Monday, October 24, 2016

edited crops

The genome editing method CRISPR-Cas promises genetic improvements in crops and livestock without the drawbacks of conventional GM. Regulators have given it carte blanche, but will consumers also accept it? Much depends on how this latest agricultural revolution will be communicated, and whether its potential to empower a wider range of participants (rather than encouraging a monopoly of the GM/Monsanto kind) will be realised.

I've explored these questions in my latest feature which is out now:

Harvest time for CRISPR-Cas?

Current Biology Volume 26, Issue 20, pR903–R905, 24 October 2016

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

The mushroom Agaricus bisporus is the first food variant edited with the help of CRISPR-Cas technology and cleared by the US Department of Agriculture. (Photo: Leif K-Brooks.)

Monday, October 10, 2016

save the elephants

Elephants have been in the news a lot recently, with two international conservation conferences calling on countries to ban all internal ivory trade in line with the international trade ban that has already been in force for decades. The reason is a new crisis in poaching and ivory trading, caused this time by buyer interest from China.

Read my take on the situation here:

The plight of the pachyderms

Current Biology Volume 26, Issue 19, R865–R868, 10 October 2016

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access one year after publication)

Confiscated ivory items displayed ahead of the first official ivory crush held by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013. (Photo: Gavin Shire/USFWS.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


As the young cellist has moved out now, I am left to focus on my solo flute work (although there’s never a shortage of jolly company for playing a few folk tunes around here, so I’m keeping up some of those sessions as well). I’ve decided to post a musical still life for every work I’ve learned to play, starting with my very first Köchel number, K525, which is, of course, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, all four movements of it. I might play the third movement at the Festival next year, be afraid …

Next up is a work that Mozart actually wrote for flute, the Andante K315.