News: GMO poplar trees, recycling, stress reduction

Poplar trees genetically engineered to remove carcinogens from groundwater. The trees have been genetically engineered with a gene for an enzyme that breaks down contaminants in groundwater. The gene is actually from rabbits, where the enzyme breaks down toxins in the rabbit’s liver. The next step of the project is to find an applicable gene in the poplar genome so they can make plants that are cisgenic instead of transgenic.
Plastics recycling industry starving for materials. Even though plastics can be recycled into new containers, only 25% of plastic waste makes it to recycling centers. I think people forget that plastic is made from petroleum. When we run out of oil, we also run out of plastic. Corn plastics are still a way off, so we should conserve what we have!
Expecting an afternoon nap can reduce blood pressure. People who regularly take afternoon naps have decreased mortality due to heart attacks. This study shows that the decrease in blood pressure actually happens right before a person goes to sleep, simply because they are expecting the sleep.

Written by Anastasia Bodnar

Anastasia Bodnar is a science communicator and science policy expert with a PhD in plant genetics and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Anastasia has had various risk analysis roles in US government and military service. She serves as BFI's Director of Policy and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog.