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FDA Closer To Approving Biotech Salmon 204

An anonymous reader writes with a story about the possibility of genetically engineered salmon showing up on your table. "A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer's dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn't appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it. AquAdvantage salmon eggs would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. If it gets a final go-ahead, it would be the first food from a transgenic animal - one whose genome has been altered - to be approved by the FDA."

Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation, Says Ethicist 840

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in practical ethics, says that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a 'moral obligation' as it makes them grow up into 'ethically better children' and that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence as it means they will then be less likely to harm themselves and others. 'Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?' writes Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. 'So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.' Savulescu says that we already routinely screen embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down's syndrome and couples can test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes. 'Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.'"

The Increasing Role of Predictive Analysis In Police Work 180

elucido writes "A growing number of law enforcement agencies, in the US and elsewhere, have been adopting software tools with predictive analytics, based on algorithms that aim to predict crimes before they happen. From the article: 'Without some of the sci-fi gimmickry, police departments from Santa Cruz, California, to Memphis, Tennessee, and law enforcement agencies from Poland to Britain have adopted these new techniques. The premise is simple: criminals follow patterns, and with software — the same kind that retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon use to determine consumer purchasing trends — police can determine where the next crime will occur and sometimes prevent it.'"

Plan to Slow Global Warming By Dumping Iron Sulphate into Oceans 407

ananyo writes "In the search for methods of geoengineering to limit global warming, it seems that stimulating the growth of algae in the oceans might be an efficient way of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere after all. Despite attracting controversy and a UN moratorium, as well as previous studies suggesting that this approach was ineffective, a recent analysis of an ocean-fertilization experiment eight years ago in the Southern Ocean indicates that encouraging algal blooms to grow can soak up carbon that is then deposited in the deep ocean as the algae die. Each atom of added iron pulled at least 13,000 atoms of carbon out of the atmosphere by encouraging algal growth which, through photosynthesis, captures carbon. The team reports that much of the captured carbon was transported to the deep ocean, where it will remain sequestered for centuries — a 'carbon sink' (abstract)."

Australian Billionaire Plans To Build Titanic II 289

SchrodingerZ writes "Just in time to miss the 100-year anniversary of the fatal voyage of the Titanic, Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer announced he has plans to recreate the Titanic, calling it Titanic II. 'It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st Century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems,' says Palmer. He stated it was to be as close to the original as possible, with some modern adjustments. Its maiden voyage is set for 2016."

Wind Turbine Extracts Water From Air 227

An anonymous reader writes "Getting access to enough water to drink in a desert environment is a pretty tough proposition, but Eole Water may have solved the problem. It has created a wind turbine that can extract up to 1,000 liters of water per day from the air. All it requires is a 15mph wind to generate the 30kW's of power required for the process to happen. The end result is a tank full of purified water ready to drink at the base of each turbine."

Flesh-eating Bacteria Inspires Highly Selective Instant Adhesive 52

cylonlover writes "A strong and highly selective instant adhesive inspired by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes has been developed by Oxford University researchers. S. pyogenes is a common resident of human throats that is normally kept in check by the body's defenses, but when it gets out of control it can cause diseases ranging from strep throat to toxic shock syndrome or flesh-eating disease. By engineering a protein that is central to S. pyogenes' infectious arsenal, the researchers have developed a new superglue that can't be matched for sticking molecules together and not letting go."

Multicellular Life Evolves In Months, In a Lab 285

ananyo writes "The origin of multicellular life, one of the most important developments in Earth's history, could have occurred with surprising speed, U.S. researchers have shown. In the lab, a single-celled yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) took less than 60 days to evolve into many-celled clusters that behaved as individuals. The clusters even developed a primitive division of labor, with some cells dying so that others could grow and reproduce. Multicellular life has evolved independently at least 25 times, but these transitions are so ancient that they have been hard to study. The researchers wanted to see if they could evolve multicellularity in a single-celled organism, using gravity as the selective pressure. In a tube of liquid, clusters of yeast cells settle at the bottom more quickly than single cells. By culturing only the cells that sank, they selected for those that stick together. After many rounds of selection over 60 days, the yeast had evolved into 'snowflakes' comprising dozens of cells."

New Mexico Is Stretching, GPS Reveals 117

Velcroman1 writes "New Mexico's borders are gradually gaining girth, according to the Albuquerque Journal. It's not much, and it's not happening very fast — the state is getting about an inch wider every 40 years — but the state is unquestionably expanding, according to University of Colorado geophysicist Henry Berglund and his colleagues. Using a collection of 25 extra-precise GPS receivers planted across New Mexico and Colorado, Berglund determined that the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe are creeping away from each other. The rate of change seems ever so slow to the untrained ear, described as approximately 1.2 'nanostrains' per year."

Researchers Create First Genetically Modified Monkeys 134

Several readers tipped news that U.S. scientists have created 'chimeric' monkeys, made with genetic material from as many as six different genomes (abstract). This is significant because it's the first time researchers have used the technique on a primate. From the article: "Researchers took very early stem cells, called totipotent stem cells, from separate developing embryos and basically glued them together, implanting the mixed embryos into surrogate mother monkeys. The cells — from totally different sources — didn’t fuse, but worked together in harmony, forming fully fledged, normal, healthy animals. ... The key here was the scientists’ use of totipotent cells, so named for their ability to differentiate into the totality of possible cells in an animal. A totipotent cell can give rise to a whole animal. Pluripotent stem cells, the type most frequently used in stem cell research, can differentiate into any cell in the body, but can’t become a whole animal, and can’t make other embryonic tissues like a placenta. Totipotent stem cells are only derived from the very earliest stages of a zygote, mere days after fertilization. In humans, totipotent cells differentiate into pluripotent cells after four days."

Researchers Create "Mighty Mouse" With Gene Tweak 112

cylonlover writes "He can't fly just yet, but a team of scientists have made a big step towards creating a real-life Mighty Mouse. By tweaking a gene that normally inhibits muscle growth the researchers created a batch of super-strong mice and worms. The scientists acted on a genome regulator — known as NCOR1 — and were able to change the activity of certain genes. In simpler English, the scientists shut off the thyroid hormone that keeps most mammals from turning into the Incredible Hulk. The result was a strain of mice with muscles that were twice as strong as normal."

Russian Scientists Say They'll Clone a Mammoth Within 5 Years 302

Many scientists (mainly Japanese and Russian) have dreamed of cloning a mammoth over the years. When the mammoth genome was partially reconstructed in 2008, that dream seemed a bit closer. Besides the millions of dollars needed for such a project, the biggest hurdle was the lack of a good sample of mammoth DNA. That hurdle has now been cleared, thanks to the discovery of well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Russian scientist Semyon Grigoriev, acting director of the Sakha Republic's mammoth museum, and colleagues from Japan's Kinki University say that within 5 years they'll likely have a clone. From the article: "What's been missing is woolly mammoth nuclei with undamaged genes. Scientists have been on a Holy Grail-type search for such pristine nuclei since the late 1990s. Now it sounds like the missing genes may have been found."

Mongolia Wants To Use Artificial Glaciers To Cool Capital 97

phaedrus5001 wrote in with a story about an unusual plan to regulate the temperature of Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia. The article reads: "The city of Ulan Bator will attempt to capture some of the cool winter temperatures in huge ice blocks that will slowly melt over the summer and cool down the city. The aim is to build artificial ice shields — or 'naleds' — that occur naturally in far northern climates and can grow to be more than seven meters thick. They grow when river water pushes through cracks in the surface of the ice during the day and then freezes to add an extra layer of ice when night falls. Engineering consortium EMI-ECOS will try to replicate this process by creating holes in the ice that is forming over the Tuul river. This will be repeated over and over again until the ice is much thicker than it would be if left alone."

Scientists Recover Black Death RNA From Exhumed Victims 105

Richard.Tao writes "Scientists have recovered the RNA of the virus that caused the plague by digging through an English mass grave, and compiling [from several partial examples] the genetics of the virus. Though the plague still persists, scientists have believe the ancient strain was different due to a different onset of symptoms."

Genetically Altering Trees To Sequester More Carbon 279

An anonymous reader writes "Forests of genetically altered trees and other plants could sequester several billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year and so help ameliorate global warming, according to estimates published in the October issue of BioScience. The study, by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, outlines a variety of strategies (PDF) for augmenting the processes that plants use to sequester carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into long-lived forms of carbon, first in vegetation and ultimately in soil."

Anything cut to length will be too short.