Archive for January, 2016

EPO Revokes Monsanto Patent On Virus-Resistant Melon

26 January, 2016

The European Patent Office on 20 January revoked a patent held by Monsanto on virus-resistant melons for technical reasons, much to the glee of opponents of patents on conventional plants. [updated…

Sourced through from:

Now this is NOT a victory for anti-GMO activists, but more for folk who are against the patenting of natural genomes – which this is, in fact, as "Monsanto was claiming melons with a natural resistance to plant viruses."  Which is not a good thing, in my mind, because it would mean companies could mine germ plasm collections for useful traits and then patent them.

See on Scoop.itVirology News

MCB Honours Blog Project

22 January, 2016

So: you’ve just been told that as part of the teaching requirements for your MCB Honours degree, you have to do an at-least monthly blog (=weblog).

No! you cry.  Yes, Vernon Coyne and Ed Rybicki insist, kindly but firmly.

How?! you ask.

Like this:

  1. Go here (
  2. Click “Create Website”Create_an_account_—_WordPress_com
  3. Choose a themeCreate_an_account_—_WordPress_com
  4. Type “MCB” in the “Enter a domain” slotCreate_an_account_—_WordPress_com
  5. Select the FREE option offered:Create_an_account_—_WordPress_com
  6. And get to work!!mcb9847
  7. …with this as your composition screenNew_Post_‹_mcb9847_—_WordPress_com
    You want to blog on this paper here that you have just found.  Write as your title:
    Trans-packaged virus-like particles as vaccines” then copy and paste the abstract into the body of your post.  Position the cursor within the text, then click the indicated “Quote” control.Edit_Post_‹_mcb9847_—_WordPress_com
  9. This will show the text as being quoted – as in, not yours – and you can then add commentary.Edit_Post_‹_mcb9847_—_WordPress_com
    Here’s the link to the test page.
  10. This is the WHY of the exercise: we want to see that you can both select papers of interest to you and the Honours group, AND that you can write a concise and intelligent commentary to it – pointing out why it is cool / uncool / wrong / so right it’s awe-inspiring / etc.Like this example from my blogs.  To which I linked using the chain symbol at the top of the editing screen, and the URL of that specific blog post.“Online_‘recipes’_for_bird_flu_virus_add_to_bioterrorism_threat_”_No__No__they_don’t____ViroBlogy

What this exercise will hopefully teach you is (1) how to read quickly and analytically, (2) how to succinctly share your insights with others, (3) how to gain an entirely new means of scientific and social expression.

Oh, and we’re going to mark both the frequency with which you do this, and the quality of your contribution, AND the quality (and number) of the comments you make on your colleagues’ pages.

Have fun!  Please email your URL once you have created your site to both Vernon Coyne and Ed Rybicki.  May the Force be with you.