In the past 15 years, more than a billion hectares — an area greater than the land masses of China or the United States — have been cultivated with genetically engineered crops, according to an industry study. Biotech crop cultivation increased 87-fold between 1996 and 2010, making transgenic crops the fastest-adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture. Biotech advocates say it shows genetically modified agriculture is here to stay.
Since they were introduced 15 years ago, genetically modified foods have taken astonishing hold in North America. This time of year, the result is a Thanksgiving menu that may, on the surface, look much the same as the one your grandma cooked 20 years ago. But at the genetic level, it is very different, and it's a far cry from the fabled feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians in the 17th century. In celebration of Thanksgiving, the most food-focused day of the year, here's a look at how biotechnology is changing the way we eat.
A new database developed by Spanish biologists is giving pharmaceutical quick access to protein structure data that could lead to more rapid development of important biologic drugs. The database, known as MoDEL, contains protein motion data for more than 1,700 different human proteins, making it the largest such database of proteins in the world.
In a breakthrough that could lead to significant advances in materials science and tissue engineering, researchers at the U. of British Colombia have engineered a solid biomaterial that mimics the elasticity of muscle. Using artificial proteins, the team was able to recreate the molecular structure of the protein titin, which plays a vital role in making our muscles the versatile tissues that they are.
When a wounded patient begins bleeding, the most commonly employed solution is decidedly low-tech: apply pressure. But a group of medical researchers have developed injectible synthetic nanoparticles that could cut bleeding time in half.
Ever wish you could read minds? While the technology to correctly call your poker buddies' bluffs still eludes us, researchers in the UK have shown that brain-to-brain communication is indeed possible. All you need is some electrodes, a computer, and an Internet connection.
Don’t tell anyone, but Doug Ausenbaugh has built an underground drug farm—in bucolic southern Indiana, no less. It’s cleverly cached in an old limestone mine near the hamlet of Marengo. There, carefully cultivated stalks flourish under the glare of artificial lights and the rainlike spatter of drip irrigation.