Short items

Artificial genome created 

Researchers at the J Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, announced the technical feat of building an entire genome from DNA fragments (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151721) They stitched together 580,000 base pairs of the human parasite Mycoplasma genitalium, and hope to subsequently transplant the genome into a cell.  

Tox testing collaboration

The US Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health said they will coordinate their efforts to test chemicals’ toxicity using high-throughput cell assays and computational methods, instead of animals (Chemistry World, July 2007, p12; August 2007, p9). A collective budget for the new trans-agency framework is yet to be determined. 

Ocean seeding called off

Planktos, the US-based company that planned to dump iron sulfate into the ocean to seed plankton growth in an effort to remove CO from the air (Chemistry World, January 2008, p5), have postponed their project - citing ’widespread opposition’ and lack of sufficient funds. 

Say What?

" Water is the oil of the 21st century"

Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, sees water at the heart of future conflicts and business opportunities. Reported at the World Economic Forum, Davos, 24 January 2008.