Genetically modified pigs that excrete less waste may be euthanized before they could be slaughtered for human consumption, according to a report out of Canada. The current herd of Enviropigs, which digest their feed more efficiently, just lost their funding.
Watching a plant grow and develop roots can be as tedious as ... watching a plant grow. But seeing plant development as it unfolds can expose just what happens to a genetically modified organism, and how certain gene expressions can make plants do certain things. Robotic cameras and machine-vision algorithms are making the process easier.
Here at PopSci we frequently talk about genetic modification, the process of interrupting or editing gene sequences to introduce new traits that nature by itself does not. Far less often do we talk about the other option — let’s call it morphologic modification, for the process of unnaturally selecting and breeding for those desired traits. Take, for example, the dog.
Researchers from University of Lausanne and EPFL University in Switzerland have developed genetically altered mice that have far higher physical endurance than regular mice. These "mighty mice" are able to run almost 50 percent further and for 20 minutes longer, while looking no different than their unaltered cousins, save for slightly larger muscles.
You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, but it might be possible to extract it from rice. Blood protein, at least. Genetically modified brown rice seeds can produce a cost-effective and easily stored supply of human serum albumin, researchers in China report.
Proving that there’s always a different way to approach a problem, researchers at Los Alamos National Lab have devised a pretty clever method of algae harvesting that could take a major chunk out of the cost of algae-based biofuel production. And all they had to do was create a magnetic organism.
In literature and folklore (and video games, sometimes), the blue rose signifies the impossible, or mystery, or the unquenchable. It's not much of a leap, really; roses are ubiquitous, but due to a genetic barrier, a blue rose is naturally impossible. Of course, there's no particular reason to do what that meddling bully nature wants us to do, so a Japanese company has genetically modified a rose to create...well, it's not quite blue, but it's certainly closer than any previous effort.
Genetically modified glow-in-the-dark cats not only make stylish, futuristic pets, but now provide insight into feline AIDS as well. The cats were injected with an antiviral gene from a rhesus macaque monkey that helps them resist feline AIDS, along with one that produces the fluorescent protein GFP.
Some consumers may have a problem with genetically modified food crops, but in at least one case described in an Iowa State University researcher’s paper there’s one customer that’s happy to consume Monsanto’s GM corn: rootworms, the very pest the corn is modified to thwart.
A new genetically engineered grass variant won’t be subject to federal regulation, because it was modified with a gene gun rather than bacteria, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The new strain of Kentucky bluegrass will likely be growing on American lawns very soon, where it will withstand prodigious amounts of the herbicide Roundup. The decision has provoked concern about a new generation of suburban superweeds.
A potential new cancer treatment could be as simple as taking a swig of some genetically modified salmonella. The bug, famous for forcing food recalls and making people sick, could be weaponized to fight tumor cells.
Human trials are already under way at the University of Minnesota, where researchers have successfully tested salmonella-led tumor control in mice.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.