Lab grown turkeys by 2030?

Silly me! This post should have read:

By 2030 you could be eating your Christmas dinner comprising of a turkey grown in the laboratory. The process works by taking a small piece of turkey breast and isolating special stem cells which form muscle fibre. Those cells are then placed in a soup of sugar and amino acids which tricks them into thinking they are still inside the turkey and need to continue dividing. You can read more on the Telegraph website at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/11/27/christmas-turkey-will-grown-lab-2030-say-scientists/

Genetically modified mosquitoes to combat Zika?

Genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys as early as this spring, an official said, after voters in Monroe County, Florida, approved the experiment. This could be the first time a genetically modified animal is released into the wild in the United States.

The male mosquitoes modified by Oxitec are designed to control Aedes aegypti mosquito populations by mating with wild females, and passing a gene to their offspring that stops them from reaching maturity. Only male mosquitoes are to be released (one out of every 1,000 could be female). Male mosquitoes do not bite.

The mosquitoes are meant to undermine the same mosquitoes that spread Zika.

Is it worth drinking ‘diet’ fizzy drinks?

Oh dear! Are you drinking low calorie fizzy drinks in the belief that it will help you lose weight? Unfortunately, it has been shown that the sweetener, aspartame, which is used in these drinks does not have this effect. Aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) that can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Extraordinarily hot Arctic

The Arctic is experiencing extraordinarily hot sea surface and air temperatures, which are stopping ice forming and could lead to record lows of sea ice at the north pole next year.

Danish and US researchers monitoring satellites and Arctic weather stations are surprised and alarmed by air temperatures peaking at what they say is an unheard-of 20C higher than normal for the time of year. In addition, sea temperatures averaging nearly 4C higher than usual in October and November.

Let’s hope the new president elect is taking serious notice.

 

DNA editing partially restores sight

Blind animals have had their vision partially restored using a revolutionary DNA editing technique that scientists say could in future be applied to a range of devastating genetic diseases.

The study shows that a gene editing tool called Crispr can be used to replace faulty genes with working versions in the cells of adults – in this case adult rats.

Previously, the powerful procedure, in which strands of DNA are snipped out and replaced, had been used only in dividing cells but the latest advance paves the way for Crispr to be used to treat a range of incurable illnesses, such as muscular dystrophy, haemophilia and cystic fibrosis, by overwriting faulty genes.

Super Moon

Did you see the super moon yesterday?  Probably not as it was a cloudy evening. Perhaps you saw it on Sunday, if not there is still a chance to see it tonight but it might still be cloudy south of the M4.

Wireless link used to bypass spinal cord

Researchers have restored some leg movement to a monkey that was paralysed in one leg due to a damaged spinal cord. The team used an implant in the brain to wirelessly send instructions to the nerves controlling leg movement. It is hoped that this technology will be ready for human trials within 10 years

 

Trump and Climate Change

This is worth reading, from Oliver Milman, US Environment Correspondent

Obama’s climate legacy is set to be torn apart by Trump once he enters the White House. Contentious oil pipelines such as Keystone and Dakota Access will likely be approved. Clean energy funding will be slashed. The world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter will look to prop up coal, rather than renewables, to power its future.

This could prove catastrophic for the world’s climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed into an excuse to slack off in cutting emissions. Already, the 2C threshold looks in severe peril. 8 November could be the day when tens of millions of people were condemned to an unlivable environment. A Trump u-turn on this matter, at least, would be welcomed by those most at risk.