Keyword: biotechnology

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  • Freeman Dyson's Remarkable View of the Future Is Worth Your Time To Examine

    10/16/2015 7:15:36 AM PDT · by Steely Tom · 12 replies
    Speech at Boston University ^ | 5 November 2005 | Freeman Dyson
    A couple of days ago, there was a quite successful thread here entitled Top Physicist Freeman Dyson: Obama 'Took the Wrong Side' on Climate Change. As an admirer and follower of Professor Dyson, I enjoyed it greatly, and posted several items on it. That thread got me interested in Dyson once again, and in looking for Dyson material I found this remarkable lecture on YouTube. I believe it is worth anyone's time to listen to in its entirety. At a little more than an hour in length, it is a bit long for one sitting, but I am sure most...
  • The Dissolving Family and the Bio Tech Revolution

    06/02/2015 11:06:39 AM PDT · by NYer · 8 replies
    Standing on my head ^ | June 1, 2015 | Fr. Dwight Longenecker
    This week’s article for National Catholic Register explores the seismic upheaval that has been the bio tech revolution. We seem blind to the fact that we are living in the midst of the most astounding technological revolution the world has ever seen. Biotechnology is the umbrella term for all the advances we have made in medical know-how, and reproductive technology is the most socially revolutionary subdivision of biotechnology. To put it simply, we no longer approach the transmission of human life as a sacred mystery — but, rather, have reduced it to the status of a baby-making machine that we’ve learned how...
  • Sweet success for bio-battery

    03/03/2014 9:55:59 PM PST · by neverdem · 38 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | Katia Moskvitch | 28 January 2014
    Rechargeable, energy-dense bio-batteries running on sugar might be powering our electronic gadgets in as little as three years, according to a US team of scientists. The battery, created by the group of Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, can convert all the potential chemical energy stored in a sugar into electricity.The prototype is similar in size to a typical AA battery and has an energy storage density of 596 amp hours per kilogram roughly one order of magnitude greater than a smartphones lithium-ion battery. This means that the battery could last at least...
  • Mushrooms used to clean up urban streams

    03/01/2014 1:27:55 PM PST · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Corvallis Gazette-Times ^ | January 20, 2014 | Anthony Rimel
    A local group is attempting to clean the waters in Corvallis Sequoia Creek and potentially the Willamette River beyond it using an unusual tool: mushrooms. The process used by volunteers with the Ocean Blue Project, an ecological restoration nonprofit, is to place mushroom spawn and a mixture of coffee grounds and straw in burlap bags that mushrooms can grow in, and then place the bags so that water entering storm drains will filter through them. The technique is attempting to take advantage of the natural ability of mycelium the underground part of fungi to break down...
  • Press P to print

    07/23/2013 11:17:17 PM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 25 June 2013 | Katharine Sanderson
    The use of 3D printers to create lab equipment, deliver reagents and even build biomaterials is on the rise. Katharine Sanderson installs drivers and prints away Frank WojciechowskiThe latest piece of cool technology at the top of every self-confessed geeks wish list is quite likely to be a 3D printer. Who wouldnt want the wherewithal to print a range of gadgets on a whim, from plastic toys to a spare pair of glasses or even pizza? And now seems like the perfect time to splash out on your own 3D printer: companies like MakerBot are selling 3D printers...
  • Jagged graphene edges can slice into cell membranes

    07/11/2013 3:37:24 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | July 10, 2013 | NA
    Sharp corners and jagged edges on graphene sheets enable them to puncture cell membranes. Researchers from Brown University have shown how tiny graphene microsheets ultra-thin materials with a number of commercial applications could be big trouble for human cells. The research shows that sharp corners and jagged protrusions along the edges of graphene sheets can easily pierce cell membranes. After the membrane is pierced, an entire graphene sheet can be pulled inside the cell where it may disrupt normal function. The new insight may be helpful in finding ways to minimize the potential toxicity of graphene, said...
  • Molecular switch for cheaper biofuel

    06/06/2013 2:00:33 PM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | June 3, 2013 | NA
    This is Christian Derntl in the bio-lab.Lignocellulosic waste such as sawdust or straw can be used to produce biofuel but only if the long cellulose and xylan chains can be successfully broken down into smaller sugar molecules. To do this, fungi are used which, by means of a specific chemical signal, can be made to produce the necessary enzymes. Because this procedure is, however, very expensive, Vienna University of Technology has been investigating the molecular switch that regulates enzyme production in the fungus. As a result, it is now possible to manufacture genetically modified fungi that produce the necessary...
  • New 1-step process for designer bacteria

    05/28/2013 11:24:28 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | May 28, 2013 | NA
    A simpler and faster way of producing designer bacteria used in biotechnology processes has been developed by University of Adelaide researchers. The researchers have developed a new one-step bacterial genetic engineering process called 'clonetegration', published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology. Led by Dr Keith Shearwin, in the University's School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, the research facilitates faster development of designer bacteria used in therapeutic drug development, such as insulin, and other biotechnology products. Designer bacteria are produced by integrating extra pieces of genetic material into the DNA of bacteria, in this case E. coli, so that the bacteria...
  • St. Francis, Christian Love, and the Biotechnological Future

    05/19/2013 6:36:18 PM PDT · by neverdem · 1 replies
    The New Atlantis ^ | Winter/Spring 2013 | William B. Hurlbut
    Sometime near the end of the twelfth century, a wealthy young man named Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone came upon a shepherd driving his flock to market. And apparently for the sheer joy of it — the extravagant pleasure of saving those sheep from slaughter — the young man promptly bought the entire flock, led the sheep out to open meadows, and set them free.This is the man everyone knows as St. Francis of Assisi (ca. 1182–1226) — namesake of the newly elected pope, a saint beloved throughout the world, even by people who have nothing to do with the Catholic...
  • Printable 'bionic' ear melds electronics and biology

    05/08/2013 2:44:49 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | May 1, 2013 | NA
    Scientists used 3-D printing to merge tissue and an antenna capable of receiving radio signals.Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can "hear" radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability. The researchers' primary purpose was to explore an efficient and versatile means to merge electronics with tissue. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear. "In general, there are mechanical and thermal challenges with interfacing electronic materials with biological materials,"...
  • Lean green microbe machines

    05/01/2013 2:48:39 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 30 April 2013 | Anthony King
    Pond scum algae gained prominence a few years ago, emerging from research obscurity to hog the green limelight. With questions over growing food crops for biodiesel and concerns over fuel security and global warming, algae seemed to offer a renewable, carbon-neutral source of fuel. Algal cultivation could use a large amount of non-arable land without harming food production, said the sales pitch, and its demand for water could be met with non-potable supplies, even saline or wastewater. As algal biochemist Alison Smith of the University of Cambridge, UK, explains, I was being phoned up every five minutes by...
  • Lab-grown kidneys transplanted into rats

    04/16/2013 7:16:05 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Nature News ^ | 14 April 2013 | Ed Yong
    Engineered organs produce urine, though not as efficiently as natural ones. Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have fitted rats with kidneys that were grown in a lab from stripped-down kidney scaffolds. When transplanted, these 'bioengineered' organs starting filtering the rodents blood and making urine. The team, led by organ-regeneration specialist Harald Ott, started with the kidneys of recently deceased rats and used detergent to strip away the cells, leaving behind the underlying scaffold of connective tissues such as the structural components of blood vessels. They then regenerated the organ by seeding this scaffold with two cell types: human...
  • Could Wood Feed the World?

    04/16/2013 6:08:16 PM PDT · by neverdem · 25 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 15 April 2013 | Charles Q. Choi
    Enlarge Image Future food? Cellulose from switchgrass and other nonfood plants might be converted into edible starch to feed the hungry. Credit: Peggy Greb/ARS/USDA The main ingredient of wood, cellulose, is one of the most abundant organic compounds on Earth and a dream source of renewable fuel. Now, bioengineers suggest that it could feed the hungry as well. In a new study, researchers have found a way to turn cellulose into starch, the most common carbohydrate in the human diet. Ethanol is today's most common biofuel used to power vehicles. It's typically made using sugars from crop plants such...
  • Yeast to make malaria drug on demand

    04/12/2013 1:04:04 AM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 10 April 2013 | Hayley Birch
    A natural biochemical pathway that produces the antimalarial drug artemisinin in the sweet wormwood plant has been fully reconstructed in yeast. The engineered yeast cells churn out high concentrations of a precursor that can be converted in a few steps into the first-line malaria drug. According to the team behind the advance, their semi-synthetic route should help smooth out seasonal variations in supply.Semi-synthetic artemisinin has been in the pipeline since 2006, when Jay Keaslings group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, US, reported rewriting the genome of ordinary brewers yeast to encourage it to make artemisinic acid.1 But...
  • Engineered extremophile brews bulk chemical

    04/11/2013 11:40:28 PM PDT · by neverdem
    Chemistry World ^ | 10 April 2013 | Akshat Rathi
    Volcanic vents off the coast of Italy are home to microbes that can produce a bulk industrial chemical Science Photo LibraryUS researchers have engineered a heat-loving microbe to produce a bulk chemical from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Their results may provide a viable industrial alternative to blue-green algae, which have a much lower efficiency for such chemical transformations.Microbes are principally used by industry to turn larger organic compounds into smaller, more useful ones fermenting corn sugars to produce ethanol, for instance. More desirable, though, is direct conversion of carbon dioxide into organic compounds.Current methods that use blue-green algae...
  • Droplet printing assembles soft networks

    04/04/2013 6:07:00 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 4 April 2013 | Laura Howes
    Producing soft networks of droplets is now much less laborious and time consuming © Science/AAASBack in 2007, Hagan Bayley’s lab at the University of Oxford, UK, created bionetworks made from small droplets all linked together.1 Each of the aqueous droplets were individually pipetted into an oily phase, where they linked together to create a chain of droplets with a lipid bilayer at each interface. Into those bilayers Bayley’s postdoc at the time, Matt Holden, introduced the alpha-haemolysin (α-HL) protein that the group do a lot of their work on, and showed that the linked droplets could conduct a current. But...
  • Mayo Clinic and Illinois researchers develop new sensor for methylated DNA

    04/04/2013 3:38:37 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | March 15, 2013 | NA
    Collaborators from Mayo-Illinois Alliance for Technology Based Healthcare have developed a new, single molecule test for detecting methylated DNA. Methylation -- the addition of a methyl group of molecules to a DNA strand -- is one of the ways gene expression is regulated. The findings appear in the current issue of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). "While nanopores have been studied for genomic sequencing and screening analysis, this new assay can potentially circumvent the need for some of the current processes in evaluating epigenetics-related diseases," says George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., co-leader of Mayo's Biomarker Discovery Program in the Center for Individualized...
  • OHSU scientists first to grow liver stem cells in culture, demonstrate therapeutic benefit

    03/20/2013 1:29:35 PM PDT · by neverdem · 2 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | February 25, 2013 | NA
    For decades scientists around the world have attempted to regenerate primary liver cells known as hepatocytes because of their numerous biomedical applications, including hepatitis research, drug metabolism and toxicity studies, as well as transplantation for cirrhosis and other chronic liver conditions. But no lab in the world has been successful in identifying and growing liver stem cells in culture -- using any available technique until now. In the journal Nature, physician-scientists in the Pap Family Pediatric Research Institute at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Portland, Ore., along with investigators at the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology...
  • (Operation Acoustic Kitty) The CIA's Secret Experiments to Turn Cats into Spies

    03/13/2013 6:22:13 PM PDT · by DogByte6RER · 7 replies
    IO9 ^ | March 13, 2013 | Annalee Newitz
    The CIA's secret experiments to turn cats into spies Want to know what's going to happen to animals in the next century? Then you must read science journalist Emily Anthes' new book Frankenstein's Cat, about how the animals of tomorrow will be transformed by high tech implants and genetic engineering. We've got an amazing excerpt from the book -- about how the CIA tried to create cyborg cat spies. "Robo Revolution," an excerpt from Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, by Emily Anthes In the 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency recruited an unusual field agent: a cat....
  • The Top 5 Lies About Biotech Crops - Don't believe the anti-biotech hype.

    02/25/2013 6:16:14 PM PST · by neverdem · 50 replies
    Reason ^ | February 22, 2013 | Ronald Bailey
    The Institute for Responsible Technology, an organization opposed to crop biotechnology, has published a list of reasons to avoid GMOsthat is, genetically modified food. Its a mish-mash of misinformation and disinformation. All of the institutes assertions are unfounded, but here are the five most dubious claims on the list. 1. GMOs Are UnhealthyEvery independent scientific body that has ever evaluated the safety of biotech crops has found them to be safe for humans to eat.Credit: Library of CongressA 2004 report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concluded that no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented...