Boulder Pays Tribute to Mork

Two days after Robin Williams sad death, I made my way to visit the Mork and Mindy house here in Boulder. Many people were milling around, traffic was very busy on an otherwise not so busy street, and there were many flowers and notes lining the fence in front of the house. I heard a few sniffles, too. It was all very touching to see, and yes, I, too, was a fan.

Here are a few photos from my visit.

Alarming MIT Technology Report Concerning “Gene Drive” Technology

I want to call readers attention to this rather alarming article from MIT Technology Review (referencing a Science journal article). What’s going on here is that gene editing techniques that weren’t as worrisome a decade ago have become greatly concerning to scientists because they have made such huge advances. Gene altering procedures are becoming simple and quick. These scientists, asking for help, are admitting that the technology has outpaced the safety and want integrated risk management, which for now is missing. The scientists are pleading with regulators to make the world safe from themselves. I am offering the beginning of the article and please click on the link at the bottom to read the rest.  —Kay M.


Scientists working at the cutting-edge of genetics say one possible application of a powerful new technology called genome editing has the potential to cause ecological mayhem and needs attention from regulators.

The technique, referred to as a “gene drive,” would cause chosen genes, including man-made ones, to quickly spread through a species as its members reproduce.

While gene drives may have commercial and public health uses, 10 scientists published an editorial in the journal Science calling for more public discussion, and also more scrutiny by regulators.

news report in Science gives the background:

[A] gene drive involves stimulating biased inheritance of particular genes to alter entire populations of organisms. It was first proposed more than a decade ago, and researchers have been developing gene drive approaches to alter mosquitoes to slow the spread of malaria and dengue fever. Although progress has been quite slow, recent advances in gene editing could lead to a rapid application of gene drive approaches to other species.

[To read more, go to MIT Technology Review]

Genetically Modified Seed Use is Up in the U.S.

The United States Department of Agriculture has released a new report on the adoption of herbicide tolerant and insect resistant crops since their introduction in 1996.

According to the report, the percentage of genetically modified (GM) seed within the U.S. corn crop nearly doubled over the past 10 years, from less than half of the total planted corn acres in 2004 to 93 percent this year, up from 90 percent last year.

The report includes these three stats:

· GE soybean is 94 percent of soybean hectarage in the US in 2014 from 93 percent in 2013.
· GE corn is 93 percent of all corn planted in the US, up from 90 percent in 2013.
· GE cotton is 96 percent of all cotton grown in the US, up from 90 percent in 2013.

AND…

The following graphic is from the ISAAA which gives global adoption rates:


USDA adoption of genetically modified seeds in the U.S. report here: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx#.U-oVKF7oau4