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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 163

Jan 25, 2017

Researchers Make Artificial Cells That Can Replicate Themselves

Posted by in category: bioengineering

To better understand how life might have started on Earth.

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Jan 24, 2017

New Organisms Have Been Formed Using the First Ever 6-Letter Genetic Code

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

Scientists have engineered the first ever ‘semi-synthetic’ organisms, by breeding E. coli bacteria with an expanded, six-letter genetic code.

While every living thing on Earth is formed according to a DNA code made up of four bases (represented by the letters G, T, C and A), these modified E. coli carry an entirely new type of DNA, with two additional DNA bases, X and Y, nestled in their genetic code.

The team, led by Floyd Romesberg from the Scripps Research Institute in California, engineered synthetic nucleotides — molecules that serve as the building blocks of DNA and RNA — to create an additional base pair, and they’ve successfully inserted this into the E. coli’s genetic code.

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Jan 24, 2017

Biologists just created the world’s first stable semi-synthetic organism

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Created by a team of bioengineers, the semisynthetic organism has DNA made up of four natural bases and two manmade bases.

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Jan 23, 2017

Scientists want to give the world a second chance at Caspian tigers

Posted by in category: bioengineering

Or at least something close.

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Jan 21, 2017

Human patient treated with CRISPR gene editing for the first time

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Chinese researchers hope the tool will help fight cancer.

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Jan 20, 2017

The UN Okays Synthetic Biology

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

That’s a relief.


Of all the potentially apocalyptic technologies scientists have come up with in recent years, the gene drive is easily one of the most terrifying. A gene drive is a tool that allows scientists to use genetic engineering to override natural selection during reproduction. In theory, scientists could use it to alter the genetic makeup of an entire species—or even wipe that species out. It’s not hard to imagine how a slip-up in the lab could lead to things going very, very wrong.

But like most great risks, the gene drive also offers incredible reward. Scientists are, for example, exploring how gene drive might be used to wipe out malaria and kill off Hawaii’s invasive species to save endangered native birds. Its perils may be horrifying, but its promise is limitless. And environmental groups have been campaigning hard to prevent that promise from ever being realized.

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Jan 20, 2017

Scientists Have a Plan to Bring Back the Caspian Tiger, Which Has Been Extinct for 50 Years

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics

Caspian tigers were some of the largest cats ever to roam the Earth, but they went extinct in the 1960s. Now, some scientists want to bring them back.

A new study, published in the journal Biological Conservation, lays out the plan to reintroduce the tigers using a subspecies, the Siberian tiger, which is genetically similar to the Caspian tiger.

The authors write in their paper that the Siberians tiger’s “phenotype proves adaptable to the arid conditions of the introduction site”.

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Jan 19, 2017

Equipping Insects for Special Service

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

Draper combines navigation and neuromodulation to guide insects

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The smallest aerial drones mimic insects in many ways, but none can match the efficiency and maneuverability of the dragonfly. Now, engineers at Draper are creating a new kind of hybrid drone by combining miniaturized navigation, synthetic biology and neurotechnology to guide dragonfly insects. The system looks like a backpack for a dragonfly.

DragonflEye, an internal research and development project at Draper, is already showing promise as a way to guide the flightpath of dragonflies. Potential applications of the technologies underpinning DragonflEye include guided pollination, payload delivery, reconnaissance and even precision medicine and diagnostics.

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Jan 19, 2017

Will synthetic biology help us to eliminate age-related diseases?

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

A quick look at synthetic biology and its potential for health and treating age-related diseases.


All living organisms contain an instruction set that determines what they look like and what they do. These instructions are encoded in the organism’s DNA within every cell, this is an organism’s genetic code (or “genome”).

Mankind has been altering the genetic code of plants and animals for thousands of years, by selectively breeding individuals with desired features. Over time we have become experts at viewing and manipulating this code, and we can now take genetic information associated with the desired features from one organism, and add it into another one. This is the basis of genetic engineering, which has allowed us to speed up the process of developing new breeds of plants and animals.

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Jan 19, 2017

Manufacturing could be revolutionized by synthetic biology

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

The emerging discipline of synthetic biology sits at the crux of the intersection between design, biology, computing and manufacturing…[I]t appears more and more probable that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift, where…biology is adopted as the next big manufacturing technology.

[The objective of Ginkgo Bioworks, an “organism design” company,] is to take synthetic biology techniques to an industrial level, machine-injecting DNA sequences into baker’s yeast creating “living organism” products like perfumes, sweeteners, cosmetics and other things that are typically extracted from plants.

There are two main potential benefits from the technology. Replacing consumption of finite natural resources with lab-grown alternatives, and the potential to replicate actual genes to produce authentic fragrances replacing chemical synthetic scented products that currently dominate the marketplace.

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