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US drops restrictions on more GM seeds

The US Department of Agriculture has approved Dow’s ‘Enlist’ engineered corn and soybean seeds for commercial cultivation without special authorisation. Dow claims this represents the most thorough review of a genetic modification yet. However, US environmental advocacy group Center for Food Safety (CFS) immediately condemned the decision and vowed to sue to stop commercialisation.Enlist seeds [...]

Aquarium trade: Who is going to monitor Brazil’s ornamental fish trade closely?

Brazil’s aquaculture and fisheries secretary decreed last month that 2,000 different species of ornamental fish can be legally removed from the Brazilian Amazon. The fish will be farmed to supply the aquarium trade. This raises concerns about over-exploitation and threats to biodiversity, particularly given the poor record of inspection and… doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/513315d

Three New Books Address the ‘Reality’ of Race in Humans- TERA

A full-throated, intellectually rigorous anti-racism must critically assess both biological and cultural evidence about race. It must acknowledge that no work on race science can be free of ideology — and, precisely for that reason, it must not place historical actors before a moral green screen showing an image of contemporary values. Rather, it must [...]

To Count or Not To Count: UN sustainability goals lack quanitification says Stafford-Smith

The first problem is that there are too many proposals: 17 goals encompassing 169 individual targets, ranging from improving maternal health to safeguarding the oceans. The strategy has shifted from a list of priorities to an unwieldy and impractical catch-all. The strength of the original MDGs was their focus.We should aim for no more than [...]

Life-cycle net energy assessment of large-scale hydrogen production via photoelectrochemical water splitting- TERA

Here we report a prospective life-cycle net energy assessment of a hypothetical large-scale photoelectrochemical (PEC) hydrogen production facility with energy output equivalent to 1 GW continuous annual average (1 GW HHV = 610 metric tons of H2 per day). We determine essential mass and energy flows based on fundamental principles, and use heuristic methods to [...]

Eusocial insects as emerging models for behavioural epigenetics- TERA

Understanding the molecular basis of how behavioural states are established, maintained and altered by environmental cues is an area of considerable and growing interest. Epigenetic processes, including methylation of DNA and post-translational modification of histones, dynamically modulate activity-dependent gene expression in neurons and can therefore have important regulatory roles in shaping behavioural responses to environmental [...]

Eusocial insects as emerging models for behavioural epigenetics- TERA

Understanding the molecular basis of how behavioural states are established, maintained and altered by environmental cues is an area of considerable and growing interest. Epigenetic processes, including methylation of DNA and post-translational modification of histones, dynamically modulate activity-dependent gene expression in neurons and can therefore have important regulatory roles in shaping behavioural responses to environmental [...]

Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system?

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and continues to expand alongside terrestrial crop and livestock production. Using portfolio theory as a conceptual framework, we explore how current interconnections between the aquaculture, crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors act as an impediment to, or an opportunity for, enhanced resilience in the global food system given increased [...]

Definition and Applications of a Versatile Chemical Pollution Footprint Methodology- TERA

Because of the great variety in behavior and modes of action of chemicals, impact assessment of multiple substances is complex, as is the communication of its results. Given calls for cumulative impact assessments, we developed a methodology that is aimed at expressing the expected cumulative impacts of mixtures of chemicals on aquatic ecosystems for a [...]

Large-scale studies are confirming suspicions that air pollution significantly increases the risk of lung cancer

Less than a decade ago, some researchers were doubtful that outdoor air pollution at levels common in the West could lead to significant health risks. But now a growing number of epidemiological studies is establishing a strong link between polluted air and lung cancer1, 2. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) branded3 outdoor [...]