• Activists Go on Warpath Against Transgenic Crops—and Scientists

    Wu You Zhi Xiang, a loose-knit group known in English as Utopia, is gathering signatures on an open letter denouncing genetically modified (GM) crops. Few observers expect Utopia's petition to sway the Chinese government, which has enshrined transgenic crop R&D as a top priority. But Utopia's actions may well slow commercialization of GM foods.

  • Tracing the Tree of Life

    With the help of next-generation sequencing, a team of evolutionary biologists is shining a scientific spotlight on little-studied organisms in order to refine the much-debated animal tree of life.

  • Using DNA to Reveal a Mosquito's History

    Evolutionary geneticists are applying next-generation DNA sequencing tools to probe further details of the evolutionary history of the mosquito Wyeomyia smithii, which became a poster child for climate change when it was found to have migrated north in response to global warming.

  • Tackling the Mystery of the Disappearing Frogs

    The chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has wiped out amphibians around the globe. The results of new sequencing technologies that directly decipher all the active genes of a species suggest that in susceptible frogs, the immune system doesn't go on the defensive; the fungi somehow evades the body's defenses.

  • Digging Deep Into the Microbiome

    A new analysis of the gut microbes of 146 people, made possible by the lower cost and higher efficiency of DNA sequencing, is providing researchers a new way to evaluate which genes are "must-haves" for the microbes.

  • Probing Pronghorn Mating Preferences

    Animal behaviorists suspect that female pronghorns choose mates with the lowest burden of so-called deleterious mutations. Thanks to the growing availability of next-generation DNA sequencing, they may finally have a chance to prove this theory.

  • The Accelerator

    The human genome project might best be viewed as a “high-energy accelerator”—not of particles, but of scientific work and scientific imagination.

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