Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Science Magazine Issue July/August 2017

Cover Story: Gene Drives: A Way to Genetically Engineer Populations
Gene drives occur when a bias in the mechanism of inheritance spreads particular genetic variants through a population. Developments in gene-editing technology now make it possible to construct gene drives that address problems in health, agriculture and conservation.
Feature: Driving Mosquitoes out of Town
Existing techniques to control mosquito-borne diseases are coming up short. Can gene drives offer hope to the millions affected?
Feature: Gene Drives for Conservation
Gene drives may provide a novel tool to counteract seemingly unstoppable threats to global biodiversity.
Feature: The Future of Pest Control Lies Within (the Pest)
Gene drives could improve global food security by turning pest biology against itself.
Feature: Gene Drives: A Fork in the Road for the GMO Debate
What are the moral and ethical concerns about gene drives, and how should the technology be regulated?
Feature: It’s Not Just About “The Science”
Female scientists and health professionals have revealed that opposition to genetically modified food is less about “the science” and more about perceived conflicts with personal values.
Feature: Tasty Treats Diminish Our Capacity for Patience
A new study finds that our recent experience with rewards such as food can change our capacity for patience.
Feature: Ruling the Roost
More than four million Australians suffer from food poisoning each year, many due to bacterial contamination of poultry products. Now nanotechnology is being tested as an alternative to antibiotic use in chickens prior to processing.
Feature: How Early Can We Predict and Prevent Psychosis?
The addition of a simple blood test could improve predictions of a first psychotic episode.
Feature: A Quantum of Silence
Single photons have weird yet useful behaviours, with applications ranging from secure communications to quantum computing. While current silicon photon sources often produce additional “noise photons” that interfere with these emerging technologies, new research has discovered a method to quieten this quantum chaos.
Australasian Sky: This Month's Star Chart
Your map of the night sky this month.
conSCIENCE: Bursting the News Filter Bubble
Online technologies can create echo chambers that reinforce our world views, but does this necessarily mean we need to open ourselves up to alternative facts?
The Bitter Pill: Functional Medicine: New Name, Old Ideas
An extensive review of integrative medicine by the Australian Ministry of Health found that many of its practices aren’t supported by evidence. Now it’s going by a new name.
Directions: We Need to Solve the Energy Trilemma Now
The Finkel Review provides a roadmap to investment in clean energy technologies.
Eco Logic: Reviewing Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services
What is the state of our understanding of the connection between climate change and ecosystem-service assessment?
Expert Opinion: Finkel Review Hedges Its Bets
Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, has unveiled a blueprint for the national electricity market that “risks falling short of Australia’s task and opportunities in reducing carbon emissions”.
Lowe Tech: Thirty Year Warning
CSIRO predicted the increasing severity of cyclones 30 years ago.
Naked Skeptic: Hold the Front Page!
The loss of specialist reporters in the clickbait era of journalism matters more for science than other rounds.
Neuropsy: Wired for Sound?
A new study proposes a biological cause for misophonia – the pathological hatred of sounds.
Out of this World: Solar Storm Blackouts Could Cost $40 BIllion Daily
Solar storm blackouts could cost $40 billion daily, and volunteers spot an exploded star that pre-dates the dinosaurs.
Quandary: The Facts About Surrogacy
The dismal death of Brooke Verity illustrates the need for longitudinal studies of the long-term outcomes of surrogacy.
Up Close: The baby makers: The science behind healthier embryos and better IVF
Reproductive biologist Professor David Gardner explains what we're still learning about healthy embryo development, how it's being applied to improve IVF technologies, and the unexpected insights it may offer into how cells implant themselves and proliferate, including how cancers take hold.
Up Front: A New Twist in the DNA Revolution
Gene drives take genetic modification to the population level, with applications in health, conservation and agriculture, but there are also practical and ethical concerns.