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Gene drives are the hottest new technology in molecular biology. If you need a refresher, we wrote a description last week of what a gene drive is and how it works.

And, although gene drives are opening up boundless possibilities in the world of genetic manipulation, real concerns lie in the unknown consequences of using them. And, that is why gene drives are making people so nervous. 

Although one can imagine countless different ways that gene drives could be used, the top reasons that are at the forefront of this technology moving from the bench into our world are:

1. Invasive species could be eradicated. Invasive species can take over an area, killing native species...

The UN Convention on Biodiversity meeting - typically dominated by environmental activists lobbying bloated quasi-world-government committees - recently met in Cancún and when we weren't talking about their enjoyment of catered dinners and $600 a night rooms in a resort town completely lacking in biodiversity, we were talking about the other hypocrisy in the environmental movement; claiming they care about science when they really want to ban all of it.

In this case — synthetic biology. Right now, activists have limited themselves to seeking bans on Genetically Modified Organisms - GMOs - but those are a precise legal term for one...

New genetic technology can either come to fruition and have a positive impact on our lives or be driven into the ground. The difference depends on whether the people making decisions understand the science and can accurately and properly weigh the risks and benefits.

In order for that to happen, scientists have to participate in open discourse, as education and communication are the keys to moving science forward to a place where changes can evolve to positively impact our health and the environment.

One the best examples of this goes back to 1953 when Dr. Jonas Salk announced during a national radio show that the vaccine against poliomyelitis had been tested and worked, sparking one of the largest and most important public health campaigns that our country has ever...

It is rare that a scientist discovers a completely novel technique or method. When it happens, and that technique is useful, it is revolutionary. In recent history, techniques such as PCR, large scale DNA sequencing and CRISPR-Cas9 fall into this category. As I wrote about recently, CRISPR-Cas9 is quickly becoming a household word (and will soon be a Hollywood star.)

More commonly than designing techniques from scratch, scientists employ previously developed techniques...

Looking to fly to an exotic locale and enjoy catered dinners while you lament what peasants outside your hotel are doing to the environment? Then you should join fellow elites in the environmental and conservation movement at the 2016 UN Convention on Biodiversity in the resort town of Cancun (if you are an environmentalist on a budget, the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort where this is being held has a web special for $600 a night.)

The fringe activist site Friends of the Earth will be there, mobilizing unrest about gene drives and, really, all other science that allows them to make doomsday proclamations (which is why climate change is the only science they accept.) Though they could have learned what gene drives...

1. In a Christmas miracle, the UN Biodiversity meeting - often environmental activists lobbying bloated quasi-world-government committees - met in Cancun and didn't cave into anti-science environmentalists determined to prevent all biology from being used in agriculture. As Joshua Krisch notes in The Scientist, we had fought the anti-science barbarians at the gate and the UN’s final agreement—penned December 16—instead only sanely urged caution in testing gene drives. Which is exactly what we wanted.

2016 was a weird year in many ways, but we are finishing it off with a win.

2. ...

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Malaria is still a major problem in many regions of the world. According to the World Health Organization, around 200 million people annually contract the malarial parasite. In 2013, it was responsible for 500,000 deaths, mostly children in Africa and babies under five. These numbers are trending downward, but we need something strong...

How should scientists respond to the rising tide of anti-scientific sentiment in the world? The backlash against modern technology is widespread: Protests against genetic engineering, vaccines, "chemicals," modern agriculture, neuroscience, nuclear power (and almost any other form of power), animal research, and embryonic stem cell research threaten to hold back, if not reverse, decades of progress. What can scientists do to address this problem?

The typical response, as elaborated in a report by the National Academy of Sciences, is "public engagement," which can range from education to the alignment of values between scientists and the public....

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The success of battling mosquito-borne viral invaders such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya may rest in the hands of two American researchers.

According to a paper published in the journal Trends in Parasitology, Zach Adelman and Zhijan Tu, from the Departments of Entymology and Biochemistry at Virginia Tech, have devised a technique to increase female-to-male conversion of ...