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Mar 15, 2020

New Paper Suggests Life Could Be Common Across The Universe, Just Not Near Us

Posted by in category: alien life

The building blocks of life can, and did, spontaneously assemble under the right conditions. That’s called spontaneous generation, or abiogenesis. Of course, many of the details remain hidden to us, and we just don’t know exactly how it all happened.

Or how frequently it could happen.

The world’s religions have different ideas of how life appeared, of course, and they invoke the magical hands of various supernatural deities to explain it all. But those explanations, while colorful tales, leave many of us unsatisfied.

Mar 15, 2020

‘Cat Tracker’ study shows where pet cats go when they’re outside

Posted by in category: futurism

Understanding where outdoor cats go is important for keeping them, and native wildlife, safe.

Mar 15, 2020

It rains solid diamonds on Uranus and Neptune

Posted by in category: space

Another reminder that the solar system is awesomely bonkers.

Mar 15, 2020

Gigantic golden asteroid could make everyone on Earth a billionaire

Posted by in category: space

Circa 2019

An asteroid that’s filled with gold and enough precious metals to turn everyone on Earth into a billionaire is being studied by NASA.

The asteroid – known as 16 Psyche – has a mass of less than 1% of our moon and it contains heaps of platinum, iron and nickel alongside the gold. The combined total value of all those precious metals would equal out at something like $700 quintillion.

Continue reading “Gigantic golden asteroid could make everyone on Earth a billionaire” »

Mar 15, 2020

Grandfather becomes first person to have pioneering heart treatment

Posted by in category: futurism

A British grandfather-of-nine has become the first person in the world to benefit from a pioneering triple-combo heart-failure treatment.

Robert Brind, 63, from Whitstable, Kent, had three new wireless implants fitted over the course of six months to help his heart beat properly again.

One prompts the heart to beat at a normal rate, another makes sure both sides beat in unison, while the third is on standby to shock the heart if it suddenly starts to fail.

Mar 15, 2020

U.S. FDA approves Thermo Fisher’s coronavirus test: official

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc’s coronavirus test, which would allow the firm to increase capacity to 1.4 million tests a week, a Trump administration official said.

“This will dramatically increase our ability to test people for the virus,” the official said. It was not immediately clear if capacity referred to test kit production or processing of tests performed on individual patients.

The move comes as the Trump administration struggles to meet demand for testing. The FDA has already approved emergency authorization for a faster coronavirus test made by Swiss diagnostics maker Roche.

Mar 15, 2020

How science is on a mission to extend the human lifespan – to 1,000?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, science

Along with academic research departments around the world, private sector medical technology companies are getting in on the action, seeking ways to increase longevity and health span.

Mar 15, 2020

Phones Could Track the Spread of Covid-19. Is It a Good Idea?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, mobile phones

China and South Korea used smartphone apps to monitor people with the disease. But Americans have different views of privacy and data collection.

Mar 15, 2020

Coronavirus will bankrupt more people than it kills — and that’s the real global emergency

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, economics, finance, health

Coronavirus’s economic danger is exponentially greater than its health risks to the public. If the virus does directly affect your life, it is most likely to be through stopping you going to work, forcing your employer to make you redundant, or bankrupting your business.

The trillions of dollars wiped from financial markets this week will be just the beginning, if our governments do not step in. And if President Trump continues to stumble in his handling of the situation, it may well affect his chances of re-election. Joe Biden in particular has identified Covid-19 as a weakness for Trump, promising “steady, reassuring” leadership during America’s hour of need.

Continue reading “Coronavirus will bankrupt more people than it kills — and that’s the real global emergency” »

Mar 15, 2020

Extracellular nanovesicles for packaging of CRISPR-Cas9 protein and sgRNA to induce therapeutic exon skipping

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Prolonged expression of the CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease and gRNA from viral vectors may cause off-target mutagenesis and immunogenicity. Thus, a transient delivery system is needed for therapeutic genome editing applications. Here, we develop an extracellular nanovesicle-based ribonucleoprotein delivery system named NanoMEDIC by utilizing two distinct homing mechanisms. Chemical induced dimerization recruits Cas9 protein into extracellular nanovesicles, and then a viral RNA packaging signal and two self-cleaving riboswitches tether and release sgRNA into nanovesicles. We demonstrate efficient genome editing in various hard-to-transfect cell types, including human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, neurons, and myoblasts. NanoMEDIC also achieves over 90% exon skipping efficiencies in skeletal muscle cells derived from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patient iPS cells. Finally, single intramuscular injection of NanoMEDIC induces permanent genomic exon skipping in a luciferase reporter mouse and in mdx mice, indicating its utility for in vivo genome editing therapy of DMD and beyond.