Genetics & Molecular Biology

Though genetically engineering food using science remains controversial in some circles, with concerns about genetically modified corn syrup in candy and claims that CRISPR can somehow be harmful whereas mutagenesis-derived foods can be labeled organic, progress marches on.

We're on our way to 9 million people and existing agriculture could easily handle it...if great agricultural land were evenly distributed. But is isn't evenly distributed, which is why the US and Europe can have robust markets for food created using an organic-certification process. Yield does not matter, just profit margins do, when land grows food easily.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is best known for use in bleach and hair treatments and is often invoked as a scary chemical by environmental groups promoting concern about food and products, but it is produced naturally in our bodies. A new study shows it is a useful chemical across nature; plants use it to control how their cells react to varying levels of light.

Like preventing plant sunburn. 

Hydrogen peroxide is a by-product of photosynthesis in parts of plant cells called chloroplasts, much like it is in our bodies by cellular respiration. Using a fluorescent protein that detects hydrogen peroxide, the researchers behind a new study in Nature Communications observed how H2O2 moves from chloroplasts and can be detected in cell nuclei. 

The documentary film Food Evolution provides a fresh, scientific look at the technology of crop genetic engineering and some situations it has, or could, help solve problems for farmers.  It shows the ugly politics and distortions that have maligned a useful technology that has served farmers well for twenty years, worldwide.

Since 2014, China has spent $4 billion on advanced agricultural science and is approving new technologies rapidly. Meanwhile, our food science regulatory system remains trapped in the 1980s, paralyzed by environmental lobbyists who buy full-page ads in the New York Times claiming they are "unsure", it just "needs more testing."
A new paper found that the gene-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome, important as it starts to move into clinical trials. 

CRISPR-Cas9 editing technology—by virtue of its speed and unprecedented precision—has been a boon for scientists trying to understand the role of genes in disease. The technique also has raised hope for more powerful gene therapies that can delete or repair flawed genes, not just add new genes.
Though men and women obviously differ, that has become muddled in the name of equality. Drug reactions are different, obviously one gender gives birth to children. 

A new study shows there are still many similarities, but also a whole lot of biological differences not in genes, but in gene expression. Their findings showed that harmful mutations in these particular genes tend to accumulate in the population in relatively high frequencies, and the study explains why. The detailed map of these genes provides evidence that males and females undergo a sort of separate, but interconnected, evolution.  
People with cystic fibrosis suffer repeated lung infections because their airway mucus is too thick and sticky to keep bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from causing chronic infection. How mucus becomes abnormal in cystic fibrosis airways has never been fully understood, but a new study has determined that mucin proteins, which give mucus its gel-like properties, fail to unfold normally in cystic fibrosis airways, making airway mucus much more thick and sticky than it would be otherwise.

Cystic fibrosis is a rare genetic disease that affects about 70,000 people worldwide. It occurs when a person has two defective copies of the CFTR gene, which triggers the creation of the CFTR protein. When that protein is mutated, the result is cystic fibrosis.
In case you haven’t been keeping up-to-date with the latest news in the biotechnology regulatory system (and how could you not?), the system is under revision. As part of the new Coordinated Framework the FDA stated it would clarify how it will deal with the hot-button topic of genome editing, and update its guidance documents accordingly. As part of this process the FDA opened a docket on regulations.gov to receive public comments about the issue. As you might expect, a large majority of the comments have been less than scientific.

They are asking for your evidence-based input.  Please give it to them!

Metabolism, the set of processes through which we gain energy from food and produce the biomolecules we need in our body's cells, is universal to life. The biochemical pathways that underpin these processes are highly similar across all organisms and species. 
Genetic variants linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) contribute to enhanced cognition and are therefore positively selected in spite of the problems they also bring along – new evidence has just been published in PLOS Genetics [1]. The problems these genes bring along are the price to pay for relatively rapid evolutionary advancements. It needs a much longer time for further natural selection to smooth the bugs out – this is all obvious, simple science. Another example is the genetic predisposition of Ashkenazim Jews to diseases such as Tai-Sachs, which comes along with their high average verbal IQ, also a relatively recent evolutionary advancement.