Story originally published by Newsweek.
If your New Year’s Resolution was to give up chocolate, you might find it easier to do it in 2050, when scientists suspect chocolate may go extinct.
Unless, that is, gene-editing scientists manage to save it.
The persnickety cacao plant contains seeds that are the vital ingredient in chocolate. But the plant only grows in narrow bands of land in the rainforest, where the weather stays relatively wet and humid the whole year. Climate change is projected to alter this habitat so drastically in the next 40 years that cacao won’t grow there, according to a report by Business Insider. It might be possible for cacao to grow on steep mountains, but many of those areas are protected as wildlife refuges against agriculture. (more…)
Story originally published on Science Alert.
Genetically modified organisms could potentially do a lot of good for the world, like ending the spread of diseases, or maybe one day helping us grow more food to feed the hungry.
There’s a big problem, though. When you release altered species out into the wild, how can you prevent them from breeding with untweaked organisms living in their natural environment, and producing hybrid offspring that scientists can’t control or regulate?
“This is a problem that has been recognised for a while,” says synthetic biologist Maciej Maselko from the University of Minnesota.
Together with his team at the university’s BioTechnology Institute, Maselko has come up with a radical solution to this scientific dilemma – but it’s not one that any procreation-inclined GMOs will like too much.
Story originally published on ScienceDaily.
Iowa State University plant scientist Patrick Schnable quickly described how he measured the time it takes for two kinds of corn plants to move water from their roots, to their lower leaves and then to their upper leaves.
This was no technical, precise, poster talk. This was a researcher interested in working with new, low-cost, easily produced, graphene-based, sensors-on-tape that can be attached to plants and can provide new kinds of data to researchers and farmers.
“With a tool like this, we can begin to breed plants that are more efficient in using water,” he said. “That’s exciting. We couldn’t do this before. But, once we can measure something, we can begin to understand it.”