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Stories by David Wagner

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: Stay Tuned For El Niño Rain

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Don't let a smattering of weekend showers fool you — California has so far not been getting unusually high levels of precipitation.

UC San Diego Scientist Looks To Microbes For Forensic Clues

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Decomposer microbes could give crime scene investigators clues about when and where a murder victim died, according to a new study.

SDSU Study: Medical Marijuana Laws Can Lead To Decline In Obesity

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Smoking pot may cause a case of the munchies. But San Diego researchers say, at the statewide level, medical marijuana may actually lead to weight loss.

Study: Shelved San Diego Drug Could Fight Deadly Brain Disease

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A failed diabetes drug developed in San Diego is being revived as a potential treatment for Huntington's disease.

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: 'A Normal Year So Far'

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Rain and snow hit San Diego County this week, but precipitation levels have remained fairly average across the state despite El Niño predictions.

San Diego Blood Donors Get Free Genome Sequencing

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Hoping to boost genomic research, San Diego-based Illumina is providing free genome sequencing to 70 San Diego Blood Bank donors.

Scientists Spread Anti-Malaria Genes Through Mosquitoes

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A genetic engineering technique developed at UC San Diego could be a powerful tool in the fight against malaria, according to a new study on mosquitoes.

San Diego Scientists Study How Lean People Can Still Get Diabetes

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Why do some people develop diabetes as they age, even though they're not overweight? Scientists at the Salk Institute are finding out.

Here's A Tool To Track California's Drought

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Is this year's El Niño going to be a real drought-buster for California? Over the next few months, KPBS will be tracking rain and snow throughout the state to find out.

Study Aims To Locate How San Diego Neighborhoods Affect Health

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How does where we live affect our health? Researchers at UC San Diego are recruiting people from all over San Diego County to find out.

Salk Scientists Fight Harmful Bacteria With More Bacteria

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In a study published in Science on Thursday, scientists at the Salk Institute show that mice infected with harmful bacteria can get a boost from helpful bacteria.

Car Hacking Research Accelerates At UC San Diego

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New legal protections issued this week are emboldening San Diego researchers who tinker with cars to find the security flaws that make them vulnerable to hacking.

Study: California Solar Farms Far From Demand, Close To Protected Lands

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California is relying heavily on solar power to reach environmentally friendly renewable energy goals. But a new study claims big solar farms can cause environmental problems of their own.

New Supercomputer Comes Online At UC San Diego

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To mark its 30th anniversary, the San Diego Supercomputer Center is celebrating the launch of a new platform for crunching big data.

San Diego Genomics Pioneer Offers Sequencing Straight To Consumers

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J. Craig Venter sequenced his DNA over a decade ago in the race to map the first human genome. Now, he's hoping to help consumers sequence and make sense of their own.

Report: San Diego Research Institutes Have A $4.6 Billion Impact

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Basic science makes a big impact in San Diego's economy, according to a new report.

Carlsbad Company Connects Paralyzed Man With Scientists Who Helped Him Walk Again

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Why scientists developing new treatments for spinal cord injury turn to a speciality gym in Carlsbad called Project Walk.

Sound Waves Give San Diego Neuroscientists Control Over Brain Cells

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The same kind of sound waves used in sonograms now allows researchers to change a worm's behavior.

Where Will Laid-Off Qualcomm Workers Land?

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Qualcomm handed out layoff notices to 1,314 full-time local employees this week. But industry groups believe those losing their jobs may still be able to find work in San Diego.

Study: Sierra Snowpack Hits 500-Year Low

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The Sierra Nevada snowpack hit a 500-year low this winter, according to a new study.

UCSD Files New Allegations In Alzheimer's Lawsuit

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An updated complaint alleges USC tried to poach UCSD staff by holding a "job fair" across the street from the project's La Jolla offices.

Molting Seals Boost Mercury Levels In Coastal Ecosystems

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Marine mammals don't just stink up areas like La Jolla Cove. According to a new study, they're also elevating mercury levels in these ecosystems.

Governor Appoints New Salton Sea Policy Official

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The Imperial Irrigation District's environmental manager Bruce Wilcox has a new role: assistant secretary for Salton Sea policy at California's Natural Resources Agency.

San Diego Engineers Design Mouthguard To Wirelessly Monitor Saliva

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You may already be using a smartphone to track your steps, calories and sleep. A team of San Diego engineers hopes one day you'll also be able to track your saliva.

Community Biology Lab Opens In La Jolla Library

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Patrons of a local public library can check out more than books — a new community lab now lets them check out DNA too.

New San Diego Research Center Plans Deeper Dive On Climate Change

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The Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation aims to address how humans will live with rising sea levels, climbing temperatures and other effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

San Diego Company Reports Building Proteins Not Found In Nature

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Synthorx claims success at using synthetic DNA to create proteins assembled with unnatural building blocks.

San Diego Gene-Sequencing Giant Illumina Launches Consumer-Focused Company

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Helix aims to help consumers better understand their DNA by bringing together a range of gene-analysis services from third-party partners.

San Diego Scientist Helps Capture Picture Of A 'Young Jupiter'

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Scientists have a new way of finding planets outside our own solar system, and their first discovery is a big, hot ball of gas that looks a lot like a young Jupiter.

Qualcomm Plays Up Graphics In Upcoming Smartphone Chip

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Qualcomm unveiled the first details about its upcoming smartphone chip Wednesday. Analysts say the company's focus on improving graphics could lure back lost customers.

Gov. Brown Commends San Diego On Water Conservation

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Gov. Jerry Brown came to San Diego Tuesday to commend local leaders on hitting state-mandated water cuts in recent months.

$259,000 Drug Hard To Swallow For Some Patients

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A new drug discovered in San Diego is giving hope to some patients with cystic fibrosis. It's giving others a severe case of sticker shock.

Legal Battle Highlights USC's Plans To Expand Into San Diego Science

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UC San Diego officials say they had to sue to prevent a prominent Alzheimer's scientist from hijacking a major national research project.

Judge Indicates UCSD Likely To Win In Fight Against USC

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A judge said she will issue a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by UC San Diego against the director of a nationwide study on Alzheimer's disease, who transferred critical data on the project to the University of Southern California.

Qualcomm Plans To Lay Off 15% Of Its Workforce

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While the company did not specify how many employees would lose their jobs, it announced that it expected the cuts would save around $1.1 billion.

How One California Alfalfa Farmer Cut His Water Use In Half

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Alfalfa is a thirsty plant that uses more water than any other crop in the state. One farmer in the Imperial Valley managed to cut his water use in half, but he says his water-saving methods won't work for everyone.

Air Tankers Briefly Grounded After Drone Spotted Over San Bernardino Fire

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Officials say they temporarily grounded air tankers for safety reasons after a hobbyist's drone flew near a huge forest fire in the San Bernardino National Forest.

San Diego Research Institute $100M Richer Thanks To Conrad Prebys

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In his largest donation to date, San Diego billionaire Conrad Prebys is giving $100 million to the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

San Diego Study: Trans Fats Linked With Memory Problems

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Men under 45 who ate more trans fats did worse on a memory test, according to a new study out of UC San Diego.

Court Rules San Diego Company’s Prenatal Test Patent Invalid

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Ruling says Sequenom should not have received a patent on a test that detects fetal abnormalities using maternal blood samples.

San Diego Autism Researchers Are Testing A New Use For An Old Drug

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UC San Diego is launching a clinical trial to test a century-old drug in patients with autism.

UCSD Researchers Find Gene Mutation Causing Black-And-White Vision

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San Diego researchers have helped pinpoint a gene underlying a rare eye disorder that causes patients to see the world in black and white.

San Diego Biotech Company: Don't Call Our Crop A GMO

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Cibus is hoping to cater to a growing demand for non-GMO food, while holding on to the benefits of genetic engineering.

In Virtual Reality, San Diego Scientist Sees Tool To Help The Visually Impaired

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Virtual reality can be more than just fun and games, according to a UC San Diego doctor using a cheap new headset with patients in mind.

Six Lessons For California From A Drought Halfway Around The World

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A new study outlines how Melbourne, Australia, cut its water consumption in half during a recent drought. Here's what California could learn.

Record Rainfall Breaks Through 'Ridiculously Resilient Ridge'

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The ridge has helped keep California in a prolonged state of drought by pushing storms up and over California.

Warm-Blooded Fish Discovered Near San Diego

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The opah, sometimes called the moonfish, is known for its unusually round, silvery body. Now, San Diego researchers have discovered that the opah possess an even more unusual trait: warm blood.

San Diego Study: Designer Drug 'Flakka' Is Potent But No Worse Than Bath Salts

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Research out of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla suggests the effects of a new designer drug sweeping Florida are on par with a previous chemical cousin.

San Diego Researchers Link PTSD To Early Aging

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Post-traumatic stress disorder affects more than just the mind, according to a new study led by scientists in San Diego.

San Diego Company Inks Deal With Cosmetics Giant To 3D-Print Human Skin

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L'Oreal has inked a bio-printing deal with San Diego-based Organovo in hopes of developing better ways to test beauty products.