Federal Gene Patent Challenge
After years of supporting gene patents, the federal government has unexpectedly challenged controversial applications on naturally occurring DNA sequences.
"In a surprising legal brief filed late last week, the US Department of Justice suggested that the government's long-standing support of the controversial practice of patenting genes might be coming to an end. The brief, filed on Friday in a landmark gene-patent lawsuit, argues that simply identifying an important DNA sequence within a genome is not enough to justify a patent. Instead, such a discovery is akin to finding coal and removing it from the earth, or separating cotton fibres from cotton seeds, lawyers for the US government wrote. 'Common sense would suggest that a product of nature is not transformed into a human-made invention merely by isolating it,' they wrote."
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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