Category: Posts

Sep 28 2016

The world’s first baby with three parents was born

A boy is the world’s first baby that has the DNA of three people. The “three parent” technique allows parents with rare genetic mutations to have healthy babies. In this case, the mother carries genes for Leigh syndrome in her mitochondrial genome. She is healthy but had lost her first two children to the disease …

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Sep 02 2016

Zika vaccine trials begin

A vaccine is being given to 160 people in Puerto Rico, and a preliminary study has identified two existing drugs that seem to protect human brain cells from the virus. The vaccine contains a synthetic DNA fragment similar to one in the virus itself. Hopefully, people who receive it will develop immune protection against Zika.

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Aug 11 2016

Will there be more records to break?

At this month’s Summer Olympics in Rio, the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt — will try to beat his own world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100-meter dash. Whereas a great number of training techniques and technologies continue to push the boundaries of athletics, the slowing pace at which sporting records are now broken …

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Aug 02 2016

Zika becomes a sexually transmitted infection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that Zika is already a sexually transmitted disease. Public health experts now know that Zika can be passed in bodily fluids. So far, in the continental United States, 15 cases of Zika are confirmed to have been transmitted by sexual contact. This has been reported …

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Jul 25 2016

Zika calls attention to a common birth-defect virus

A common and much less exotic virus than Zika is killing hundreds of babies and leaving thousands with severe birth defects, including abnormally small heads and brains, hearing loss and cerebral palsy. It is the cytomegalovirus (CMV). This virus is a much greater global problem than Zika, but receives much less attention.

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Jun 27 2016

Scientists discover 320 million-year-old plant root stem cells

A team of paleontologists led by Oxford University researcher Prof. Liam Dolan has found the oldest known population of plant root stem cells in a fossilized root tip from a Carboniferous coal swamp forest 320 million years old. The discovery was published in the journal Current Biology. In addition to revealing the oldest plant root …

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Jun 09 2016

Evolutionary approach to cancer treatment

The existence of cancer is based on a fundamental process that occurs in an organism: cell division. A tumor cell breaks the rules of cell division that other cells follow. Cancer can only grow this way if some of the tumor suppressor genes – such as the p53 gene – get mutated in the cancer cells. Then, …

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Jun 07 2016

Genetically modified bacterium absorbs CO2 and produces biofuel

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.

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Jun 06 2016

Netherlands allows growing human embryos

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 …

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Apr 25 2016

DNA as digital data storage

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?

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