GMO Regulations Stymie Food Testers (Abstract Science July 20-26)
Also: Implants may prevent HIV for up to a year, and new scientific interest in how cellular "garbage" may be helping to spread disease
(Heidi Ledford, Nature, 7/23/19)
A landmark European court ruling that made gene-edited crops subject to the same stringent regulations as other genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has created a conundrum for food-testing laboratories across Europe. The ruling that the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) delivered on July 25, 2018 requires these scattered laboratories — which already spot-check freighters and supermarkets for foods that contain unapproved GMOs — to look for gene-edited crops. But there is no easy way to do this. Gene edits often alter just a few DNA letters, whereas conventional genetic modifications often involve transplanting longer stretches of DNA from one species to another.
(Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times, 7/23/19)
In what could eventually become a milestone for H.I.V. prevention, very preliminary tests of an implant containing a new drug suggest that it may protect against infection for a full year. The new implant, by the drug company Merck, was tested in just a dozen subjects for 12 weeks. But experts were quite excited at its potential to revolutionize the long battle against H.I.V. The findings were described this week at the International AIDS Conference this week in Mexico City.
(Scripps Research, 7/22/19)
Once simply thought to be microscopic sacks of cellular “garbage,” exosomes are now understood to hold immense importance for our health. An outflowing of research in recent years has even shown they can transport molecules that are linked to the spread of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Yet, until recently, their role in brain development remained a mystery.
—Stories compiled by Communications Intern Katherine Hartford