"A dramatic reduction in tillage has been driven in large part because of the effective weed control possible with GM crops, and this has improved everything from soil erosion to carbon capture in soil organic matter (for a review on this topic see Shaw et al. 2012). At the same time, the GM technology has relied on chemistries which are extraordinarily non-toxic to animal life."
Monsanto is widely viewed as Public Enemy No. 1 when it comes to protecting the nation's honeybees, but the agricultural biotech company is developing new technology that could make it a honeybee's best friend. - Maxx Chatsko - Energy
In 1998, two researchers made a startling discovery with enormous potential: They could attack diseases by turning off the genes that provide them with their malevolent energy. The scientists, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Stanford University, had come up with a way to block, or “silence,” genes by using strands of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, to interfere with the genes’ normal production of proteins. Remove the proteins and the diseases fed by them would go away. But by the time Craig Mello and Andrew Z. Fire were rewarded for their breakthrough with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2006, their big idea, RNA interference, had failed to produce breakthroughs. But “there’s been significant progress” over the past decade, said Andre Turenne, at Genzyme, which recently signed a development deal with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
European Union governments may agree to let individual member countries ban the cultivation of genetically modified crops so EU nations that favor such seeds can plant them, ending years of legislative deadlock.
This invention pertains to a CDC-NIOSH developed sonic aerosol generator that provides a controllable, stable concentration of particulate aerosol over a long period of time for aerosol exposure studies. Specifically, in situ testing data indicate uniform aerosol stability can be maintainable for greater than 30 hours at concentrations of 15 mg/m3 or more. Additionally, the technology was specifically developed for, and validated in, animal studies assessing exposure to airborne multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). It has been suggested that workers may be at risk for exposure to nanosized particles during the manufacture, handling, and cleanup of engineered nanomaterials. Compared to other technologies, this NIOSH aerosol generator is particularly helpful when used for generating high testing concentrations of MWCNT aerosols that more accurately represent particulate levels that may be seen in a workplace environment.
Erik Janus's insight:
It's a shame NIOSH didn't explore a non-animal method for doing this work, although in order to do this it is probably preferable to establish the assay in an in vivo system first.
It’s hard to believe, but seed planting hasn’t changed much in the last century. But as John Deere and Monsanto move big into precision farming, high-tech solutions may be shaking all that up.
Erik Janus's insight:
"Ultimately, the competition between the two companies seems to be shaping into an Apple vs. Google-style tech war — a version of the Microsoft v. Apple debate, about the virtue of open versus closed systems. John Deere is Apple, selling physical technology with their proprietary software built-in, while Monsanto is Google, selling software-as-a-service that farmers can download to their tablets and computer-controlled tractors."
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