Sustainable Pesticide Use with Intelligent Spraying

Pesticides may be essential in ensuring abundant and healthy yields of many crops, but so far, the techniques used to spray them have led to considerable environmental damage. In his research, Dr. Mark Gleason, a plant pathologist at Iowa State University, assesses the performance of new technologies that can deploy pesticides on apple trees in …

Competition and Cooperation in Evolution

Despite the old adage “nice guys finish last”, cooperation is common in life – from the scale of genes or cells through to entire societies. Although these two ideas seem to contradict each other, Dr. Egbert Giles Leigh Jr. has demonstrated throughout his career at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama that working together …

Here’s how scientists make plant-based foods taste and look more like meat

In 2019, Burger King Sweden released a plant-based burger, the Rebel Whopper, and the reaction was underwhelming. So, the company challenged its customers to taste the difference. Burger King Sweden created a menu item where customers would have a 50-50 chance of getting a meat burger or a plant-based one. To find out, they had …

Creating Power Foods with Gene Technology

At least 820 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition globally and human population growth is likely to exacerbate this problem in the future. It is becoming increasingly important to develop sustainable and efficient methods to meet food demands. To address this global issue, Dr. Sanju A. Sanjaya and Bagyalakshmi Muthan from West Virginia State …

Can DNA Solve The World’s Data Storage Problem?

We’re creating more data than we know what to do with. The millions of emails and texts and tweets and YouTube videos are quickly building up in data storage centers. Thus far the answer to the issue has been to just build more and more data storage warehouses across the globe, but these data centers …

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes: the benefits and drawbacks

Many of us have had the misfortune to encounter mosquitoes at one time or another. If we’re lucky, we’ve only experienced them from the perspective of being something of an annoyance. We see them as buzzing pests that emerge during humid periods and leave their mark with itchy bumps and welts. However, they can be …

A History of Pandemics (8000 B.C.-today)

Lindsay Holiday published two-part very informative video series titled “A History of Pandemics” on Youtube. These pandemics (and epidemics) have occurred countless times in the past, infecting, injuring and killing millions, and sometimes changing dramatically the course of human history. But, first, what is a pandemic? What is an epidemic?

What’s the Epidemiology Behind COVID-19?

In the last three months, our entire lives have been upended by an organism we can’t see and little understand. In the process, it has transformed millions of us into homeschool teachers of our children, remote workers, and public policy pundits as we debate what our government officials are doing right, and wrong, in response …

Evolution: that famous “march of progress” image is just wrong

Evolution explains how all living beings, including us, came to be. It would be easy to assume evolution works by continuously adding features to organisms, constantly increasing their complexity. Some fish evolved legs and walked onto the land. Some dinosaurs evolved wings and began to fly. Others evolved wombs and began to give birth to …

Sea creatures store carbon in the ocean – could protecting them help slow climate change?

As the prospect of catastrophic effects from climate change becomes increasingly likely, a search is on for innovative ways to reduce the risks. One potentially powerful and low-cost strategy is to recognize and protect natural carbon sinks – places and processes that store carbon, keeping it out of Earth’s atmosphere. Heidi Pearson, University of Alaska …