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Toxn

Biotechnology and Bioengineering Thread

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On 26/01/2017 at 10:07 AM, Toxn said:

Since this is as close as we have to a general news thread for this subforum:

 

http://gizmodo.com/diabolical-parasite-grows-inside-baby-wasps-and-eats-th-1791608651

 

This sort of stuff, of course, always reminds one of this:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Siphonaptera

It gets worse:

Quote

But why would the crypt-keeper force its host to plug the escape hole? It’s not clear, but Weinersmith and Egan found an enticing clue. In some cases, they saw that a third type of wasp—a fairy wasp—would emerge from infected branches. Fairy wasps are among the smallest animals alive, and some of them are hyperparasites of the family that includes the crypt-keeper.

So, perhaps the crypt-keeper uses its host to plug the crypt, so it can’t get parasitized itself by an intruding fairy wasp. Or maybe the fairy wasp uses the presence of a head-plugged hole to find a crypt-keeper wasp to target.  “We’re hoping to catch the fairy wasp this year, and get the whole system into the lab,” says Weinersmith. “It blows our minds that there could be yet another layer to all of this.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/01/inception-but-with-parasites/514211/

Like russian dolls, but horrifying.

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So this is a banner day for plant biotech:

 

https://www.igb.illinois.edu/article/scientists-engineer-shortcut-photosynthetic-glitch-boost-crop-growth-40

 

I remember learning about C3 plants and photorespiration in undergrad. Even then, we had people wondering if we could simply convert some of these crops to C4 photosynthesis and reap a 40% yield increase overnight.

 

Well now it's done. Congratulations, humanity, crop scientists just solved world hunger for at least another generation so long as the pricks in charge allow GMOs to be rolled out broadly (sigh).

From here on out it's your fault if you're hungry.

 

Edit: I should mention at this point that the team that did it didn't make a C3 plant into a C4 plant. Instead they introduced alternate pathways for glycolate cycling and used RNAi to cut down glycolate transport. So this is true biological engineering.

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