31. July 2013 20:26
It’s a huge insect pest problem on soybeans, one of the country’s major crops. A recent paper estimates that it costs growers 2 to 5 billion dollars annually in lost productivity and insecticide use. But fortunately technology has an answer—several genes that control the pest, and can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical insecticides that harm people and the environment.
Genetic engineering to the rescue? Have Monsanto and the other big seed/pesticide companies fin... [More]
30. July 2013 02:32
When you're good at something, you want to leverage that. Monsanto's specialty is killing stuff.
In the early years, the St. Louis biotech giant helped pioneer such leading chemicals as DDT, PCBs, and Agent Orange. Unfortunately, these breakthroughs had a tendency to kill stuff. And the torrent of lawsuits that comes from random killing put a crimp on long-term profitability.
So Monsanto hatched a less lethal, more lucrative plan. The company would attempt to take control of the ... [More]
29. July 2013 21:26
GeneWatch magazine's new Youtube video channel, GeneWatch TV, has 6 new episodes online now!
Each new issue of GeneWatch magazine now comes with a video component highlighting the key people and hot topics in its pages.
You can hear highly regarded journalist Michael Pollan and noted academic David Suzuki discuss the state of the science of genetically modified food and the challenges to scientific study.
You can hear the ... [More]
26. July 2013 21:54
If you want to protect rare species, first you have to find them. In the past few years, biologists have developed a powerful new tool to do that. They've discovered that they can often find traces of animal DNA in streams, ponds — even oceans.
The idea took root just five years ago, when biologists in France found they could detect invasive American bullfrogs simply by sampling pond water and looking for an exact genetic match to the frogs' DNA.
Now, all sorts of biologists are ea... [More]
26. July 2013 21:38
The health insurer Cigna Corp. will begin requiring patients who are at risk for breast cancer, colorectal cancer syndromes or Long QT syndrome and are considering genetic testing to first receive genetic counseling, in an effort to reduce inappropriate utilization of genetic tests.By first requiring genetic counseling, which is much less expensive than some genetic tests, Cigna said it hopes to reduce inappropriate utilization and limit some of the anxiety and physical harm that can sometim... [More]
25. July 2013 21:24
WHEN the police arrived last November at the ransacked mansion of the millionaire investor Raveesh Kumra, outside of San Jose, Calif., they found Mr. Kumra had been blindfolded, tied and gagged. The robbers took cash, rare coins and ultimately Mr. Kumra’s life; he died at the scene, suffocated by the packaging tape used to stifle his screams. A forensics team found DNA on his fingernails that belonged to an unknown person, presumably one of the assailants. The sample was put into a DNA d... [More]
24. July 2013 01:01
Genetic testing is becoming a cornerstone of modern medicine—used to measure the likelihood of developing diseases from cancer to mental illness.
Employers increasingly are running up against a federal law that governs how genetic information can be used. Pictured, a DNA sample in a Petri dish.
But as health-care providers move quickly to use the information, employers increasingly are running up against a federal law that governs how genetic information can be used.
The Gen... [More]
23. July 2013 22:40
The National Institutes of Health should use its march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act to force Myriad Genetics Inc. to license its patents related to testing for genetic mutations associated with breast and ovarian cancer, according to a July 12 letter sent by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to NIH Director Francis S. Collins.
“The health benefits of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer are clear,” Leahy wrote. “The healthcare cost savings are e... [More]
19. July 2013 21:11
Las Vegas has long been the philosophic capital of U.S. commerce, a physical (if hallucinator) reminder that luck does indeed exist, and, with just enough of it, people like me can get whatever they want.
The same guiding principle of business, unfortunately, is beginning to take root in science as well—most especially in the world of genetics. Since decoding of the human genome was begun in the Reagan years, all 20,000 to 25,000 human genes have been translated to their basi... [More]
17. July 2013 22:46
In the war against inequality, we’ve become so used to bad news that we’re almost taken aback when something positive happens. And with the Supreme Court having affirmed that wealthy people and corporations have a constitutional right to buy American elections, who would have expected it to bring good news? But a decision in the term that just ended gave ordinary Americans something that is more precious than money alone — the right to live.
At first glance, the case, ... [More]