Meet The Scientist Who Could Prove That God Does Not Exist. 


A scientist names Jeremy England has come out with a theory which potentially proves that life can exist without god and that god did not create us. Jeremy England’s theory has been developed on Charles Darwin’s idea of evolution. He says that the idea not only applies to things which are alive but to the creation as well. Meaning that evolution not only takes place while we are alive but at our creation as well.

Jeremy England

The scientist says that it is thermodynamics that plays the major part in our creation and not a ‘creator’ who is at work. The theory of thermodynamics says if you start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be surprising that you get a plant. If these atoms are exposed to an energy source (i.e. the sun), these are bound to grow and restructure themselves which eventually leads to life.
The theory was posted on Richard Dawkins website, a famous Athiest scientist, and is titled ‘God is on the ropes: The brilliant new science that has creationists and the Christian right terrified’. The blog post was written by Paul Rosenberg, and it looks as though this theory has got the scientific community quite excited.

Jeremy England god theory

Charles Darwin’s theory focused more on life progression but the blog post by Paul Rosenberg has got everyone excited about the Jeremy England’s development on Darwin’s idea.
The theory by Jeremy England has been developed on mathematical facts which questions the existence of god and forces us to think about it in a deeper sense.

Prescription painkiller tramadol ‘claiming more lives than any other drug’


For many, when given a prescription the assumption is that the drug they’re taking is safe. In the case of prescription painkiller Tramadol, however, that could hardly be further from the truth.

In fact, according to some experts, it may be claiming more lives than any other drug – including cocaine and heroine.

For instance, last year Tramadol was responsible for 33 deaths in Northern Ireland – including both a 16-year-old girl and a pensioner in his 70’s.

Tramadol is just one of many opiate-based painkillers on the market, and is illegal without a prescription. Like many other opiates, however, it’s easy for people to get hooked, and it’s becoming more widely available on the black market.

Rule-makers around the world are worried about what may happen as Tramadol becomes more widely available. Having seen the opiate crisis in the United States and elsewhere, it seems with good reason.

“I don’t think that people realise how potentially risky taking tramadol is.

I think it’s because it’s a prescription drug – people assume it’s safe.” – PROFESSOR JACK CRANE, STATE PATHOLOGIST FOR NI

The opiate-based drug used to treat moderate or severe pain should only be available on prescription – it was reclassified in 2014 making it an illegal Class C drug without prescription.

But anti-drug campaigners say more and more people are turning to the black market.

Professor Jack Crane has spoken out to say he fears more people will die unless urgent action is taken and he is calling for a crackdown on the illegal market.

He wants tramadol to be upgraded again, this time to Class A.

Professor Crane is now set to meet Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer later this month to push for change.

 

Denmark Doctors Declare Circumcision Of Healthy Boys ‘Ethically Unacceptable’


Except within the small Muslim and orthodox Jewish communities, people in Denmark wonder why on Earth any parents would want to have their precious newborn child held down to have a part of his healthy, yet immature, penis cut off. According to a nationally representative poll from the summer of 2016, 87 percent of Danes favor a legal ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of boys under the age of 18 years. So far, politicians have been hesitant, but increasingly willing to listen.

Doctors and medical organizations in Denmark, the other Nordic countries and, with one notable exception, elsewhere in the Western world agree that circumcision of healthy boys is ethically problematic. It is considered an operation seriously and patently at odds with the Hippocratic oath (”first do no harm”) and one that is in conflict with a variety of international conventions, most notably the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

The one Western country that is out of sync with its international peers is the United States, whose federal health authorities and national associations of pediatricians, obstetricians, family physicians and urologists endorse and perform most of these medically unnecessary operations in the country. Amputation of healthy infant foreskins constitutes the single most common surgical procedure in the United States ― a several hundred million dollars a year industry.

Internationally, several medical associations have issued policies and recommendations that contradict the popular belief in the United States that infant male circumcision is a harmless, health-promoting procedure. In fact, not one medical association in the whole world recommends circumcision of healthy boys.

In December of 2016, the Danish Medical Association published its revised policy on circumcision. Speaking on behalf of its 29,185 members, the new policy came out in an unusually clear voice. Its central passage goes like this (my unofficial translation):

Circumcision of boys without a medical indication is ethically unacceptable when the procedure is carried out without informed consent from the person undergoing the surgery. Therefore, circumcision should not be performed before the boy is 18 years old and able to decide whether this is an operation he wants.

Many Americans, who grew up in a culture whose medical authorities and mass media promote the view that an intact penis is dangerous, prone to infection, ugly and difficult to keep clean, may wonder what the penile health situation would be like in a country like Denmark, where few boys undergo circumcision. Of course, occasional intact men will encounter penile problems during their lifetime, just like people with natural teeth or appendices may develop cavities or appendicitis at some point later on. However, removing such healthy body parts on every child to prevent rare conditions in adulthood, that may be easily and effectively treated if and when they occur, is outright bad medical practice and ethics. So, why remove a healthy, functional and sensitive part of a child’s penis?

Indeed, a study published in Pediatrics in 2016 documented that only around one in 200 intact boys will develop a medical condition necessitating a circumcision before the age of 18 years. In other words, the chance is around 99.5 percent that a newborn boy can retain his valuable foreskin throughout infancy, childhood, and adolescence and enter adulthood with an intact penis. Simple information like this should urge parents to abstain from unnecessary infant surgery and let their sons decide for themselves about the size, sensitivity, functionality and appearance of their manhoods once they get old enough to understand the consequences.

In the fairytale The Emperor’s New Clothes by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, a child too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense that the emperor is wearing costly, elegant clothes when, in fact, he has nothing on, blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing, and the cry is taken up by others. By speaking out frankly and without the usual diplomacy of such position papers, the Danish Medical Association impersonates that uncorrupted child shouting out against the falsehood, vanity and greed that has upheld the Empire of Circumcision for far too long.

In 2015, I urged U.S. parents to reconsider the moral acceptability of cutting a healthy, erogenous part off their sons’ penises. Now, at the beginning of 2017, I expand my call, and urge health professionals and payers, such as health insurers and Medicaid, to discourage circumcision of healthy boys and work to end the practice. No individual too young to provide informed consent to elective surgery should be subjected to an irreversible procedure that is painful, comes with risks, alters a natural, functional body part, has no relevant health benefits during childhood, causes pathological narrowing of the urethral opening in 5 percent -20 percent of boys, and – as stated by the Danish Medical Association – is ethically unacceptable.

 

National HIV Testing day. 


June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. This year’s theme, Test Your Way. Do It Today., is a call to get tested now and a reminder that there are more ways than ever to get an HIV test. In a clinic, from your health care provider, at a testing event, at home, from a local organization—get tested your way today!

Group of young adults taking selfie

About 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know it. Young people are the most likely to be unaware of their HIV infection. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. But some people are more at risk of getting HIV than others and should be tested at least once a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (for example, every 3 to 6 months).

I'm Doing It

Knowing your HIV status is important for your health. If you are living with HIV, you should start treatment as soon as possible. HIV medicine can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting the virus if you take it the right way every day. And if you’re HIV-negative, you can take steps to prevent HIV. For example, pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body.

Knowing your HIV status helps keep you and your partner healthy. Visit Doing It to learn more.

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day - Test Your Day, Do It Today

What Can You Do?

Get the FactsLearn about HIV, and share this lifesaving information with your family, friends, and community. Get an HIV test at least once as part of routine care if you are 13-64. Use CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA) to get prevention information tailored to meet your needs.

Get Tested. Get tested for HIV or talk to your health care provider about HIV testing. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy. To find a testing site near you,

You can also use a home testing kit available in drugstores or online. Get Involved . CDC offers many resources to help you raise awareness about HIV testing in your community. Doing It is a national HIV testing and prevention campaign designed to motivate all adults to get tested for HIV and know their status. Join Doing It on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, share videos of volunteers, community leaders, and celebrities explaining why they’re getting tested, and download posters and other materials.

Mobile Phone Companies Do NOT Want You To know this – Cell Phone Radiation and Cancer Exposed. 


If you think the jury’s still out on whether cell phones can be dangerous to your health, then you might want to take the time to watch to this shocking video exposing how radition emmited by these devices can cause irreversible damage and health implications.


Last year, an Israeli research group reported a sharp increase in the incidence of parotid gland tumors over the last 30 years, with the steepest increase happening after 2001. Your parotid gland is a type of salivary gland, located closest to your cheek—the same area where most people typically hold their cell phones. 

The researchers found a four-fold increase in parotid gland cancers from 1970 to 2006, while rates of other salivary gland cancers remained stableiv.

That same year, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, the principal investigator of a 2008 study, testified at a U.S. Senate Hearing that cell phones were identified as a contributor to salivary gland tumors.

The report states that your risk of getting a parotid tumor on the same side of your head that you use for listening to the mobile phone increases by:

  • 34 percent if you are a regular cell phone user and have used a mobile phone for 5 years.
  • 58 percent if you had more than about 5,500 calls in your lifetime.
  • 49 percent if you have spoken on the phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime.

Doctors Want Sugar and ‘Cancer-Causing’ Foods Out of Hospitals


Doctors Want Sugar and 'Cancer-Causing' Foods Out of Hospitals

A major doctors’ group hopes to put an end to a great irony served up daily at most U.S. hospitals: The food offered there tends to contribute to obesity, diabetesheart disease, stroke and cancer — the very same conditions for which many of the hospital patients are seeking treatment.

Refried, frozen chicken patties on doughy white bread; greasy pizza slicesthat turn the paper plate translucent; waxy, flavorless beans poured straight from a can constituting the only vegetable option; orange drink purporting to have 10 percent real orange … So much for a hospital being a beacon of health.

At its annual meeting on June 14, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates, which represents more than 200,000 physician members, issued a policy statement that called for the reduction of sugar-sweetened beverages and processed meats, and an increase in the availability of healthful, plant-based foods in hospitals. [7 Foods You Can Overdose On]

Under the resolution, physicians and hospital staff are encouraged not only to counsel their patients about the health consequences of a poor diet but also to lead by example by offering healthier foods at the hospital.

Specifically, the resolution states that the “American Medical Association hereby call on U.S. hospitals to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by (1) providing a variety of healthful food, including plant-based meals and meals that are low in fat, sodium, and added sugars, (2) eliminating processed meats from menus, and (3) providing and promoting healthful beverages.”

Removing sugary drinks from vending machines and replacing them with water, unflavored milk, and unsweetened teas and coffees may be the easiest place to start making hospital food choices healthier, according to the AMA.

“Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to some of the nation’s most debilitating diseases, and limiting the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages will go a long way toward helping people prevent the onset of these diseases, improve health outcomes and rein in health costs associated with chronic diseases,” Dr. William E. Kobler, an AMA board member who was part of the policy decision, said in a statement from the organization.

Yet health experts have lamented for years that hospitals’ food options, not just the drinks, are unhealthy — a concept that contradicts hospitals’ health-oriented mission. A study published in 2002 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more than a third of the top 16 U.S. hospitals had contracts with fast-food restaurants to offer their food in the hospital.

Similarly, a 2014 study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit health group of 12,000 doctors who advocate plant-based diets, found that more than 20 percent of the 208 hospitals they surveyed housed fast-food restaurants. The same study found that the cafeteria food in these hospitals, where the staff eats every day, was dominated by foods that were high in sugar, salt and cholesterol, such as processed meats. [9 Snack Foods: Healthy or Not?]

Speaking at the AMA meeting, PCRM President Dr. Neal Barnard compared unhealthy food served in hospitals to tobacco. “A generation ago, the AMA supported doctors who were working to get tobacco out of their hospitals. And that helped everyone, especially those patients who needed to break a bad habit,” Barnard said in testimony.

Barnard noted that, as with cigarettes, hot dogs and similar processed meats are now known to contain cancer-causing agents. “[M]any doctors and administrators would like to replace them with healthier foods,” he said.

The Washington, D.C.-based PCRM started a national campaign in 2016 to encourage hospitals to ban processed meats such as hot dogs, which are a choking hazard for children. Several hospitals have since pledged to remove these foods as a result of the campaign.

The tide may be turning elsewhere, as well. A 2015 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found that creating hospital gardens for staff, patients and the community can lower rates of obesity in communities they serve and reduce public health disparities by providing more people with easy access to fresh, healthy, plant-based foods. More than 100 hospitals have such gardens, the study found.

So the day might come when you can go to the hospital to fix a broken leg and not have to return for a hospital-food-induced angioplasty.

Other policy resolutions announced at the AMA meeting included reducing the consumption of sugary drinks nationwide, destigmatizing obesity, strengthening vaccine policy and using the phrase “gun violence mitigation” in lieu of “gun control,” among 11 other resolutions.

Pembrolizumab Approved for Tumors with Specific Genetic Features. 


On May 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to the immunotherapy pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) for patients with solid tumors that have one of two specific genetic features known as mismatch repair deficiency and high microsatellite instability. The approval covers adult and pediatric patients whose cancer has progressed despite prior treatment and who have no alternative treatment options.

This is the first time that FDA has approved a cancer treatment based solely on the presence of a genetic feature in a tumor, rather than the patient’s cancer type.

“I think this is a step forward for precision medicine,” said James Gulley, M.D., Ph.D., head of the immunotherapy section of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research.

The approval provides another option for some patients who would not otherwise be candidates for treatment with pembrolizumab, such as those with pancreatic cancer, Dr. Gulley continued. But for some cancer types, he cautioned, only a small number of patients typically have these genetic features.

Mismatched DNA

The process of mismatch repair enables cells to correct mistakes in their DNA code that sometimes occur during DNA replication. It’s “like a spell-checker” for DNA, explained Dr. Gulley. Mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) cells, which lack this failsafe process, acquire multiple DNA mutations. Some dMMR cells acquire alterations in short, repetitive DNA sequences called microsatellites and are referred to as microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H).

Tumors that are dMMR and MSI-H are found in patients with Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by mutations in genes that control DNA mismatch repair. In addition, these genetic features can spontaneously occur in tumors and have been found in patients with several cancer types—most commonly colorectal, endometrial, and gastrointestinal cancers.

Compared with other tumors, dMMR and MSI-H tumors have a higher frequency of DNA mutations and, as a result, higher levels of abnormal antigens. Because immune cells attack cells that have abnormal antigens, researchers have hypothesized that immune cells may be more likely to recognize and attack dMMR and MSI-H tumor cells. Studies have suggested that this vulnerability, in turn, may make these tumors more susceptible to therapies like pembrolizumab that ramp up the immune response.

Regardless of Cancer Type

Patients with certain cancer types, like lung cancer and melanoma, typically have good responses to immune checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab. But not every patient with one of these cancer types responds well to the treatment. More recently, researchers have found that it’s the patients with tumors that have more DNA mutations, like dMMR and MSI-H tumors, that are most likely to respond.

So “why group tumors by cancer type,” when these genetic features are the more telling characteristic, remarked Dr. Gulley. What’s novel about the studies that led to the FDA approval, he explained, is that the investigators included any patient with a dMMR or MSI-H tumor, regardless of the cancer type.

The FDA approval is based on combined results from five single-arm clinical trials that evaluated the efficacy of pembrolizumab.

The investigators used standard lab tests to identify a total of 149 patients with 15 different types of cancer whose tumors were MSI-H or dMMR. All patients received one of two doses of pembrolizumab. Altogether, 40% of patients with MSI-H or dMMR tumors had measurable tumor shrinkage after treatment, and for 78% of these responders, their tumors shrank or stayed the same size for 6 or more months.

In an interim analysis of one of the five trials, the investigators reported that, among patients with colorectal cancer, 40% of those with dMMR tumors and 0% of those with mismatch repair-proficient tumors responded to the treatment. The FDA approval includes patients with colorectal cancer whose disease has progressed after treatment with certain chemotherapy drugs.

In a more recent analysis of the same study, the investigators evaluated 86 patients with dMMR tumors from 12 different cancer types. After several weeks of treatment with pembrolizumab, they found that 53% of the patients had measurable tumor shrinkage and 21% had no signs of cancer.

To estimate the fraction of patients whose tumors have these genetic features, the investigators then evaluated the mismatch repair status of more than 12,000 tumors from 32 different cancer types and found that about 5% were dMMR. This translates to approximately 60,000 cases of cancer in the United States each year, they noted.

Among the five clinical trials, common side effects included fatigue, itchy skin, diarrhea, and rash. Although not reported in the studies, pembrolizumab can also cause serious, sometimes life-threatening, inflammation in a number of organs.

With the FDA approval, dMMR and MSI-H are now definitively considered biomarkers for predicting a good response to treatment with pembrolizumab, Dr. Gulley said. Ongoing studies are examining whether they are also biomarkers for treatment with other immune checkpoint inhibitors, he added.

Having a biomarker to identify patients who are most likely to respond is “an area we have widely anticipated as being the next step in understanding how to better use immunotherapies,” said Dr. Gulley. “It’s a welcome first step, and there’s much more yet to be done.”

Under FDA’s accelerated approval, the drug manufacturer must verify and further describe the clinical benefit of the treatment. In one follow-up trial, called KEYNOTE-177, investigators will compare pembrolizumab with standard therapy for patients with dMMR or MSI-H colorectal tumors. The trial is currently recruiting participants.

Fruit juices and smoothies contain ‘unacceptably high’ levels of sugar, says study


A paper, released in the journal BMJ Open, has found that many fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies aimed at children are overloaded with sugar, to the tune of  more than 40% of them containing at least the maximum daily intake of 19 g of the stuff.  Furthermore, 64% of them have been found to contain half the daily maximum intake amount.

There is, now, an outcry to stop referring to these drinks as servings of fruit due to the incredible ratio of sugar to vitamins.

“Research shows the body metabolizes fruit juice in a different way compared to whole fruit. After whole fruit consumption, the body seems to adjust its subsequent energy intake appropriately, whereas after fruit juice consumption, the body does not compensate for the energy intake,” say the researchers.

They believe that tough action is needed to reduce the amount of sugar kids are consuming.

“These are marketed intensively to children as well as to parents,” said Prof Simon Capewell of the department of public health and policy at the University of Liverpool, one of the authors. “They are routinely packaged in garish colours. They routinely have cartoons and other sort of folksy animal creatures being used to market them.

“There is often a health halo – some claim about vitamin C or ‘packed full of fruit’. There are no restrictions around the words industry can use in their marketing. They can claim or imply quite a lot. Then we end up with more than a third of these drinks having more sugar in them than a cola or fizzy drink.

“I think it came as quite a surprise to us really that there is so much sugar hidden and that any of the most familiar brands had such a high level.”

With upwards of 1 in 3 children, age 11, being overweight or obese, the need has never been greater to tackle the danger of sugary drinks that has infiltrated our dietary system.

 

How Close Are We to Successfully Cloning the First Human?


When Will We Clone a Human?

Human cloning may endure as one of the go-to science fiction tropes, but in reality we may be much closer to achieving it than our fictional heroes might imply. At least in terms of the science required. On of the most prominent hurdles facing us may have less to do with the process and more to do with its potential consequences, and our collective struggle to reconcile the ethics involved. That being said, while science has come a long way in the last century when it comes to cloning a menagerie of animals, cloning humans and other primates has actually proven to be incredibly difficult. While we might not be on the brink of cloning entire human beings, we’re already capable of cloning human cells — the question is, should we be?

Seeing Double: The History of Animal Cloning
Click to View Full Infographic

The astoundingly complex concept of cloning boils down to a fairly simple (in theory, at least) practice: you need two cells from the same animal — one of which is an egg cell from which you’ve removed the DNA. You take the DNA from the other somatic cell and put it inside the devoid-of-DNA egg cell. Whatever that egg cell goes on to produce for offspring will be genetically identical to the parent cell. While human reproduction is the result of the joining of two cells (one from each parent, each with their own DNA) the cellular photocopy technique does occur in nature. Bacteria reproduce through binary fission: each time it divides, its DNA is divided too so that each new bacterium is genetically identical to its predecessor. Except sometimes mutations occur in this process — and in fact, that can be by design and function as a survival mechanism. Such mutations allow bacteria to, for example, become resistant to antibiotics bent on destroying them. On the other hand, some mutations are fatal to an organism or preclude them coming into existence at all. And while it might seem like the picking-and-choosing that’s inherent to cloning could sidestep these potential genetic hiccups, scientists have found that’s not necessarily the case.

Prediction: When will the first human be cloned?

What The Experts Say

While Dolly the sheep might be the most famous mammal science has ever cloned, she’s by no means the only one: scientists have cloned mice, cats, and several types of livestock in addition to sheep. The cloning of cows has, in recent years, provided a great deal of knowledge to scientists about why the process doesn’t work: everything from implantation failure to those aforementioned mutations that render offspring unable to survive. Harris Lewin, professor in the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, and his team published their findings on the impact cloning has on gene expression in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences back in 2016. In the study’s press release Lewin noted that the findings were certainly invaluable to refining cloning techniques in mammals, but that their discoveries “also reinforce the need for a strict ban on human cloning for any purposes.”

The creation of entire mammals via reproductive cloning has proven a difficult process both practically and ethnically, as legal scholar and ethicist Hank Greely of Stanford University explained to Business Insider in 2016:

“I think no one realized how hard cloning would be in some species though relatively easy in others. Cats: easy; dogs: hard; mice: easy; rats: hard; humans and other primates: very hard.”

The cloning of human cells, however, may be a far more immediate application for humans. Researchers call it “therapeutic” cloning, and differentiate it from traditional cloning that has reproductive intent. In 2014, researchers created human stem cells through the same cloning technique that generated Dolly the sheep. Because stem cells can differentiate to become any kind of cell in the body, they could be utilized for a wide variety of purposes when it comes to treating diseases — particularly genetic diseases, or diseases where a patient would require a transplant from an often elusive perfect match donor. This potential application is already well underway: earlier this year a woman in Japan suffering from age-related macular degeneration was treated with induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cellscreated from her own skin cells, which were then implanted into her retinas and stopped her vision from degenerating further.

We asked the Futurism community to predict when they think we’ll be able to successfully clone a full human, and the majority of those who responded agree that it feels like we’re getting close: nearly 30 percent predicted we’ll clone our first human by the 2020s. “We have replaced, and replicated almost every biology on earth,” said reader Alicja Laskowska, “[the] next step is for cures and to do that you need clean DNA, and there’s your start.”

 

Gene-editing algae doubles biofuel output potential. 


Scientists have created a strain of algae that produces twice as much lipid as its wild parent, a substance that can be processed into a biofuel.

By using a combination of gene editing tools, including the famed CRISPR-Cas9 technique, they identified and switched off genes that limited the production of lipids. Creating an alga that can pump out commercial amounts of sustainably obtained biofuels.

 

“We are focused on understanding how to maximize the efficiency of [lipid production] algae and at the same time maximise the amount of CO2 converted to lipids in the cells, which is the component processed into biodiesel,” Eric Moellering, lead researcher from company Synthetic Genomics Inc, told ScienceAlert.

Scientists have been trying to make the concept of using phototropic algae to produce bio-diesel a reality since the 1970s. In the past, it has been said that a new energy sector based on algal biofuels could guarantee transport fuel and food security far into the future.

Despite years of research, the best attempts until now have been limited to industrial strains which, although they have a really high lipid conversion rate, do not make sufficient amounts of lipid to make it commercially viable – limited by the fact it can’t grow very fast.

“Early in the [study] we posed the basic question, can we engineer an alga to produce more lipids while sustaining growth? This publication provides the proof of concept answer to that question is yes,” said Moellering.

In this new research, the team used CRISPR-Cas9, among other editing techniques, and identified 20 transition factors that regulated lipid production. By knocking out 18 of these, the team were able to double the lipid output compared to the non-modified algae.

But here’s the important bit: they were able to do so without stunting the alga’s growth rate. It grew at the same rate as the unmodified type.

The genetically modified algae produced up to 5 grams of lipid per metre per day, about twice as much as in the wild.

Another important metric is the total carbon to lipid conversion. This tells us how efficient the algae is at converting CO2 to lipids. In wild, unmodified alga the conversation rate is about 20 percent, but in the engineered alga it converted 40 to 55 percent of carbon to lipids.

It’s worth pointing out that this study was only performed at the laboratory scale but one of the researchers, Imad Ajjawi, also from Synthetic Genomics, told ScienceAlert that while they consider this a ‘proof of concept’, “they represent a significant milestone in establishing the foundation for a path that leads to eventual commercialisation of algal biofuels.”

Should this research graduate from the lab, bio-fuel production would no longer be reliant on sugars produced by land-grown crops like sugar cane and maize. Studies on the use of crop based biodiesel has shown that it could prove to be incredibly costly and damage our food security.

This research is another win for gene editing and the researchers have shown that new genetic editing tools sit at the centre of talking some of the world’s biggest problems.

“We have also developed the necessary genomic and genetic tools that will enable future breakthroughs to advance this field,” said Ajjawi.