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Comment Re:Do it in China. (Score 1) 245 245

Italy isn't exactly an R&D powerhouse. They're a science third-world country. The places where GMO research is being aggressively pursued are only becoming more active as the underlying biology improves. Some of that is in China, yes, but the bulk is in the major research centers in the US, Canada, and Germany.

Ultimately, GMO agriculture is essential to the long-term stability of our civilization as global warming starts to push on food production. Some disorganized and largely ignorant resistance isn't going to stop a nickel of research grant money in these countries from going out.

Comment Re:$1000 (Score 2) 153 153

You're missing the point. You don't need a thousand-dollar test to tell you what color your hair is. You do need a thousand dollar test to tell you how your specific cancer is disregulated, and which pathways which have been damaged can be targeted by non-cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs. That's the true revolution behind cheap sequencing; it tells you EXACTLY what the problem is. This means you can move from drugs that kill everything, hoping that they kill cancer faster, to drugs that inactivate or inhibit very specific things which are only present in the cancer. That is the revolution. That's what we need sequencing for.

Comment Re:Designer Humans? (Score 1) 153 153

This isn't true at all. Human somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) cloning doesn't work. We don't know why. It partially works (you get early development) if you bootstrap by leaving a partial copy of the oocyte genome in the recipient cell, but that's not developmentally viable past a certain point. There's absolutely a difference for humans and we don't know what it is. Until we do, we can't do human cloning.

Comment Re:Rosalind Franklin (Score 1) 112 112

Rosalind Franklin has credit. Her paper is published in the same issue of Nature as the Watson and Crick paper, it's two pages away. She'd have shared the Nobel prize if she hadn't died before it was awarded. She got a bit screwed, but she's hardly the first academic you can say that about.

Comment Re:No way (Score 4, Informative) 386 386

The Joule technology requires no "feedstock," no corn, no wood, no garbage, no algae. Aside from hungry, gene-altered micro-organisms, it requires only carbon dioxide and sunshine to manufacture crude. And water: whether fresh, brackish or salt.

How can anyone with a high school chemistry education take this bullshit seriously?

People with a high school biology education know that CO2 + H20 + Sunlight = Sugar, thanks to the magic of photosynthesis and the Calvin Cycle. Sugar + anaerobic respiration = Ethanol, thanks to the magic of anaerobic ethanol fermentation. You can argue that their bioreactors will need nutrient supplementation to maintain viability, and you'd be right. Those are not feedstocks however, as you only need small amounts relative to product. It's not bullshit, it's science.

Comment Re:Obvious and boring (Score 2, Informative) 133 133

It's interesting in that this is a nice summary of information that we've known for a while that has never been presented in so succinct a format.

I had a table with that molecular breakdown in my biochem textbook. It was just black&white instead of colored, and it didn't look like it was made in Illustrator.

Way to go to him for... coloring... I guess. It's still pretty 1970-y information.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau