The Warrior Gene

March 14, 2018

Recently there has been a good deal of coverage in the popular media of the so-called “warrior gene”, presumable a variant of the gene coding for the enzyme monamine oxidase, which metabolizes neurotransmitters.  This allele codes for lower levels of the enzyme, the result being that individuals carrying this allele will accumulate higher levels of neurotransmitters, including noradrenaline and dopamine.  Such individuals have been reported to display aggressive and violent behavior.  Both humans and mice with low MAO-A are reported to more impulsive and aggressive than control groups with the normal alleles.  Persons with high levels of the enzyme display a higher incidence of major d...

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Eliminating Invasive Mammalian Pests with CRISPR/gene drive

January 22, 2018

Rats and other non-native mammalian species have been a scorge on New Zealand's indigenous wildlife for centuries, and have proven virtually impossible to eliminate. Now, scientists at the University of Scotland's Roslin Institute and at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts have proposed a radica...

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Learn About Your Microbiome

November 27, 2017

New technologies for treating gastroenteric diseases have been given a huge boost in recent years as scientists have investigated the microbiome, defined as the sum total of the diverse populations of bacteria, viruses and fungi sprea...

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Bioweapons: An Existential Threat?

March 6, 2017

With the rise and widespread dissemination of CRISPR technology, new concerns have been voiced over the possible applications of these technologies to the facile development of a new generation of potent biological weapons against which there would...

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Shoddy drug research goes both ways

October 17, 2016

In the last few years there have been a striking number of claims of irreproducible pre-clinical pharma research. One of the most devastating was a 2012 report from Amgen researchers who were unable to reproduce the results of...

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