Thai police expand DNA tests to find tourists' killers

by admin 22. September 2014 19:06
  Thai police are expanding DNA testing on the island where two British tourists were murdered last week.   Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found dead on Koh Tao on 15 September.   Police say they want to test every male on Koh Tao, including fishermen and boat drivers who may have visited the island at the time of the killings.   Initial tests show DNA samples found on the bodies almost certainly came from two Asian men.   However, polic... [More]

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Beyond GMOs: What happens when synthetic DNA comes to the farm and table?

by admin 22. September 2014 19:01
  Thousands of researchers will descend on Boston this fall for an event billed as the world’s largest gathering of synthetic biologists. The field is evolving so rapidly that even scientists working in it don’t agree on a definition, but at its core synthetic biology involves bringing engineering principles to biotechnology. It’s an approach meant, ultimately, to make it easier for scientists to design, test, and build living parts and systems – even entire ge... [More]

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Are monarch butterflies on the rebound?

by admin 19. September 2014 23:37
  The last few years have been tough on monarch butterflies. A widely used agricultural herbicide, known as Roundup, kills the milkweed plants monarchs require for egg-laying. (Genetically modified crops resist the effects of Roundup®.) The late-summer migration from temperate zones to the mountains of central Mexico can be disrupted by severe September weather. And even after monarchs reach the relative safety of oyamel fir forests in the mountains of central Mexico, winter storms ... [More]

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End the absurd bureaucracy around DNA testing

by admin 18. September 2014 20:43
Given the incredible power of DNA to exonerate the innocent and expose the guilty, it's alarming that a mountain of red tape still impedes its use. This new forensic tool has been a game-changer for our criminal justice system, exonerating more than 300 people nationwide. One of them was New Jersey's own Gerard Richardson, an Elizabeth man who spent 19 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. He finally won his freedom last year, and today, he'll be in Trenton with his lawyer from the ... [More]

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Altered to Withstand Herbicide, Corn and Soybeans Gain Approval

by admin 18. September 2014 20:39
  The Agriculture Department has approved the commercial planting of corn and soybeans genetically engineered to survive being sprayed by the herbicide known as 2,4-D, according to documents it posted on a federal regulatory website on Wednesday. Some corn and soybean growers have been pushing for approval, saying the new crops would give them a sorely needed new tool to fight rapidly spreading weeds that can no longer be killed by Roundup, known generically as glyphosate, the usual her... [More]

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On the Irreversibility of Gene Drives

by admin 18. September 2014 20:34
 In 2008 it was proposed to the Geological Society of London that we had entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene. This proposition, based on geological and biological evidence, argued that Earth is now experiencing an extinction event that rivals any in the history of life. Given the understandable concern that we are in the millennia-long process of effecting a cataclysm on our planet, it may come as a surprise that researchers are now developing a technology that could allow for ... [More]

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FBI Adds Facial Recognition To Biometric ID Toolkit

by admin 17. September 2014 23:50
  Dimples, creases and hair patterns could soon supplement the art of fingerprinting now that the FBI’s Next Generation Identification System is fully operational. The facial recognition system has yet to be proven effective but has police agencies as excited as it has privacy groups nervous. The ambitious technology, dubbed the NGI System by the bureau, has been in development for years in an attempt to expand the FBI’s biometric abilities. Used as a form of id... [More]

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Rhino DNA busts poacher

by admin 16. September 2014 22:25
  Customs officials spotted the horn in the luggage of a passenger as he passed through Changi Airport, Singapore. When they opened his luggage they found the horns of eight black rhino, weighing 22kg and valued at about R15-million. Samples were extracted from the horns and sent to South Africa for DNA analysis. The results revealed just how efficient the poaching network had become. Six days before the seizure one of those horns was on a living rhino in the Kruger National Park. Kob... [More]

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Kazhakstan Crazies Want Gay DNA Tests

by admin 16. September 2014 22:14
In rhetoric disturbingly reminiscent of anti-Semitism, ultra right-wingers in the former Soviet state are calling for genetic tests to identify homosexuals.   There’s an old chestnut, attribution unknown, that says “When America coughs, the world gets a cold.”  For nationalists who hate gay people, perhaps the parallel should be “When Russia scratches, the world gets scabies.” Case in point: Far-right nationalists in Kazakhstan this week have prop... [More]

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New DNA Test Sought in Identical Twin’s Rape Case

by admin 16. September 2014 22:08
  The rape suspect, court papers said, was identified by a longtime friend who said they committed the crime together. The suspect’s DNA was tied to the crime. But prosecutors hoping to present an airtight case had a concern: The suspect, Dwayne McNair, has an identical twin, meaning the DNA testing pointed not to one person, but two. It was a twist worthy of a crime novel, but one that has cropped up from time to time in cases both in the United States and Europe, including an ea... [More]

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