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Moving beyond the GM Debate

"Once again, there are calls to reopen the debate on genetically modified (GM) crops. I find these calls frustrating and unnecessarily decisive. In my opinion the GM debate, on both sides, continues to hamper the urgent need to address the diverse and pressing challenges of global food security and environmental sustainability. The destructive power of the debate comes from its conflation of unrelated issues, coupled with deeply rooted misconceptions of the nature of agriculture."

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By Ottoline Leyser: Off interest to BBSRC 

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BIOSCIENCE NEWS
Highlights bioscience news stories from national and specialist media. Articles are featured to illustrate a range of coverage and to highlight news stories of strategic importance to BBSRC. Stories that mention BBSRC and the strategically funded institutes and stories that have been generated by BBSRC are also included.
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BBSRC mention: Research bodies vow to share data on Zika

Academic journals, charities, research funders, and institutes have committed themselves to sharing data and results relevant to the current Zika virus outbreak and future public health emergencies as rapidly and openly as possible.

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BBSRC funded science: UK pollinators' food, BBC Inside Science - BBC Radio 4

Some much-needed good news for our troubled bees and other pollinators: between 1998 and 2007, the amount of nectar produced from Britain's flowering plants rose by 25%. A new study suggests this may be due to reductions in atmospheric pollution. But researchers looked at records spanning over 80 years, and also found that the UK flowers which provide nectar suffered substantial losses during the 20th century. Considering the services that nectar-feeding pollinators perform for agriculture and our ecosystems, this is something worth knowing. Professor Jane Memmott, ecologist at the University of Bristol, explains how bad things really are for Britain's pollinators and what lessons conservation could learn from her team's latest findings about nectar.

BBSRC's insight:

Interview with PI Prof Jane Memmott, start of the programme until 8m 40s. 

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Roslin mention: Designer Babies Could Become Future Reality

Roslin mention: Designer Babies Could Become Future Reality | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
While designer babies are assuredly not something that will happen soon - scientists in Britain are finally working on the possibility of them. They were given the OK to start working on editing ...
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BBSRC funded, JIC mention: Disabling superbug ‘satnavs’ paves way for new antibiotics

Scientists have found a way of paralysing bacteria responsible for deadly infections in a discovery that could lead to new ‘designer’ drugs
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IFR quote: How an apple a day helps keep the pounds away

IFR quote: How an apple a day helps keep the pounds away | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Researchers at the University of East Anglia found that flavonoids, found in some fruit and vegetables, were linked to maintaining a healthy weight, and even helped people lose a little.
BBSRC's insight:

Dr Paul Kroon, of the Institute of Food Research, said: ‘It is important to understand that these types of studies can find associations between consumption of certain food bioactives with weight gain or other health benefits, but they cannot prove that by increasing your consumption of flavonoids you will put on less weight than if you didn’t."

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JIC/TGAC mention: Scientists hope to use genomics to defeat invading Spanish slug

JIC/TGAC mention: Scientists hope to use genomics to defeat invading Spanish slug | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it

Norwich-based scientists are turning to genetic technologies in a bid to defeat an emerging invasive threat to East Anglia’s crops.

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The idea will require the JIC’s neighbours at the The Genome Analysis Centre to sequence the genome of the pest, so scientists can identify important genes which govern its ability to feed or breed.

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BBSRC mention: How Hibernation Happens - Professor Francis Ebling, University Of Nottingham

How Hibernation Happens: Interview with Professor Francis Ebling, University Of Nottingham, 19th Jan 2016, on the Naked Scientists.
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BBSRC funded: Study links physical attraction with height genes

A recent study has suggested that a person's choice of romantic partner can be determined by genes.

Researchers of the University of Edinburgh have discovered that the genes that determine a person's height also influence why people are attracted to partners of similar heights to themselves. The findings help to explain why people choose partners of similar height to themselves.

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BBSRC mention: Newly discovered markers allow selection of dieback-tolerant ash trees

BBSRC mention: Newly discovered markers allow selection of dieback-tolerant ash trees | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Newly discovered markers allow selection of dieback-tolerant ash trees - from Horticulture Week
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BBSRC funded: Ash dieback breakthrough as scientists learn to spot resistant trees

BBSRC funded: Ash dieback breakthrough as scientists learn to spot resistant trees | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it

Scientists can now predict which trees will survive ash dieback so they can begin replanting Britain's decimated woodland

BBSRC's insight:

From:

http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/fundamental-bioscience/2016/160113-pr-screening-technique-reinforce-fight-against-ash-dieback/ ;

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Roslin mention: Human organs for transplant grown inside sheep and pigs

Human organs are being grown in livestock for the first time in pioneering experiments that could solve the desperate global transplant shortage
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BBSRC funded: Sick fish get a visit from the doctors

BBSRC funded: Sick fish get a visit from the doctors | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Devon scientists are leading a project to make fish healthier and improve the lot of small-scale farmers in India, Bangladesh and Malawi. The University of Exeter and the Centre for the Environment,...
BBSRC's insight:

This project is funded under the Global Research Partnership: BBSRC-Newton Fund Aquaculture Call.

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Roslin mention: A year of anniversaries, from World Cup triumph to slaughter in the Somme

Roslin mention: A year of anniversaries, from World Cup triumph to slaughter in the Somme | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Here's some dates for your diary if you want to mark key historic moments – from the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings to 20 years since Dolly the sheep
BBSRC's insight:

On July 5, 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell.

 

Born at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh she was originally named “6LLS”. But as she was created from a mammary cell, Dolly soon acquired her nickname in honour of buxom country singer Dolly Parton

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JIC mention: Defra minister George Eustice hails the role of Norwich’s scientific innovations at Norfolk Farming Conference

JIC mention: Defra minister George Eustice hails the role of Norwich’s scientific innovations at Norfolk Farming Conference | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Norfolk is a hotbed of farming innovation which can blaze a trail for revolutionising the productivity of British agriculture.
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“Centres of excellence like the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory will play a crucial role in realising this ambition.”

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JIC mention: Public asked to help against deadly algal blooms on Norfolk Broads

JIC mention: Public asked to help against deadly algal blooms on Norfolk Broads | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
The public is being asked to join the fight against deadly algal blooms plaguing the Norfolk Broads.
BBSRC's insight:

Professor Rob Field, from the John Innes Centre, said: “With a small water sample we could tell if Prymnesium is present, if it is producing toxins and if the virus is there. It’s only when all three are present that it will cause a problem.”

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IFR mention: The 10 best sources of protein every man should know

IFR mention: The 10 best sources of protein every man should know | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
The worlds best protein sources
BBSRC's insight:

Scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich found that eating foods high in selenium, like the cod, with sulforaphane-rich foods like broccoli make the meal 13 times more powerful at attacking cancer than when they are eaten alone.

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BBSRC funded: New stem cell bandage can heal wounds quicker thanks to gel made from seaweed

BBSRC funded: New stem cell bandage can heal wounds quicker thanks to gel made from seaweed | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Scientists say the advance means the treatment stays active at room temperature and could be used at the scene on accident victims and wounded soldiers
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Roslin mention: World class poultry research facility to be built in Midlothian

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) will be relocating its poultry research unit from Ayrshire to Midlothian.
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Roslin mention/BBSRC funded: The thing that matters more than looks in attraction

Roslin mention/BBSRC funded: The thing that matters more than looks in attraction | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it

Researchers have discovered the genes that determine how tall we are may also influence the people we are attracted to, with most people being attracted to partners of a similar height to themselves. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and MRC Human Genetics Unit analysed genetic information from more than 13,000 heterosexual couples.  

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JIC interview: What impact could unpredictable weather have on our crops and food?

JIC interview: What impact could unpredictable weather have on our crops and food? | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it

Scientists at the John Innes Centre, a centre for research and training in plant and microbial science in Norfolk, are now looking at growing plants in different conditions to see if they can make them less susceptible to damage from late frosts but for now farmers remain reliant on the elements.

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Roslin mention: Scottish scientists make bovine TB breakthrough

Roslin mention: Scottish scientists make bovine TB breakthrough | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Scottish scientists have been involved in a ground-breaking project to help dairy farmers breed cows for better resistance to bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute and SRUC, have developed a new genetic index called the TB Advantage breed. The index, which will be published on January 19 at the British... Read Full Story
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Babraham Quote: Scientist makes case to edit embryos

Babraham Quote: Scientist makes case to edit embryos | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
A scientist is making her case to be the first in the UK to be allowed to genetically modify human embryos.
BBSRC's insight:

Wolf Reik, a genetics professor at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, said such experiments needed to be carefully monitored and regulated to prevent misuse, but they were an "exciting prospect".

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Roslin mention, quote: Human organs being grown inside sheep and pigs to be used in transplants

Roslin mention, quote: Human organs being grown inside sheep and pigs to be used in transplants | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
More than 50 animals have been implanted with human-animal hybrid embryos in a world first
BBSRC's insight:

Bruce Whitelaw, professor of animal biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute , said British scientists would be interested in carrying out their own experiments with humananimal chimeras.

 

He said: “It is scientifically fascinating and of potential commercial interest, and offers much for healthy, productive social debate.”

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TGAC mention: Milestone resource in wheat research now available for download

TGAC mention: Milestone resource in wheat research now available for download | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it

Leading on from The Genome Analysis Centre's (TGAC) previous announcement of their new bread wheat genome assembly, the landmark resource is now publically available to download at the European Bioinformatics Institute's (EMBL-EBI) Ensembl database

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BBSRC funded: Crows' tool time captured on camera

BBSRC funded: Crows' tool time captured on camera | BIOSCIENCE NEWS | Scoop.it
Ecologists observe wild New Caledonian crows making and using hook-shaped tools, thanks to tiny tail-mounted cameras.
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