Latest research news

May 12, 2004

Monsanto bails out of wheat
The biotechnology company Monsanto is to stop producing genetically modified wheat. The company announced on its website that it wanted to develop corn, cotton and oilseeds instead and would look again at GM wheat in four to eight years’ time. Environmental campaigners hailed the news as a consumer victory, claiming that Monsanto had pulled out of GM wheat because there was no market for it.
(The Times)

Corn cuts the carbs
A genetically engineered breed of corn with half the usual amount of carbohydrates but double the fat and protein has been created by researchers in California. If the prototype corn can be grown commercially it could find a market among the crowd following low-carbohydrate diets, for whom standard sweetcorn is not allowed.
(Nature)

Scientists unravel the secret of why greens fight cancer
Chemicals in some brassica vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts, sabotage colon cancer cells in a similar way to that employed by some cancer drugs. Two to three portions a week of such foods might offer protection against colon cancer.
(The Guardian)

Bryson's formula for science award
Bill Bryson, the American author best known for his wry travelogues, has been short-listed for the world’s most eminent science book award. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson’s first attempt at science writing, is among six works in the running for the £10,000 Aventis Prize, previous winners of which include Stephen Hawking, Stephen Jay Gould and Jared Diamond. Bryson, who lived in England for a number of years, worked as a sub-editor on The Times before turning to writing full time.
(The Times)

Historic weapons go west as museum opens US branch
After years of battling against cash-rich American foundations at heritage auctions, Britain's museums are taking the radical step of opening their own out-stations in the United States. The first transatlantic version of one of Britain's major collections opens next week, when swords, pikes and cannon from the Royal Armouries join a new £25 million arms museum in Kentucky.
(The Guardian)

Scientists identify Skye's last dinosaur
The last-known dinosaur to roam Scotland was a small, two-legged flesh eater that lived 170 million years ago, hunted in packs and sometimes ate its young, scientists claimed yesterday. A set of footprints from the mid-Jurassic period found on the Isle of Skye suggest that the kangaroo-sized Coelophysis outlived its much larger cousin, the Megalosaurus, which died out millions of years earlier, according to Dr Neil Clark, the paleontologist at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.
(The Times)

Endangered species at risk from demise of bamboo
Bad news for the giant panda. Many types of bamboo, the animal's staple food and one of the world's most important plant families, are in trouble because of massive deforestation, according to a report. As many as half of the 1,200 woody bamboo species may be in danger of extinction because of the continuing destruction of their forest habitats.
(Independent)

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