Should We Deliberately Edit The Genes Of Wild Animals?

A powerful new technique called a "gene drive" is opening up incredible possibilities for the control and manipulation of wildlife. Leading researchers say we need to have a debate now about whether we should be shaping the genetics of whole populations of wild animals. » 7/18/14 11:40am 7/18/14 11:40am

The hearts of genetically modified pigs could soon be transplanted into humans. A research team, who tweaked the DNA of pigs to make the organ more compatible to humans, grafted a pig heart into a baboon more than a year ago — and it's still doing fine. » 4/29/14 2:40pm 4/29/14 2:40pm

The GMO Mass Suicides Are a Myth

Of the many horror stories we hear about GMOs, few are as heart-rending as the one about how nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves over failed cotton crops. What's also horrible is that the story is a complete fabrication. » 4/21/14 11:00am 4/21/14 11:00am

What Will Bioengineered Plants Be Like In The Future?

As we head deeper into the GMO era, it's fair to wonder just how far we can manipulate the biology of plants. Here are a few possibilities — from spore-spewing super-plants to delicious hamburgatoes. » 4/09/14 11:00pm 4/09/14 11:00pm

We need GMOs to feed a growing population

Now that many environmentalists are coming around to the idea that GMOs don't have to be evil, we need a more nuanced view of how we want to use GMOs in agriculture. When is it a good idea to use GMOs, and when is it overkill? » 1/09/14 10:54am 1/09/14 10:54am

​Scientists engineer worms to live the equivalent of 500 human years

In an experiment that even caught the researchers by surprise, nematode worms had their lifespans increased by — get this — five times. By tweaking two longevity-related genes, the researchers created an unexpected feedback effect that radically amplified lifespan. The technique could eventually be used to treat… » 12/16/13 2:20pm 12/16/13 2:20pm

Controversial study linking GM corn to tumors in rats retracted

Since its publication in September 2012, a study that showed rats fed Monsanto’s glyphosate-resistant NK603 maize developed more tumors than controls has been roundly criticized for its poor experimental design and dubious statistical methods. Yesterday, the study was retracted. » 11/29/13 8:00am 11/29/13 8:00am

Why isn't science doing something about goddamn spiders?

Spiders. They're terrible, they're everywhere, and one is probably crawling on you right now. With all the wondrous things that science has achieved, isn't it time to do something about this eight-legged menace? » 8/22/13 1:03pm 8/22/13 1:03pm

Bizarre GMO wheat mystery in Oregon

A farmer in Oregon recently discovered unkillable wheat in his fields. He'd sprayed the whole field with a pesticide called Roundup, but this patch of wheat wouldn't die. Convinced he'd discovered a new super-wheat mutation, he sent some to a scientist. » 7/11/13 1:14pm 7/11/13 1:14pm

Transgenic silkworms spin glowing fluorescent silk

If your greatest problem with your silk clothes is that they don't look impressive enough under black light, you're in luck. Researchers in Japan have genetically engineered silkworms that spin silk that glows under fluorescent light. » 6/22/13 11:30am 6/22/13 11:30am

Breakthrough technique for cutting and pasting genes into DNA works…

Last year, geneticists developed a new techniquethat allows them directly insert genes into bacterial DNA — or remove them. It was a powerful discovery, one that finally offered researchers a cheap and easy way to remove precise sections of a bacterial genome. And now, MIT researchers led by George Church have proven… » 1/15/13 4:00pm 1/15/13 4:00pm

Scientists build a biological pacemaker by injecting a modified virus…

Our heartbeats are triggered by a steady stream of electrical signals, which cause our heart muscles to contract with a regular rhythm. For some people, however, the ‘pacemaker cells' responsible for generating these pulses can fail, resulting in an erratic heartbeat. Normally, this problem is addressed by surgery… » 12/17/12 8:00am 12/17/12 8:00am

Genetically modified tomatoes could save you from heart disease

A tomato genetically modified to produce a certain peptide has managed to do a pretty good job of lower plaque build up in the arteries of mice — so one day, you could help your heart simply popping down some produce. » 11/05/12 8:45am 11/05/12 8:45am

Geneticists create mice that find the smell of landmines irresistible

Scientists at Hunter College in NYC have genetically engineered mice to be 500 times more sensitive than normal to the smell of TNT. And because they're attracted to the smell, the researchers hope these "hero mice" will be used to detect landmines. Should the idea work, they anticipate the creation of other GMO mice… » 10/22/12 3:30pm 10/22/12 3:30pm

When Robert De Niro plays God, he actually lights a church on fire

This is my favorite scene from one of the most ridiculous mad science movies of all time: Godsend. In which Greg Kinnear confronts Robert De Niro, who's tampered with forces that man was not meant to yadda yadda, and everything goes horribly wrong. To the point where their debate over whether De Niro was wrong to… » 10/18/12 5:09pm 10/18/12 5:09pm

Genetically engineered cow gives hypoallergenic, high-protein milk

Hands up if you're lactose intolerant. Quite a few of you, huh? Well, welcome to the wonderful world of science, where researchers have genetically engineered a cow, just for you. » 10/03/12 9:20am 10/03/12 9:20am

Should we eliminate the human ability to feel pain?

In yesterday's Daily Explainer we told you all about pain — why it exists, how it works, and how scientists are trying to quantify its effects. Though pain has clearly served an important evolutionary purpose, not everyone is convinced that we still need it. A growing number of forward-looking thinkers are suggesting… » 9/27/12 9:00am 9/27/12 9:00am

How the common cold and some genetic engineering restored mice's sense…

Anosmia, the inability to smell, isn't as well-known as blindness or deafness, but it still affects an estimated two million people in the US. A new breakthrough has cured anosmia in mice... and the human impact could be far greater. » 9/02/12 5:15pm 9/02/12 5:15pm

Do you have to be Batman to create a blue rose?

Batman isn't just the world's greatest detective and an unstoppable fighter — he's also the only person who's ever created a blue rose. Scientists have been trying to create them in the real world for decades, always without success. » 8/27/12 3:00pm 8/27/12 3:00pm