A press release from the US Department of Energy announced that the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture will be working together to study “plant and microbial genomics, and the Department of Energy will tackle the sequencing of the soybean genome as the first project resulting from the agreement.”
Read the press release here.
Today the Washington Post reported that two Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech firms reported impressive results from hepatitis C studies. “Vertex, developing what many experts perceive to be the most potent of the new hepatitis medicines, said yesterday that when the pill was combined in a small, early-stage study with an existing treatment, the drug cut the amount of hepatitis C virus in patients’ bodies to a minuscule fraction of its prior level in just two weeks of treatment. In past studies, dramatic drops in the amount of virus have been a prelude to cures in many patients, but it has often taken months if it happened at all.” Read the story here.
Molecular Biology and the New Creationism?1
The decision in the Dover creationism trial last month probably came as a relief to most biologists worried about the status of our science in the nationâ€™s high schools. Unimpressed by the arguments of renegade biochemists such as Michael Behe, a judge ruled that â€œID [Intelligent Design] is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.â€?2 The judge was equally correct in holding that the ID creationistsâ€™ arguments were old, in fact going back to William Paleyâ€™s argument from design from the early nineteenth century. But one aspect of the dispute has changed, in fact changed radically from even twenty years ago, when Scientific Creationism rather than Intelligent Design was on trial.3 All of Intelligent Designâ€™s examples and arguments are molecular. There are two questions lurking here. Why have the creationists gone molecular? And what can we expect from them in the future, given that genomics is revealing more and more complex detail about the organization and behavior of genomes? We should think about these questions seriously because, in spite of this defeat, these well-funded creationists4 are not about to go away.