By Ryan Lee Published March 11, 2015
This week in Science, a paper from researchers at University of California at San Diego describes a new application of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in which a gene can be spread throughout an entire population of insects at a previously unimaginable rate. This technique, known as mutagenic chain reaction or gene drive, has enormous potential for applications in pest control or disease eradication, but it has also given some scientists pause for thought and cause for concern.
By Ryan Lee Published February 18, 2015
California is in the midst of what is possibly the worst drought in over 1,000 years, and that could just be the beginning of America's clime change woes. A new study by NASA's Earth Observatory predicts that the country is at risk for unprecedented "megadroughts" if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. This is especially worrisome because of the political climate in D.C., making the need for action on the part of the people more urgent than ever.
By Ryan Lee Published November 9, 2014
Genetic engineering in agriculture is a highly polarizing topic with significant political opposition around the world. At the same time, genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, hold enormous potential to benefit farmers and consumers, particularly in developing countries. The development of GMO brinjal (eggplant) had been stalled on the subcontinent for years by political opposition from environmental groups until about one year ago when Bangladesh approved the crop. The results from the first year of cultivation are in.
By Ryan Lee Published October 24, 2014
As population continues to increase over the coming decades, global food demand is expected to rise to 170% of current levels. Clearing more land to facilitate agricultural expansion is undesirable and cannot alone meet the challenge posed. Therefore, a high-technology solution is necessary to win the fight against global hunger. One novel solution to consider is vertical farming, which could potentially give humans the ability to bring production of food closer to urban centers, as well as eliminate some of the risks and costs imposed by and on nature.