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Genetics and Society
how modern genetics affects your everyday life
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PNAS: Retargeting of the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cyt2Aa against hemipteran insect pests (2013)

PNAS: Retargeting of the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cyt2Aa against hemipteran insect pests (2013) | Genetics and Society | Scoop.it

Although transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins have been used successfully for management of lepidopteran and coleopteran pest species, the sap-sucking insects (Hemiptera) are not particularly susceptible to Bt toxins. To overcome this limitation, we demonstrate that addition of a short peptide sequence selected for binding to the gut of the targeted pest species serves to increase toxicity against said pest. Insertion of a 12-aa pea aphid gut-binding peptide by adding to or replacing amino acids in one of three loops of the Bt cytolytic toxin, Cyt2Aa, resulted in enhanced binding and toxicity against both the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. This strategy may allow for transgenic plant-mediated suppression of other hemipteran pests, which include some of the most important pests of global agriculture.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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European court confirms right to cultivate GM crops - Farming UK (2012)

European court confirms right to cultivate GM crops - Farming UK (2012) | Genetics and Society | Scoop.it

A decision by the European Court of Justice has clarified the legal requirements concerning the cultivation of GM crops within the European Union member states. The decision confirms the non-legitimacy of national authorizations introduced in addition to the approval of biotech crops established by the European legal framework, and it also confirms that coexistence measures are not mandatory to grow GM plants... In Italy, adoption of GM maize is expected to bring an increased maize production from 40,6 million Euros to 108,2 million Euros, depending to the level of the pest pressure and damages.


Via Alexander J. Stein
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Living 'neon signs' composed of millions of glowing bacteria

Living 'neon signs' composed of millions of glowing bacteria | Genetics and Society | Scoop.it
In an example of life imitating art, biologists and bioengineers have created a living neon sign composed of millions of bacterial cells that periodically fluoresce in unison like blinking light bulbs.
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Stop worrying; start growing - Fagström &al (2012) - EMBO reports

Stop worrying; start growing - Fagström &al (2012) - EMBO reports | Genetics and Society | Scoop.it

Ever since the Asilomar Conference on ‘Recombinant DNA' in February 1975, regulatory policies relating to recombinant DNA technology have focused on the idea that this technology implies threats to human health and the environment. As a consequence, the explicit goal of these policies is to protect society and nature from an assumed hazard, or, if protection is not possible, at least to delay the implementation of the technology until scientific evidence shows it to be harmless. These policies were widely accepted at the time, as public concerns were, and still are, important. As time has gone by, the evidence for negative impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops has become weaker. However, the regulatory policies within the EU are still rigid enough to prevent most GM crops from leaving the confined laboratory setting; should some candidate occasionally overcome the hurdles posed by these policies, the precautionary principle is invoked in order to ensure further delaying in its use in the field. The reason for this over-cautious approach is widespread public resistance to GM crops, caused and amplified by interested groups that are opposed to the technology and invest heavily into lobbying against it...


Via Alexander J. Stein
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Stereotype Threat Can Drive Women To Quit Science

 

 

 

 

"For a female scientist, particularly talking to a male colleague, if she thinks it's possible he might hold this stereotype, a piece of her mind is spent monitoring the conversation and monitoring what it is she is saying, and wondering whether or not she is saying the right thing, and wondering whether or not she is sounding competent, and wondering whether or not she is confirming the stereotype," Schmader said.

All this worrying is distracting. It uses up brainpower. The worst part?

"By merely worrying about that more, one ends up sounding more incompetent," Schmader said.


Via Freddy Monteiro
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