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Stories by David Wagner

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: Some Water Sources Rebounding

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So ... has El Niño put a dent in the drought? Not exactly, according to the KPBS Drought Tracker. But some key water sources in the state have rebounded.

How Many Genes Are Essential For Life? A Lot Fewer Than You Think

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San Diego gene sequencing pioneer J. Craig Venter strips the genome down to its bare essentials in a decades-long study.

Pricey Drug Developed In San Diego Deemed Too Expensive In UK

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The cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi was developed in San Diego by the Boston-based company Vertex Pharmaceutical. The drug's price tag in the United States is $259,000 per patient per year.

Uber Announces Cross-Border Rides From San Diego To Tijuana

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San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined Uber representatives to tout the company's new cross-border service. But some drivers tell KPBS they won't take riders into Tijuana.

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: Falling Short Of A Drought-Busting Year

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California's seasonal rain and snow levels have grown over the past week — but not by much.

San Diego Lab Helps Families Dealing With Exceedingly Rare Diseases

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Raising a child with a developmental disorder is hard. It's even harder when that disorder is so rare, most doctors have never heard of it.

San Diego Scientists Solve Mystery Behind A Son's Sudden Death

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Dardie Robinson's son, Daniel, died suddenly at 29, and no one knew why — until researchers in La Jolla started looking at her family's DNA.

Results From San Diego Ebola Drug Trial Remain Inconclusive

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Researchers don't have enough data to know whether ZMapp helps Ebola-infected patients more than standard care.

California Scientists Release Earthquake-Monitoring Smartphone App

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The app taps into smartphone accelerometers — sensors commonly used to detect movement and orient screens based on how users hold their phones — to pick up on earthquake tremors.

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: Warm Winter Stalls Snowpack Growth

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The latest numbers from the KPBS Drought Tracker show statewide rain and snowfall not budging over the past week.

San Diego Scientists Find Data Brewing In Local Fermentation Culture

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Whether it's craft beer or kimchi, fermented foods and drinks are making a comeback. San Diego researchers are sampling local fermentation fanatics to find out how fermented foods can change our gut microbes.

Why A San Diego Scientist Swabbed His Newborn Daughter With Bacteria

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We’re all born naked, but we’re not all born with the same coat of microbes — and that may have a lasting impact on health.

Wireless Devices Did Not Cut Health Care Costs In San Diego Study

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Patients in San Diego used small medical devices, synced with an iPhone, to keep tabs on their chronic diseases. Their reliance on hospitals, emergency rooms and doctor visits did not go down.

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: Dry In San Diego, Stormy Up North

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After an early burst of El Niño-driven storms, San Diego has stayed pretty dry. But recent storms in Northern California have kept rain and snow levels climbing steadily.

Apple Buys San Diego Emotion-Recognition Startup

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If the founders of Emotient were to use their emotion-recognition software on themselves this week, their mood would probably register as "joy."

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: El Niño Storms Into San Diego

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But, the latest update from the KPBS Drought Tracker shows the rest of California is still on track for a relatively average wet season.

No Results Yet In San Diego Ebola Drug Trial

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Nearly a year and a half after the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp reportedly "saved" the lives of two American aid workers, experts still can't say whether the San Diego-made drug actually works in humans.

Border Biometrics Take Deeper Look At Otay Mesa Crossers

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San Diego border agents are now testing new biometric scanners on people walking across the border. Civil liberties advocates say they're also testing the limits of privacy.

Your Safe Ride Guide To New Year's In San Diego

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After you've popped the champagne and had a glass (or 10), how will you get home?

KPBS Drought Tracker Update: 'At Least It's Been Normal'

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In San Diego, the holidays have been chilly and spotted with rain. But the KPBS Drought Tracker shows precipitation throughout California has been just middling so far this wet season.

Carlsbad Drug Company Isis Pharmaceuticals Changes Its Name

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With the terrorist group ISIS dominating headlines and presidential debates, Isis will now do business as Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

San Diego Gene Editing Research Cited In Journal's 'Breakthrough Of The Year'

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The journal Science has called the gene-editing tool CRISPR its "breakthrough of the year." In 2015, scientists used CRISPR to make precise changes to DNA in animals, human embryos and — as one team at UC San Diego demonstrated — insects.

Judge OKs Releasing Video Of SDPD Shooting, Gives Time To Appeal

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U.S. District Judge William Hayes issued his ruling Wednesday morning, a day after a hearing where he heard arguments on making public a security camera video that shows the fatal shooting of Fridoon Rawshan Nehad by a San Diego police officer.

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.