Jun 07 2016
Harvard Professor of Energy Daniel G. Nocera has genetically engineered bacteria (Ralstonia eutropha) to absorb hydrogen and carbon dioxide and convert them into alcohol fuel: isopropanol, isobutanol and isopentanol. The hydrogen could come from Nocera’s previous invention, the artificial leaf. It converts sunlight ten times more efficiently than plants.
Jun 06 2016
The government of the Netherlands is willing to allow growing human embryos “under strict and limited conditions” for research purposes, which would give hope to parents who have problems conceiving. The Dutch minister of health, Edith Schippers, said the aim is to “give people the possibility of (healthy) children”. The research has to do with …
Apr 25 2016
A team of researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft have used DNA to store four image files with a total size of 145 kilobytes, among them an image of a cat. The files have been read error-free afterwards, without losing a single byte of information. Why was DNA chosen for a storage medium?
Apr 12 2016
Researchers from the Guangzhou Medical University in China have reported the use of CRISPR gene editing in human embryos to try to make them resistant to HIV infection. A total of 213 fertilized human eggs were collected from 87 patients of in vitro fertility therapy. The embryos were unsuitable for implantation because they contained an …
Mar 28 2016
Researchers led by genome sequencing pioneer Craig Venter report engineering a microbe to have the smallest genome—and the fewest genes—of any freely living organism. Known as Syn 3.0, the new organism has a genome whittled down to the bare essentials needed to survive and reproduce, just 473 genes. In their current work, Venter, along with …
Feb 09 2016
Scientists in China say they have created monkeys with a version of autism by genetic engineering, an achievement that could make it easier to test treatments for the condition. Zilong Qiu’s team at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences has generated more than a dozen monkeys with a genetic error that in human children causes …
Feb 02 2016
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on January 28th that the Zika virus is “spreading explosively.” The virus was unknown to most people until recently, and is one of the scary new viruses that emerge abruptly in the modern world. The causes for that are complex and have developed, unnoticed, over years or decades.
Dec 16 2015
A report in the journal PLOS ONE shows that pigeons can learn to recognize tumor tissue in microscopic or mammographic images after several days of training. This highlights the birds’ outstanding visual memory, as well as their ability to categorize similarities. The brain of a pigeon is as small as the tip of a human …