Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 2

May 8, 2024

CRISPR Enzyme Found in Metagenomic Study Is Tiny, Yet Active and Precise

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

The results of a metagenomic study from the University of Trento suggest that the CRISPR toolbox will need to make room for another CRISPR enzyme. The disruption should be minimal because the newly identified enzyme is unusually compact. It consists of just over 1,000 amino acids. And yet it is also strongly active and highly precise. The hope is that it can be packaged with guide RNA within the tight quarters afforded by adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors, and thereby expand the use of in vivo gene editing in therapeutic applications.

The study was led by Anna Cereseto, PhD, and Nicola Segata, PhD, of the department of cellular, computational, and integrative biology. Cereseto leads a laboratory that develops advanced genome editing technologies and their application in the medical sector. Segata is the head of a laboratory of metagenomics, where he studies the variety and characteristics of the human microbiome and its role in health. Their collaboration has led to the identification, in a bacterium of the intestine, of new CRISPR-Cas9 molecules that could have a clinical potential to treat genetic diseases.

Detailed findings from the study recently appeared in Nature Communications, in an article titled, “CoCas9 is a compact nuclease from the human microbiome for efficient and precise genome editing.”

May 7, 2024

Double sperm cloning (DSC) is a promising strategy in mammalian genetic engineering and stem cell research

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

Poirier M, Smith OE, Therrien J, et al. Resiliency of equid H19 imprint to somatic cell reprogramming by oocyte nuclear transfer and genetically induced pluripotency†. Biol Reprod. 2019;102:211–9.

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May 7, 2024

The lab-grown penis: approaching a medical milestone

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

face_with_colon_three Year 2014

After decades of research, scientists are bioengineering penises in the lab, writes Dara Mohammadi.

May 7, 2024

Complete Human Penile Scaffold for Composite Tissue Engineering: Organ Decellularization and Characterization

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Year 2019 face_with_colon_three

Tan, Y., Landford, W.N., Garza, M. et al. Sci Rep 9, 16,368 (2019).

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May 2, 2024


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

From DNA nanotechnology to synthetic biology.

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May 1, 2024

Marriage of synthetic biology and 3D printing produces programmable living materials

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, biological, genetics, sustainability

Scientists are harnessing cells to make new types of materials that can grow, repair themselves and even respond to their environment. These solid “engineered living materials” are made by embedding cells in an inanimate matrix that’s formed in a desired shape. Now, researchers report in ACS Central Science that they have 3D printed a bioink containing plant cells that were then genetically modified, producing programmable materials. Applications could someday include biomanufacturing and sustainable construction.

May 1, 2024

The science of static shock jolted into the 21st century

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry, computing, mathematics, particle physics, science

Now Princeton researchers have sparked new life into static. Using millions of hours of computational time to run detailed simulations, the researchers found a way to describe static charge atom-by-atom with the mathematics of heat and work. Their paper appeared in Nature Communications on March 23.

The study looked specifically at how charge moves between materials that do not allow the free flow of electrons, called insulating materials, such as vinyl and acrylic. The researchers said there is no established view on what mechanisms drive these jolts, despite the ubiquity of static: the crackle and pop of clothes pulled from a dryer, packing peanuts that cling to a box.

“We know it’s not electrons,” said Mike Webb, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, who led the study. “What is it?”

Apr 26, 2024

AI-designed gene editing tools successfully modify human DNA

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, food, genetics, robotics/AI

Medically, AI is helping us with everything from identifying abnormal heart rhythms before they happen to spotting skin cancer. But do we really need it to get involved with our genome? Protein-design company Profluent believes we do.

Founded in 2022 in Berkeley, California, Profluent has been exploring ways to use AI to study and generate new proteins that aren’t found in nature. This week, the team trumpeted a major success with the release of an AI-derived protein termed OpenCRISPR-1.

The protein is meant to work in the CRISPR gene-editing system, a process in which a protein cuts open a piece of DNA and repairs or replaces a gene. CRISPR has been actively in use for about 15 years, with its creators bagging the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2020. It has shown promise as a biomedical tool that can do everything from restoring vision to combating rare diseases; as an agricultural tool that can improve the vitamin D content of tomatoes, and slash the flowering time of trees from decades to months; and much more.

Apr 26, 2024

Self-assembling synthetic cells act like living cells with extra abilities

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

Using DNA and proteins, scientists have created new synthetic cells that act like living cells. Blurring the line between artificial and living materials, these cells can be reprogrammed to perform multiple functions, opening the door to new synthetic biology tech that goes beyond nature’s abilities.

Cells get their structure and stability from their cytoskeleton, a crosslinked framework of proteins that encases and protects other components. Depending on the type of cell, this cytoskeleton can be flexible to different degrees and respond in different ways to their environment, giving cells their specialized abilities.

For the new study, scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill developed synthetic, self-assembling cytoskeletons, built out of DNA, peptides and other genetic material.

Apr 25, 2024

Designer peptide–DNA cytoskeletons regulate the function of synthetic cells

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Scientists have successfully engineered functional artificial cells in the lab that behave like living cells.

Advances in the development of cytoskeletal-like materials with modular structures and mechanics are pivotal for the engineering of synthetic cells. Now actin-mimetic supramolecular peptide networks have been designed using programmable peptide–DNA crosslinkers, giving rise to tunable tactoid-shaped bundles and mechanical properties that control spatial localization, the diffusion of payloads and shape changes within artificial cells.

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