Fruits and vegetables are good for us, this we know. But what if they could deliver even more health benefits than they already do? Dr. Alan M. Fogelman from UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and his team of researchers have found a way to genetically modify tomatoes to lower plaque build up like never before.
How do you like them apples? Not so much when they keep turning brown after you slice them. This is a serious problem for us first-worlders, but Okanagan Specialty Fruits has saved the day with their Arctic Apple, which has been genetically modified to never turn brown when it's cut or bruised.
The ocean is full of crap, and it's our fault. We've been dumping crap into it for centuries, so it's not surprising that some areas boast 335,000 pieces of floating junk per square km. Cleaning it all up by hand isn't feasible, so a group of students are trying to engineer synthetic bacteria to do the job instead.
Mosquitoes, unfortunately, have a valuable place in our ecosystem or something, so going out and nuking all of the little buggers is probably not a good option. The worst part about mosquitoes isn't mosquitoes themselves anyway: it's the malaria parasites that they carry, and genetic modification may have finally solved that problem for good.
Aphids eat plants. It's what they do. To try to get them to top devouring plants that we want to eat, we can try to kill them off with chemicals, or we can just genetically engineer a new strain of wheat to emit aphid panic pheromones. It doesn't kill the bugs, but it does scare them away.
Humans (as a society) have been putting some effort lately into living sustainably, which is good, as far as the future of our planet is concerned. The problem is that we're really not set up for sustainable living: in many ways, we're designed from the ground up to exploit our environment. But we can fix that, or at least make it a little better, with some minor genetic tweaking.
The photos of these genetically engineered "supersoldier" ants — with their giant heads and pincers — are a little terrifying. While supersoldier ants can be found in nature, apparently they are quite rare and are genetic accidents. I'm glad of that for personal reasons, but they do have a scientific significance.
In an effort to create new tools to control the population of disease-carrying pests (or just pests in general), researchers in the U.K. have modified certain mosquitoes with a lethal gene that kills offspring before they mature and bite people. This isn't just something happening in a lab, either — they've already been released.
We're not even at the point where we're allowed to get all up in people's stem cells to help cure diseases, but researchers are already thinking ahead to how we can use stem cells to treat genetic diseases, which should be impossible. Or, it was impossible, until we just did it.
The FDA is getting ready to approve the very first animal that has been genetically modified specifically to be eaten by humans.