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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 113

Sep 9, 2016

In a new study, a team of scientists was able to rewrite a bacteria’s genome entirely from scratch

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Model of the human genome.

A special nutrient must be fed to these bacteria or else they die off. Unless they find this selfsame nutrient in the environment, which Church says is unlikely, they would not be able to survive. Another fail-safe is a special barrier which has been erected to make it impossible for the bacteria to mate or reproduce, outside of the lab. But other experts wonder how “unbeatable” Church’s fail-safe’s actually are. Carr says that instead of discussing these measures as foolproof, we should be framing it in degrees of risk.

The next step is further testing of the artificial genes that have been made. Afterward, Church and colleagues will take this same genome and produce an entirely new organism with it. Since DNA is the essential blueprint for almost all life on earth, being able to rewrite it could give humans an almost god-like power over it. That capability is perhaps decades away. Even so, combined with gene editing and gene modification, and the idea of a race of super humans is not outside the realm of possibility.

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Sep 9, 2016

Aubrey de Grey & Matthew O’Connor AMA! • /r/Futurology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

The Aubrey de Grey and Matthew O’Connor SENS AMA on reddit Monday 12th 11am PST.


I am Dr. Aubrey De Grey, biologist, gerontologist PhD and author of the book Ending Aging and Chief Science Officer at the SENS Research Foundation. I am here with researcher Dr. Matthew O’Connor from the MitoSENS project who is an expert on “allotopic expression” of mitochondrial genes. His team has been working on engineering mitochondrial genes to be expressed from the nucleus and targeted to the mitochondia as part of the MitoSENS approach to one of the damages of aging.

Each cell in the body is dependent on the efficient generation of cellular energy by mitochondria to stay alive. Critical to this process are genes encoded within the mitochondrial genome. Over time however, mutations in these genes occur as a result of constant exposure to reactive oxygen species produced by oxidative phosphorylation, the mitochondrial energy generation process. Unlike genes within the nucleus, mitochondria lack an efficient system to repair damaged DNA. This leads to accumulated mutations, resulting in mitochondrial defects and an increase in oxidative stress throughout the body. Closely correlated with this is the observation that organisms which age more slowly also consistently display lower rates of mitochondrial free radical damage. Thus, reversing and/or preventing damage to mitochondrial DNA may be a key factor in slowing the aging process.

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Sep 8, 2016

DARPA developing security tools for gene editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, military, security

DARPA’s answer in defending the US from Gene Editing Warfare.


DARPA has announced a new program to develop security procedures and remedial protocols to protect against the misuse of gene editing technologies.

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Sep 8, 2016

DARPA reveals program to address ‘safety gaps’ in gene editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Recent plans to use these techniques to obstruct mosquitoes’ disease-carrying abilities have raised concerns from both experts and the public, and some have even argued that the tool can be used to create biological weapons.

Now, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has revealed a new program that aims to set a ‘safe course’ for this field, with hopes that their toolkit can work both to support bio-innovation and combat bio-threats.

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Sep 8, 2016

Genetic “extinction” technology rejected

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, existential risks, genetics, government

OAHU, HAWAI’I — As thousands of government representatives and conservationists convene in Oahu this week for the 2016 World Conservation Congress, international conservation and environmental leaders are raising awareness about the potentially dangerous use of gene drives — a controversial new synthetic biology technology intended to deliberately cause targeted species to become extinct.

Members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including NGOs, government representatives, and scientific and academic institutions, overwhelmingly voted to adopt a de facto moratorium on supporting or endorsing research into gene drives for conservation or other purposes until the IUCN has fully assessed their impacts. News of the August 26 digital vote comes as an important open letter to the group is being delivered.

Scientists and environmental experts and organizations from around the globe have advocated for a halt to proposals for the use of gene drive technologies in conservation. Announced today, a long list of environmental leaders, including Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, genetics professor and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Fritjof Capra, entomologist Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Indian environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva and organic pioneer and biologist Nell Newman, have lent their support to the open letter: “A Call for Conservation with a Conscience: No Place for Gene Drives in Conservation.” The letter states, in part: “Gene drives, which have not been tested for unintended consequences, nor fully evaluated for ethical and social impacts, should not be promoted as conservation tools.”

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Sep 8, 2016

THINKING Podcast

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, health, life extension, neuroscience

Biohacking, nootropics, and the notion of optimizing one’s human performance are on a rapid rise. Nootrobox founders Geoffrey Woo and Michael Brandt are some of the foremost thinkers in this space, and they are here to have intellectual conversations that will make you THINK.

Episode 9 features Aubrey de Grey, the Chief Scientist Officer of the SENS Research Foundation. In this episode, Geoff, Michael, and Aubrey discuss the nuances of aging and health and their differing opinions and tactics of how to fully optimize these notions.

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Sep 7, 2016

The Science of a New Space Race

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, economics, health, science, security, space, sustainability

The future frontier for hackers is synthetic biology.


Landmark scientific projects such as the Human Genome Project can encourage international cooperation and bring nations together. However, when security interests and defence research align with the prestige of a landmark project—international competition is all but assured. Synthetic biology is a scientific discipline less than a decade old, and the potential defence and security applications may create a new space race, this time between the USA and China.

The larger concern is not that this race may happen, but that if it does it will politicise and militarise an ethically sensitive area of the life sciences at a time when this frontier technology is critical to maintaining a sustainable world.

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Sep 7, 2016

Amateur biohackers could create a biological weapon, scientist warns

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, security

Hackers new weapon.


Professor John Parrington, from Oxford University, warns that the security services, including the FBI, are increasingly concerned about the spread of gene editing technology by biohackers.

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Sep 2, 2016

For first time, carbon nanotube transistors outperform silicon

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

For decades, scientists have tried to harness the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create high-performance electronics that are faster or consume less power — resulting in longer battery life, faster wireless communication and faster processing speeds for devices like smartphones and laptops.

But a number of challenges have impeded the development of high-performance transistors made of carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders made of carbon just one atom thick. Consequently, their performance has lagged far behind semiconductors such as silicon and gallium arsenide used in computer chips and personal electronics.

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Sep 1, 2016

Pharmacogenetics Informs Clinical Practice

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, genetics

I remember 4 years ago at a CIO Life Sciences Conference in AZ when one of the leaders over a research lab mention the desire to finally enable patients to share their entire DNA sequence on a thumb drive with their doctor in order to be treated properly as well as have insights on the patient’s future risks. However, limitations such as HIPAA was brought up in the discussion. Personally, with how we’re advancing things like synthetic biology which includes DNA data storage, cell circuitry, electronic tattoos, etc. thumb drive maybe too outdated.


The circle that is personalized medicine consists of more than just doctor, patient, and patient data. Other elements are in the loop, such as EHR systems that incorporate gene-drug information and updated clinical guidelines.

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