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Apr 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 7)

Saskatchewan Looks Past AgBiotech Roots

Canadian Province Puts Genomic Background to Use in Biopharma

  • When Agrisoma researchers use their method to insert genes that modify oilseed production, yields increase 40% to 50%. When the same genes are inserted using standard methods, though, yields rise only 5%. The company also created technology to load new genes into this region to achieve further productivity gains.

    Agrisoma is engineering canola and other oilseeds to increase monounsaturated oils and long chain fatty acids, which are optimal for biodiesel production. They are also engineering soybeans as a source of biofuel oils. This same expression system could be used to make healthier food oils such as products with high omega-3 fats or to manufacture vaccines in plants. For the short-term, “the company is focused on biofuels and the renewable energy market,” says Dr. Fabijanski.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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