Science News

Alternatives to Animal Testing

Despite their importance in these fields, there are now efforts to reduce the number of animals used in testing. That’s due, in part, to ethical concerns that are driving new legislation in different countries. But it also comes down to money and time.

“In theory, non-animal tests could be much cheaper and much faster,” said Warren Casey, the director of the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods, which analyzes alternatives to animal use for chemical- safety testing.

Another concern is that in some types of research, animals are too different from humans to successfully predict the effects that certain products will have on our bodies. “So we’ve got ethics, efficiency and human relevance,” Casey told Live Science, the three main factors driving the hunt for alternatives.

So, what are the most promising options so far? (read more in LiveScience)

Scientists discover genetic mutation that helps block pain and improve healing

Jo Cameron smells her smouldering flesh before realising she has even been burnt and scoffs down chilli peppers with ease — and now doctors believe the 71-year-old could hold the key to new treatments for chronic injuries, after discovering she feels virtually no pain.

The former teacher has a rare genetic mutation that means she feels less pain, heals faster and experiences less anxiety than most people (read more in ABC)

Hospital disinfectants should be regulated like antibiotics new study suggests

Bacterial resistance to two disinfectants used in large amounts to control the spread of hospital infections is strongly associated with resistance to several antibiotics used to treat common infections, our latest study shows. (read more in The Conversation)

Man’s impact on flax evolution more limited than thought

Flax naturally adapted to new environments rather than by human influence due to a set of genes that enable it to change its architecture according to researchers from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick.  (read more in Phys.org).

CRISPR babies raise an uncomfortable reality – abiding by scientific standards doesn’t guarantee ethical research

“Uncertainty continues to swirl around scientist He Jiankui’s gene editing experiment in China. Using CRISPR technology, He modified a gene related to immune function in human embryos and transferred the embryos to their mother’s womb, producing twin girls.

Many questions about the ethical acceptability of the experiment have focused on ethical oversight and informed consent. These are important issues; compliance with established standards of practice is crucial for public trust in science.”  (read more in Philly Voice 26Dec2018)

Parrot Genomes Provide Insights Into Evolution Of Longevity And Cognition

“Analysis of the genome of an Amazon parrot and 26 other birds revealed that long-lived birds share a large number of similar mutations in genes associated with longevity, larger brains and advanced cognitive abilities — and parrots evolved new genes associated with learning speech” (read more in 2018 Forbes Media LLC)

CRISPR without the Chop Reverses Genetic Obesity in Mice

“Scientists at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have used a modified version of CRISPR technology to reverse genetic forms of severe obesity in two different mouse models, but without carrying out any genome editing. The technique, called CRISPR activation (CRISPRa), uses the CRISPR guidance system to target a particular gene sequence, but instead of using Cas enzymes as molecular scissors to cut out and repair or replace sequences, the technology amplifies existing gene activity to ramp up protein production.” (read more in GEN, 14 )

AN UNHEALTHY SKEPTICISM ABOUT ANIMAL GRIEF

A NEW VIEW OF EVOLUTION THAT CAN’T BE REPRESENTED BY A TREE

THE ORCA, HER DEAD CALF AND US

DARWIN COMES TO TOWN: HOW CITIES ARE CREATING NEW SPECIES

THIS IS THE MOST COMPLETE BRAIN MAP TO DATE

EARTH’S RESOURCES CONSUMED IN EVER GREATER DESTRUCTIVE VOLUMES

CROW VENDING MACHINE SKILLS ‘REDEFINE INTELLIGENCE’

THIS IS WHY YOUR BRAIN NEVER RUNS OUT OF PROBLEMS

A CENTURY ON, WHY ARE WE FORGETTING THE DEATHS OF 100 MILLION?

PLANTS ‘TALK TO’ EACH OTHER THROUGH THEIR ROOTS

NEW VIRUSES, SUPERBUGS FOUND IN STUDY OF NEW YORK HOUSE MICE

PLASTIC DIGESTING ENZYME FOUND

RESEARCHERS & WHO CLASH OVER GLOBAL THREAT OF DRUG RESISTANT MALARIA

HERE’S THE BEST SCIENCE ON HOW YOU CAN AVOID DEMENTIA

FORGET MEMORY LOSS, NEW ALZHEIMER’S DEFINITION PROPOSED

WOULD YOU WANT TO KNOW YOUR ALZHEIMER’S RISK?

TRANSGENIC MODELS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE: LEARNING FROM ANIMALS

SCIENTISTS REAWAKEN MEMORY IN MICE…

‘RUST DEPOSITS’ IN THE BRAIN LINKED TO ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, RESEARCHERS SAY

ANTI-MICROBIAL RESISTANCE

NEW ESTIMATE SAYS 46 MILLION AMERICANS HEADED TO ALZHEIMER’S

PLAYING GOD: SHOULD WE REVIVE EXTINCT SPECIES?

TURMERIC-DERIVED COMPOUND CURCUMIN MAY TREAT ALZHEIMER’S

RESEARCHERS UNCOVER THE SOURCE OF DIABETIC PAIN

INTERRUPTED SLEEP MAY LEAD TO ALZHEIMER’S, NEW STUDIES SHOW

A FAILING SENSE OF SMELL – A CLUE TO DEMENTIA IN OLDER PEOPLE

FROG STUDY REVEALS EARLIEST KNOWN EXAMPLE OF BRAIN-BODY INTERFACE

OBITUARY – MARIAN DIAMOND

SCIENTISTS CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO

APHANTASIA