LATEST UPDATES » Vol 26, Nos. 07 & 08, July & August 2022 – Engineering a Sustainable Future       » Improving Crop Yield With Leaf Angles       » Combatting Tumours at the Gut With Novel Oral Vaccine Made by Bacteria Robot       » New Carbon Capture System With Record-Breaking Efficiency to Revolutionise Direct Air Capture       » Simulating the Synergistic Interactions of Neurons and Synapses in Computing Devices       » Understanding Gene Functions: From Algae to Plants       » Colour-Modified Mice Tissues Allow for Higher-Resolution Imaging      
Vol 26, Nos. 07 & 08, July & August 2022   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
Small Steps, Big Impact

I recently read an article about how Asian elephants mourn the dead—how they kick, nudge, and shake the carcass, perhaps in hopes of having them rise up again. In some cases, female elephants have been observed to use their trunks to carry their dead calves around.

Apparently, this observation is nothing new in the animal kingdom. Apes and monkeys, and even dolphins and whales hold on to their deceased infants. For elephants, the carrying of calves is not a usual behaviour as the calves would usually follow the herd on their own. Dr. Sanjeeta Pokharel mentioned in The New York Times that this carrying “can indicate they are aware that there’s something wrong with the calf.”

From this, I was reminded of a video clip from Spy in the Wild by the BBC, where Langur monkeys mistake a robotic spy monkey for a baby monkey that died when the robot fell from a height. Laying the robot monkey flat on the ground, the other Langur monkeys soon gathered around the “carcass”, touching and sniffing it, and was later seen holding one another close.

We often think grief is a human emotion, yet it seems almost universal. Watching how animals react to death makes me wonder a little deeper about their cognitive abilities and how such events might affect them psychologically. I think it is important to remind ourselves of these things when we think about the changing climate, habitat loss, and the pollution of our environment.

Keeping these things in mind, in this issue, we consider how technology, for better or for worse, allows us to engineer a future where we can grow crops in the ocean, save endangered animals, and possibly even bring extinct animals back to life.

Other research highlights include developing an enzyme to break down lignin for biofuel, modifying leaf angles to increase crop yield, and upcycling carbon dioxide into value-added products.

When we reflect on how our actions influence our environment, how it may affect other animals, who may have greater cognitive abilities than we give them credit for, and then consider the technology at our disposal to improve the world around us and the different socio-economic factors at play, we see how policy work is further complicated through the need to draw a fine balance between the two.

And while research work might feel far away from us non-scientists, there are many ongoing initiatives that we can support and take part in: Seastainable Co.’s Blue Carbon Package and Coral Restoration Plan, Singapore Garden City Fund’s Plant-a-Tree Programme, and volunteering at Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES). Let us remember that just as in scientific progress, a small step forward in conservation goes a long way.

Carmen Chan
You can reach me at [email protected]


You can always access all APBN's issues on our website: www.asiabiotech.com.
Check us out at Facebook @Asia Pacific Biotech News, Instagram @asiabiotech, or follow us on Twitter @asia_biotech.


MGI Makes Possible New Advances in Agrigenomics Research and Molecular Breeding
news 2022 PDA Pharmaceutical Manufacturing & Quality Conference
news Medtec China 2022 Gathers Medtech Leading Enterprises, Optimising Medical Equipment Supply Chain by Creating Online-Offline Promotion Platforms
news Medtec China 2022 Is Now Open for Visitor Registration, Helping Medical Device Manufacturers in Medtech Sourcing and Supply Chain Stabilisation
news Inaugural Asia Summit on Global Health highlights Hong Kong's advantages

About Us
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Contribute to APBN
Advertise with Us
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» For Editorial Enquiries:
   [email protected] or Ms Carmen Chan
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   [email protected]
Copyright© 2022 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy