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Submission + - Giant tobacco plants that stay young forever ( 1

Jaktar writes: "Normally, tobacco plants bloom and die when they reach around 4 months old. Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Münster have located the tobacco plant’s very own fountain of youth, which means they can keep it forever young. They have suppressed the plants normal change from blooming to flowering, leading the plant to grow perpetually. Their first plant is around 8 years old.

Bacterium are used to insert modified genes. In the future, the researchers want to go further and be able to disable plants’ growth limits using chemical mutagenesis as well – that is to say, using normal growing techniques. This process involves using chemical additives to bring about changes in a seed’s DNA sequence. Their hope is to extend this genetic modification to switch grass and food crops."

Submission + - Male pill: gene discovery may lead to contraceptive (

Jaktar writes: It may be possible to develop a new male contraceptive pill after researchers in Edinburgh identified a gene critical for the production of healthy sperm. Experiments in mice found that the gene, Katnal1, was vital for the final stages of making sperm. The authors of a study in PLos Genetics said a drug which interrupts Katnal1 could be a reversible contraceptive.

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes