Billy Maddox planted 100 acres of Roundup Ready soybeans this year. The big news is he didn't pay Monsanto a dime. It's been 20 years since Monsanto developed its first genetically modified crops. Now some of its early patents are starting to expire, leading to the first "generic GMOs" - off-patent seeds that cost half as much and which farmers are free to save and replant.
Lab notebooks could determine who was first to invent a revolutionary gene-editing technology.
When Milton Wright III got his third cancer diagnosis, he cried until he laughed. He was 20 and had survived leukemia twice before, first when he was eight and again as a teen. Each time he’d suffered through years of punishing chemotherapy.
Biologists often emphasize how little anyone really knows about the brain, the genome, and the mechanisms behind effective drugs. But this year their tune changed as diverse technologies - gene editing, stem cells, cloning, and DNA databases - coalesced into an immensely powerful toolkit for manipulating life. The message in 2015 seemed to be: “We can do anything.”
The iPhone could become a new tool in genetic studies.
Scientists are developing ways to edit the DNA of tomorrow’s children. Should they stop before it’s too late?
In any discussion of biohacking, Exhibit A is likely to be the "glowing plant," the wildly successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign that raised $484,013 to create bioluminescent plants visible at night.
"Welcome to You.” So says the genetic test kit that 23andMe will send to your home. Pay $199, spit in a tube, and several weeks later you’ll get a peek into your DNA. Have you got the gene for blond hair? Which of 36 disease risks could you pass to a child?
Malaria kills half a million people each year, mostly children in tropical Africa. The price tag for eradicating the disease is estimated at more than $100 billion over 15 years. To do it, you’d need bed nets for everyone, tens of thousands of crates of antimalaria drugs, and millions of gallons of insecticides. But it would take more than stuff. You’d need things the poorest countries in the world don’t have, like strong governments, purchasing power, and functioning public health systems. So malaria keeps killing.
A proposal by a group of scientists and businesspeople to synthesize a human genome from scratch is attracting sharp criticism for dodging the big ethical questions such a step raises. The proposal is to string together synthetically made DNA and shape from it a human genome able to power a cell in a dish, according to lead authors Jef Boeke of New York University’s Langone Medical Center and biotechnologist George Church of Harvard Medical School.
A controversial genetic technology able to wipe out the mosquito carrying the Zika virus will be available within months, scientists say. The technology, called a “gene drive,” was demonstrated only last year in yeast cells, fruit flies, and a species of mosquito that transmits malaria. It uses the gene-snipping technology CRISPR to force a genetic change to spread through a population as it reproduces.
Braving a funding ban put in place by America’s top health agency, some US research centers are moving ahead with attempts to grow human tissue inside pigs and sheep with the goal of creating hearts, livers, or other organs needed for transplants.
The world’s largest DNA sequencing company says it will form a new company to develop blood tests that cost $1,000 or less and can detect many types of cancer before symptoms arise. Illumina, based in San Diego, said its blood tests should reach the market by 2019, and would be offered through doctors’ offices or possibly a network of testing centers.
How would you engineer a baby? I mean really, actually do it. Last April, Chinese researchers reported that they had tried genetically editing human embryos for the first time to correct a disease gene. Out of more than 80 embryos, however, only a handful came out correctly. In the rest, the gene didn’t get fixed properly, or they ended up with unintended alterations to their DNA .
Plant scientists can swiftly modify crops in ways that would take years with conventional breeding.