Category: Posts

Apr 20 2016

Dead tumor cells may be used for vaccination

Researchers from the University of Ghent have demonstrated that dead tumor cells are an exceptionally strong stimulus for the immune system in its fight against spreading tumors. The discovery comes from a group of young scientists who study different types of cell death on the molecular level. Dr. Peter Vandenabeele’s team shifted their interest to …

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Apr 12 2016

Study used CRISPR technology to introduce HIV-resistance mutation into embryos

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 …

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Mar 28 2016

Synthetic bacterium lives with less than 500 genes

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 …

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Mar 14 2016

Adaptations to the CRISPR technology enable production of biofuel precursors in yeast

Yeast, among other microbes, are highly valuable for metabolic engineering because they can produce chemicals and other compounds for biofuels, food, and other industrial products. The yeast Yarrowia lipolytica is an important microbial host for chemical production because it has a high capacity to synthesize, modify, and store intracellular lipids; however, rapid strain development has …

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Feb 09 2016

Genetically-modified monkeys with autism created

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 …

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Feb 02 2016

How did Zika become the threat it is?

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.

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Dec 16 2015

Pigeons can recognize cancer

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 …

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Nov 25 2015

Can antibiotic apocalypse be avoided?

Researchers from several Chinese, British and US universities announced that they have identified a new form of resistance, to colistin. They say they first perceived a colistin-resistant E. coli in 2013, in a pig from an intensive farm near Shanghai, and then noted increasing colistin resistance over several years. Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic used when …

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Nov 19 2015

DNA Reveals Mysterious Human Cousin

The analysis of a fossil tooth from Siberia reveals that a mysterious people known as Denisovans, discovered a mere five years ago, persisted for tens of thousands of years alongside modern humans and Neanderthals. In 2010, teams of geneticists and anthropologists led by Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced strange …

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Nov 11 2015

Trials in gene editing in humans about to begin in 2017

The biotechnology company Editas hopes to begin clinical trials using the latest gene editing technique on human subjects in 2017, according to the company’s CEO Katrine Bosley. The CRISPR/Cas system is a prokaryotic immune system that confers resistance to foreign genetic elements such as plasmids and phages, and provides a form of acquired immunity.

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