(Left to right): Golden Rice Humanitarian Board, NIH, S. Cassagnaud et al., Science Translational Medicine (2013)

Top Stories: Treating Dwarf Mice, the Perils of Golden Rice, and More

Treatment Gives Dwarf Mice a Growth Spurt

A treatment that encourages normal bone growth in mice offers a possible therapy for the most common form of dwarfism in humans. Mice injected with decoy receptors for a growth factor associated with the disease had dramatically reduced rates of skeletal defects.

Golden Rice Not So Golden for Tufts

A controversial study of genetically modified rice as a promising source of vitamin A in Chinese children violated university and U.S. federal rules on human research, Tufts University announced this week. The principal investigator has been barred from doing human research for 2 years.

Corked Wine Plugs Up Your Nose

Scientists know that the musty odor and odd taste of “corked” wine comes from a molecule called 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). Now they’ve discovered how TCA exerts its pesky influence. Using the enormous olfactory receptor cells in newts, they found that TCA blocks the channels that stimulate the nerve cells responsible for smell. 

Australia's New Government Cuts Climate Panels

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s incoming conservative government has eliminated the Climate Commission, designed by the previous Labor administration as an “independent and reliable” source of information about the science of climate change. Environmental scientists believe the move, part of a larger government overhaul, is severely misguided.

NIH's $33 Million Alzheimer's Gamble

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) intends to give $33 million to a clinical trial of a yet-to-be identified drug targeting amyloid plaques—proteins that clog brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s disease. The effort aims to settle once and for all whether anti-amyloid drugs can be effective treatments.

Not a Whiff of Life on Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover has turned up no traces of methane gas on Mars—a finding that will disappoint those looking for potential signs of life on the Red Planet. But some scientists maintain that the new upper limit on methane quantity doesn’t rule out the existence of methane clouds or plumes, and even pockets of microbial life on the surface.