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Organisms altered by gene drives, including mosquitoes, have shown promise in proof-of-concept laboratory experiments. But wild populations will almost certainly develop resistance to the modifications. Researchers have begun identifying how this occurs so that they can address the problem.


Source: Nature, 31 January 2017.

Lab experiments showed that the mutation increased in frequency as expected over several generations, but resistance to the gene drive also emerged, preventing some mosquitoes from inheriting the modified genome.


Source: Nature, January 31, 2017.

In efforts to improve wine grapes, Rutgers University researchers are trying to shut down gene functions that make grapes susceptible to powdery mildew spores, and a biotechnologist from Macquarie University in Australia is studying how to express synthetic metabolic pathways to produce a raspberry aroma, vanillin and resveratrol. Scientists from the University of Illinois are developing techniques that can increase resveratrol levels and reduce hangover effects from drinking wine.


Source: Genetic Literacy Project, 30 January 2017.

Energy experts criticized the European Commission's proposed revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, in which conventional biofuels would be phased out and maximum contribution of conventional biofuels would be reduced to 3.8% of road transport energy in 2030. Sweden Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog said the proposal was "not ambitious enough," and Ethanol Europe's Eric Sievers argued that Europe needs ethanol if it wants to achieve its goal of promoting fuels that provide air-quality benefits.


Source: (U.K.), 26 January 2017.

The FDA will regulate Recombinetics' biotech hornless cows after the agency clarified that it could regulate any altered portion of an animal's genome as an animal drug. The firm used a gene-editing technique called TALENs for dehorning the cattle.


Source: The Atlantic online, 20 January 2017.

Draft guidance from the FDA would consider animals with intentionally altered genomes, as well as their offspring, to be separate new animal drugs subject to regulations as well as safety and efficacy review. The draft is open for public comment until April 19, and some scientists have already voiced concerns.


Source: Nature, 19 January 2017.

Regulatory approval is expected soon for the proposed $43 billion acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina, according to Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald. "We are working well with the US and the EU regulators now toward finalizing the agreements with them and expect to be finished in the not-too-distant future," Fyrwald said.


SOurce: Reuters, 16 January 2017.


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