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S01E77: Only Nerds Know What Verbs Are
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SirBemrose of https://angrytechnews.com/ sent in $10.00!
DoubleThought of Double Thought Dimension sent in $3.33!
One of the predominant molds that breaks down foods is the Botrytis cinerea. Look for greyish green fuzz.
This fungi “is responsible for 10 billion in damages to crops each year”. Of course, there’s higher estimates at $100 billion. My my, what a jump. It has been ranked as the number two plant pathogen, “in what can only be described as their industry’s equivalent of TIME magazine’s “Most Influential People” list.”
The head of Plant and Animal Health at GreenLight Biosciences is working on a new spray to fight this mold. He doesn’t want to use pesticides because they can damage non targets. His solution? RNA.
“Scientists soon realized that if you could introduce dsRNA into a pesky pathogen—a particularly irritating fungus, for example—you could instruct that pathogen’s cells to destroy its own mRNA and stop it from making crucial proteins. In essence, they could switch off genes within pathogens at will. “We’re just going in there and looking at the orchestra of genes and proteins out there and we’re silencing the violins. That’s all we’re doing,” says Michael Helmstetter, chair of RNAissance Ag, another startup vying to bring RNA crop sprays to the market.”
There’s already a few sprays in production. RNAissance Ag is making a spray for the diamondback moth, which eats cabbages. GreenLight Bioscience has their RNA spray for the Colorado potato beetle. Also, they have another spray they’re working on for a honey bee mite. GreenLight is testing their mold sprays on grapes in CA and strawberries in Italy.
The RNA sprays are broken down in soil in a matter of days. “And because RNA sprays would target genes specific to individual species, there is—at least theoretically—a much lower chance that other organisms would get caught in the crossfire.”. Also, its stated that this will allow faster development of pesticides.
“With RNA sprays, this whole dynamic is flipped on its head. Each new spray will target a different gene—or combination of genes—in the pest that its creators want to get rid of. One spray might interfere with genes that control fungal cell division, while another might target genes that help the fungi produce toxins. RNAissance Ag is working on a spray that messes with diamondback moths’ immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to bacteria that the bugs usually have no problem fighting off.”. If immunity is built up to the RNA spray, the code could be tweaked to fuck up the moth.
Wired states that real immunity could be built up to the dsRNA, which they tested thru breeding the CO potato beetles. Which they deemed “Squid Games” lol. That means the RNA spray would have to be used in conjecture with pesticides. Double yummy.
Science Ruins Santa
But castration can impact when male reindeer lose their antlers. Craig Roberts, an agricultural zoologist and professor of social psychology at the University of Stirling in Scotland, says castrated males “have antler cycles similar to those of females.” That means there are some male reindeer that could have antlers during Christmastime. Roberts says most of the reindeer used to pull sleds are castrated males because “they are easier to handle.”