Nature

The Whale Watcher

The Whale Watcher

Asha de Vos is fascinated by pygmy blue whales, which feed, breed and calve off Sri Lanka’s southern coast, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. A TED Fellow and National Geographic Explorer, the marine-mammal researcher works to protect the subspecies and is using her US$150,000 fellowship from the Pew Charitable Trust, awarded last year, to create and help to fund Oceanswell, a marine research and outreach organization in her native Sri Lanka. How did you first encounter pygmy blue whales? In 2002, after doing […]



A single escaped organism is all it’ll take…

A single escaped organism is all it’ll take…

Evolutionary engineer Kevin Esvelt, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, works with gene drives, engineered bits of DNA that can cause a mutation to become heritable all the time. He calls for researchers to create and use safe lab procedures while working with this powerful but potentially risky technology. What is a gene drive? In nature, a gene drive occurs when a DNA sequence spreads through a population by breaking the conventional rules of inheritance. For example, if an organism has a single […]