Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

biofuel promise: Scientists have completed the first genome sequence of the black cottonwood, a tall and fast-growing poplar tree. Researchers have identified more than 45,000 protein-coding genes. These genes could be specifically selected through traditional plant breeding to efficiently produce the kind of cellulose needed to make biofuel production cost-effective and efficient. The potential for farms of biofuel-production poplars would come with added environmental benefits -- less pollution than petrol and additional carbon storage.

kitty news: The world's first specially bred "hypoallergenic cats" have gone on sale in the US. US biotech firm Allerca says it has managed to selectively breed them by reducing a certain type of protein that triggers allergic reactions. The company says the animals will not cause the red eyes, sneezing and even asthma triggered by cat allergy, except in acute cases. Despite costing US $3,950, there is already a waiting list to get one.

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