The so-called “assassin” cells, created from the T-cells of an HIV patient, have worked their magic... More »

100M-Year-Old DNA Regions Baffle Experts

Mice, humans share mysterious code immune to evolution

(Newser) - Certain regions of mammalian DNA with no discernible purpose have one perplexing characteristic in common: They have survived, without mutation, for as long as 100 million years, LiveScience reports. Scientists speculate that the areas have some deep purpose, but for now they know only that they are “ultraconserved regions,... More »

Gene Tweak Could Grow Crops in Toxic Soil

(Newser) - Scientists have made a breakthrough that could dramatically boost the world's food production by making more land farmable, Wired reports. A slight change to a single gene allows plants to thrive in earth made toxic by aluminum, which currently renders nearly half of the world's soil useless for growing crops.... More »

Genetic Hiccup Causes Obesity In Mice: Study

Evolutionary relic in humans could be fixed by drug or gene therapy

(Newser) - Scientists have discovered an immune system pathway in the brain that they think is the root cause of diseases related to obesity, Reuters reports. When mice were overfed, the hypothalamus secreted a compound that suppressed the conversion of food into energy, and led to inflammation associated with heart disease and... More »

Cheap Malaria Drug Holds Promise for Millions

It's based on 2000-year-old herbal remedy

(Newser) - The lives of millions of children  may be saved by a new technique for producing a malaria drug at a 10th of the cost of current treatments, making it accessible the world's most impoverished people, reports the Independent.  The technique involves inserting a dozen synthetic genes into yeast cells,... More »

Science Could Crack Peanut Allergy: Expert

Researcher predicts cure, or genetically modified nut

(Newser) - Scientists are working to help those with peanut allergies and may even replace nuts with a tasty, genetically modified snack, one expert says. "There are multiple types of studies that are ongoing now," said Dr. Wesley Burks of Duke University. "I think there's some type of immunotherapy... More »

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