A bacterial protein called Bt toxin makes a safe and effective pesticide. But Bt-proof bugs could render the agricultural resource useless. So researchers at North Carolina State University are helping to develop a test kit that gives farmers early warning of Bt resistance, allowing them to give the affected area a break from Bt before a “super pest” emerges.
NC State entomologist R. Michael Roe calls the testing technique “embarrassingly simple” -a farmer merely adds water and a bit of Bt to wells in a cellular-phone-sized container, then drops in a few bugs from the field. Each well holds insect food mixed with an indicator dye that turns bug feces blue. Bt-susceptible pests sickened by the toxin don’t eat-and therefore don’t defecate. But resistant bugs produce blue droppings-a quick, colorful warning for the farmer, who would otherwise have to wait a week or so for the insects to die. A large-scale field study of the test kit, sponsored by Cotton Inc., should be completed this spring.
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI
One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
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