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.
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.
Genetically engineered mosquitoes could even spread genes to other insects
By Becky FerreiraPosted 01.28.2011 at 10:44 am 6 Comments
As carriers for diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and yellow fever, mosquitoes are the deadliest creatures on the planet, responsible for millions of human deaths every year. And as the planet warms, the insects are broadly expanding their turf and bringing their diseases with them; thousands of cases of dengue, a tropical disease, have appeared in the U.S. in the past five years. DDT was long used to control the mosquito population, but it is now widely banned, and in any case, many scientists believe that mosquitoes quickly build up a resistance to the insecticide.
Scientists just can't leave animals well enough alone. In some cases, it's for our benefit, whether we want to create new medicine, create better drug-sniffing dogs, or just breed giant delicious salmon. But sometimes it's for the animals themselves, shown with groundbreaking prostheses or embedded GPS to protect endangered animals from poachers. Check out our gallery of twelve of the craziest ways scientists are messing with animals.