AquaBounty compares their fish (back) with a wild-caught fish of the same age.

Canadians bringing genetically modified salmon to their tables

AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based company, began growing genetically modified (GM) salmon nearly three decades ago. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that the FDA approved the fish for human consumption. Health Canada made the same decision in 2016. While a current law prevents US sales until a labeling system is established, Canada has imported roughly 5 tons of the GM salmon since May 2016. Although the fish sell unlabeled, Canadians appear to be embracing the next frontier in aquaculture. Continue reading Canadians bringing genetically modified salmon to their tables

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From Seed to Organ: Growing a Liver

Over 17,000 Americans are currently waiting for liver transplants, with millions more living with chronic liver disease. There simply aren’t enough healthy organs to go around. So why not engineer them? Growing a liver “from scratch” by using its constituent cells could replace the need for whole organ transplants. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology generated hydrogels containing three different types of human cells, … Continue reading From Seed to Organ: Growing a Liver

January 9 – Science Journalism by the Pint with STAT

Are you interested in learning more about what the field of science journalism looks like from the inside? Check out our next Science by the Pint event: The (Sometimes Messy) Science of Communicating Science. Coming this Monday (Jan. 9), 6:30pm, to The Burren in Davis Square, free and open to the public! Panelists from the Boston-based publication STAT will discuss what led them to a … Continue reading January 9 – Science Journalism by the Pint with STAT

Scanning electron micrograph of Staphylococcus epidermidis, a non-pathogenic member of the human microbiome

Of Microbes and Men: How Our Small Sidekicks Influence Human Individuality

  Forensic investigators often rely upon the uniqueness of human DNA and fingerprints, but a recent study suggests that many people may also be identified by the microorganisms that call that person home.  Thousands of different species of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes live on and inside of our bodies, many of which perform tasks that are essential for human survival.  Intriguingly, the compositions of these … Continue reading Of Microbes and Men: How Our Small Sidekicks Influence Human Individuality

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Earliest stone tools discovered don’t sink current theories

Human evolution is a tricky subject, with very little information on who our ancestors were and what they were like. By convention, researchers have defined the evolutionary group Homo (the genus of modern humans) as the first of our ancestors to make and use stone tools; the oldest members of this group, Homo habilis (literally ‘skillful man’) are thought to have existed around 2 million … Continue reading Earliest stone tools discovered don’t sink current theories

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The Cell’s DNA Construction Crew: Repairing and rebuilding the genome

Presented by Thomas Graham The DNA inside one of your cells, if stretched end to end, would be about two yards long and less than 1/50,000 the width of a human hair. Your cells have been following the instructions in your DNA since you began life as a single-celled embryo, and they will continue doing so as long as you live. Unfortunately, your DNA is … Continue reading The Cell’s DNA Construction Crew: Repairing and rebuilding the genome

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Starchy Dangers in Human Evolution

Mashed potatoes are Uncle Mike’s favorite food; at family dinners he would spoon mound after mound of them onto his plate long after everyone else was done eating. Many people seem to feel the same way about these creamy mountains of starch, but is it possible something sinister lurks within, threatening some people with weight gain? To answer that question we first need to understand … Continue reading Starchy Dangers in Human Evolution