Latest Expert Analysis
GENeS publishes comments from researchers on scientific developments and breaking news. Expert analyses of peer-reviewed studies are a complementary resource to standard press releases, providing background, scientific context, contacts and leads for stories, while expert reactions to breaking news feed into rolling coverage.
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Engineering plants to produce antibacterial proteins could offer a new way to control disease-causing E. coli in fresh food, according to a study in PNAS. Researchers genetically engineered plants to produce colicins – proteins which kill or inhibit the growth of E. coli – and found that when extracted, the colicins significantly reduced bacterial populations. Continue reading
Freedom of information requests reveal how scientists interact with seed, chemical and organic companies
Publicly funded researchers have become integrated into public relations and lobbying efforts by both agricultural biotechnology and organic companies, according to a report in the New York Times. The report is based on emails between researchers and companies obtained through freedom of information requests. Continue reading
Researchers conclude rare neurodegenerative disease MSA is transmissible, caused by infectious proteins
An infectious protein, or prion, is the underlying cause of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disease similar to Parkinson’s, making it transmissible, conclude the authors of a study in PNAS. Continue reading
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced they will deregulate a second genetically engineered potato by J.R. Simplot Company. In addition to reduced browning, the newly approved potato is engineered for blight resistance and a lower sugar content. Continue reading
A Consumer Reports investigation analyzed 300 samples of ground beef bought from food stores in the US, reporting 100% of the products tested positive for bacteria found in feces. The authors recommended consumers should buy beef from cattle raised without antibiotics, on food safety grounds. Continue reading
Genetic variants linked to low vitamin D levels were strongly associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in PLoS Medicine. Continue reading
A nanoparticle flu vaccine that creates protection from different strains of the virus has been demonstrated in animal trials, according to a study in Nature Medicine. Researchers generated a vaccine using an H1N1 virus and found that it completely protected mice and partially protected ferrets infected with the H5N1 virus. Continue reading
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Philip Landrigan and Charles Benbrook call for a reconsideration of the safety of plant biotechnology due to concern over the impact of herbicides on public health. Continue reading
Agricultural biotechnology companies are developing sprays to control weeds and insect pests by temporarily altering their genetics through RNA interference. Companies like Monsanto see the RNAi sprays as an alternative to developing new genetically engineered crops. Continue reading
Interim results from the phase 3 clinical trial of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine show that the vaccine “might be highly efficacious and safe” in preventing Ebola, according to researchers who conducted the trial. The randomised trial involved 7651 individuals in Guniea who were either vaccinated immediately or provided delayed vaccination 21 days after the start of the trial. The results of the study are published in The Lancet. Continue reading