Scientists in labs across the world have used gene modification to create virus-resistant pigs, heat-tolerant cattle and fatter, more muscular lambs - potential improvements for animal agriculture - but will people ever eat them? asks reporter Carolyn Johnson in the Washington Post.
Johnson opened her story with a scene from UC Davis, where UC Cooperative Extension specialist Alison Van Eenennaam was conducting ultrasounds on cattle to determine whether they were pregnant. The animals had been implanted with embryos genetically edited to grow and look like males, regardless of their gender.
Also on the UC Davis campus, Van Eenennaam cares for five bulls and a heifer that represent the second generation of cattle whose genetic propensity to have horns has been edited out of their DNA. The process spares the animals the common de-horning procedure, which protects animals and animal handlers from gory accidents.
Gene-edited plants will soon be in grocery stores, but similar tinkering with the DNA of animals faces a far more uncertain future, the article said.
A setback to gene editing came in early 2017 when the FDA put out draft guidance indicating that animals with intentionally altered DNA would be regulated as containing veterinary drugs. And the complexity and difficulty of using gene editing was also noted in the story. The ultrasounds of cattle Van Eenennaam and her staff implanted with the genetically altered fetuses yielded no pregnancies.
It's time to revisit the "13 Bugs of Christmas!" Back in 2010, two innovators with the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the UC Davis...
"On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 5 golden bees." This is one of them. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A varroa mite on a honey bee--not something that beekeepers want to see on their bees! (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A queen bee and her retinue. "On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, 11 queen bees piping." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The House and Senate have passed the compromise Farm Bill, sending the legislation to the president for his signature.
"What's fascinating about the Farm Bill is, after all that hyper-partisan debate … it's really a lot of the same of what we already had," said Humiston, adding that it includes an increase of $25 million a year for research on specialty crops.
That's good news for California growers because nearly all of California's 400 crops are considered specialty crops in federal parlance and over 50 percent of the nation's fruits and vegetables are grown in California. Those federal grants will cover many areas, from developing climate-resilient farming practices to combating California's many invasive pests, Humiston said.
The Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of a controlled substance, which will allow it once again be produced for agricultural purposes. This is exciting for UC Cooperative Extension researchers who are interested in helping farmers manage and grow this new crop.
Reauthorization of the Farm Bill is important to UC because it provides critical support for the nation's land-grant institutions, including agricultural research extension and infrastructure programs and nutrition education programs.
Overall, the final version of the Farm Bill represents a positive outcome for UC. In addition to specialty crop research, the bill contains strong support for organic agriculture research and also includes helpful provisions to address unnecessary regulatory burdens faced by researchers. The bill also preserves the competitive grants for citrus research.
I said goodbye to an old friend this week. We had been friends and sometimes not so friendly but I always loved my friend.
My old friend was a Salvia greggi (red), yes a plant. We had been together here at this house over 25 years. But as time passed my friend started to age and look old. She, yes she, was gone on the inside but still had leaves and blossoms on the outside.
So we thought let us prune her down and see if she sprouts new growth and can be saved, but the more we pruned the more we found she could not be saved, so we just did a light tug and out she came.
Now I have a large empty space where my old friend was, soon to a new friend for that spot.
Spot where 'she' lived. (photo by Betty Victor)