May 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Monsanto Co. and other companies that patent seeds may prohibit farmers from growing a second crop from their genetically modified seeds, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously. The closely watched decision was a clear victory for agribusiness giants and their biotechnological innovations, which have increased crop yields. But it was a setback for the many disgruntled farmers who have complained about the high cost of these miracle seeds. By a 9-0 vote, the justices decided the patent for a specialized seed outlives the first planting.
May 3, 2013 |
A new federal report has found that the nation's honeybee decline, which threatens up to $30 billion worth of agriculture production, is being caused by several factors, including disease, parasites and poor genetics. After colony collapse disorder began spreading in 2006, federal officials convened a group of researchers to study the phenomenon. Thursday's report by the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency found several causes for the honeybee decline.
April 15, 2013 |
In their April 12 Op-Ed article " Who should own DNA? All of us ," Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar write about Myriad's patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2, the so-called breast cancer genes (which were under review Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court), as if they have served little purpose in the development of tests that have helped more than 1 million women to understand their risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The patents do not cover human genes from anyone's body.
March 28, 2013 |
As it has become more efficient and less expensive to analyze the DNA in normal cells, it has also gotten a whole lot easier to analyze the mutated DNA in tumors - a project scientists hope will help explain why cancer behaves as it does and what new strategies oncologists might use to stop its growth. Writing in a special section of the journal Science (available for free with registration) on Thursday, researchers distilled much of what they've learned from tumor sequencing so far. In this review article , Johns Hopkins cancer geneticist Kenneth Kinzler and colleagues looked at the results of more than 100 cancer genome sequencing projects to compile a list of just a few general principles about the disease.
March 27, 2013 |
A massive gene-hunting effort involving hundreds of scientists has identified 74 newly discovered regions of DNA that are associated with breast, ovarian and prostate cancers - diseases that strike about half a million Americans every year. The international project, known as the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, or COGS, nearly doubled the number of genetic markers known to be linked with the three cancers, scientists reported Wednesday. Their findings could lead to more effective ways to screen, study and treat these diseases.
March 23, 2013 |
When is a fish not a fish but a drug? When government regulators take old laws and twist themselves into knots trying to apply them to new technology. In the emotionally charged battle over the safety and appropriateness of genetically modified foods, people on both sides agree that the way the government oversees genetically modified plants and animals is patchy, inconsistent and at times just plain bizarre. Soon, analysts say, the system may be stretched to the breaking point.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 2013 |
Opening a new frontier for solving cold cases, California prosecutors are hunting for DNA from killers, rapists and other prison inmates who died before authorities obtained their genetic profiles. Prosecutors from Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange counties are sifting through old court exhibits and examining long-since forgotten crime-scene evidence in search of blood, saliva and other material that can be tested for DNA. Once obtained, the DNA is compared with the genetic profiles from unsolved cases that have DNA from unidentified perpetrators.
March 21, 2013 |
Laboratories performing exome or genomic sequencing tests that help physicians diagnose and treat disease should routinely look for a welter of unrelated genetic variations that are known to be associated with illness and should tell physicians if they've found them, a first-of-its-kind set of guidelines recommends. The new guidelines, released Thursday by the American College of Genetics and Genomics, represent a first effort to navigate the ethical challenges of new genomic technology and offer patients, doctors and laboratories a framework for making decisions about what information should be shared when genetic scans are performed.
March 20, 2013 |
Researchers at UCLA have genetically engineered tomatoes that, when fed to mice, mimic the beneficial qualities of good cholesterol, according to a new study. In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of Lipid Research, authors used bacteria to insert genes into the cells of tomato plants, so that they would produce a peptide that mimics the actions of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Later generations of those genetically engineered tomatoes were frozen, ground up and then fed to female mice who were themselves bred to be highly susceptible to LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
March 15, 2013 |
Among those concerned about the fate of the polar bear, it's thought that understanding the iconic animal's genetics could help scientists figure out what will happen to the bears as the climate warms and their icy habitat shrinks. There's just one problem: pinning down the polar bear's genetic history - including when and how it split away from its close relative the brown bear - has been tricky. Recent studies have concluded that polar bears are closely related to brown bears (a group that includes grizzlies)