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Keyword: biotechnology

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  • Scientists trick iron-eating bacteria into breathing electrons instead

    01/31/2013 3:47:55 PM PST · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Biology News Net ^ | January 30, 2013 | NA
    Scientists have developed a way to grow iron-oxidizing bacteria using electricity instead of iron, an advance that will allow them to better study the organisms and could one day be used to turn electricity into fuel. The study will be published on January 29 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The method, called electrochemical cultivation, supplies these bacteria with a steady supply of electrons that the bacteria use to respire, or "breathe". It opens the possibility that one day electricity generated from renewable sources like wind or solar could be funneled to iron oxidizing...
  • Unlocking New Talents in Nature: Protein Engineers Create New Biocatalysts

    12/30/2012 1:17:16 PM PST · by neverdem · 5 replies
    ScienceDaily ^ | Dec. 20, 2012 | NA
    Protein engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have tapped into a hidden talent of one of nature's most versatile catalysts. The enzyme cytochrome P450 is nature's premier oxidation catalyst -- a protein that typically promotes reactions that add oxygen atoms to other chemicals. Now the Caltech researchers have engineered new versions of the enzyme, unlocking its ability to drive a completely different and synthetically useful reaction that does not take place in nature. The new biocatalysts can be used to make natural products -- such as hormones, pheromones, and insecticides -- as well as pharmaceutical drugs, like antibiotics,...
  • Maize cells produce enzyme-replacement drug: A genetic tweak keeps problematic plant sugars...

    09/19/2012 11:35:49 PM PDT · by neverdem
    NATURE NEWS ^ | 18 September 2012 | Monya Baker
    A genetic tweak keeps problematic plant sugars off therapeutic proteins. Growing crops is simpler and cheaper than culturing mammalian cells, which can harbour human pathogens and must be kept at precise temperatures and fed particular nutrients. But culturing mammalian cells is currently the only way to make some complex protein drugs. For example, the rare lysosomal storage disease mucopolysaccharidosis I is treated using enzyme-replacement therapy. The enzymes must be made in cells, and the high production costs mean that the drugs can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. So Allison Kermode, a plant biologist at Simon Fraser University...
  • Two in one technique for biological imaging

    05/01/2012 5:14:17 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 24 April 2012 | Rebecca Brodie
    A UK based team has combined two methods into a new technique to investigate cell-substrate interactions in biomedical research.The new technique, correlative light-ion microscopy (CLIM), combines both ion and fluorescence microscopy to obtain topographical and biochemical information for the same area of a sample.The idea for the technique came to Molly Stevens and her colleagues at Imperial College London, when they observed unknown structures while conducting characterisation tests on human tissue samples. 'We realised that there was no simple and efficient method to correlate structural and biochemical information at the micro and nanoscale. Therefore, the only way forward was to...
  • Prions in the brain eliminated by homing molecules

    04/28/2012 2:16:56 AM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies ^ | April 24, 2012 | NA
    Toxic prions in the brain can be detected with self-illuminating polymers. The originators, at Linköping University in Sweden, has now shown that the same molecules can also render the prions harmless, and potentially cure fatal nerve-destroying illnesses. Linköping researchers and their colleagues at the University Hospital in Zürich tested the luminescent conjugated polymers, or LCPs, on tissue sections from the brains of mice that had been infected with prions. The results show that the number of prions, as well as their toxicity and infectibility, decreased drastically. This is the first time anyone has been able to demonstrate the possibility of...
  • New microbe turns sugary seaweed into fuel

    01/25/2012 7:49:44 PM PST · by neverdem · 30 replies
    Chemistry World ^ | 19 January 2012 | Jon Evans
    It may be slimy, slippery and rather unpleasant, but seaweed actually has a surprisingly wide range of uses, being a common source of food, chemicals, medicines and cosmetics. It may soon also be a source of biofuel, thanks to an engineered microbe able to transform seaweed directly into ethanol. Seaweed has a number of important advantages over other biofuel feedstocks. Unlike maize and sugarcane, it isn't grown on fields that otherwise would be producing food and unlike wood and energy crops, such as switchgrass, it doesn't contain any lignin, which makes the sugar molecules in it much easier to release.  As a...
  • New synthetic molecules treat autoimmune disease in mice

    12/25/2011 11:25:41 AM PST · by decimon · 26 replies
    A team of Weizmann Institute scientists has turned the tables on an autoimmune disease. In such diseases, including Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's tissues. But the scientists managed to trick the immune systems of mice into targeting one of the body's players in autoimmune processes, an enzyme known as MMP9. The results of their research appear today in Nature Medicine. Prof. Irit Sagi of the Biological Regulation Department and her research group have spent years looking for ways to home in on and block members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzyme family. These proteins...
  • Rice seed yields blood protein - Human serum albumin from transgenic rice could ease...

    10/31/2011 10:52:08 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    Nature News ^ | 31 October 2011 | Lauren Gravitz
    Human serum albumin from transgenic rice could ease shortages of donated blood. One can't squeeze blood from a turnip, but new research suggests that a bit of transgenic tweaking may make it possible to squeeze blood — or at least blood protein — from a grain of rice. In a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe rice seeds that can produce substantial quantities of a blood protein called human serum albumin, or HSA1. HSA is in high demand around the world, both for its role in drug and vaccine production and...
  • Among the Biotech Conventioneers - A dispatch on the value of failed drugs, new vaccines against...

    07/01/2011 10:36:46 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Reason ^ | June 28, 2011 | Ronald Bailey
    A dispatch on the value of failed drugs, new vaccines against superbugs, and the prospect of a molecular stethoscope. Fifteen thousand conventioneers are gathering this week at the Washington, D.C., convention center for the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s annual convention to talk science, deals, and policy. At such sprawling meeting, a reporter can only get glimpse of what is going on in this vast industry. But many of the most interesting sessions and conversations revolved around ways to insure that future medicines are better targeted, more personalized, and faster to market. The keynote talk by National Institutes of Health director Francis...
  • Online with the blink of an eye and other marvels in our future

    06/04/2011 9:42:48 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 8 replies · 2+ views
    LA Times ^ | 6/3/11 | Amina Khan
    The theoretical physicist and author of 'Physics of the Future' talks about how nanotechnology will change our lives.Will the future bring us the teleportation devices of "Star Trek" or the sinister machines of "The Matrix"? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku of the City College of New York says that many of the things that were once the domain of science fiction — cars that navigate rush-hour traffic on their own, wallpaper that can switch colors when you remodel, an elevator that takes you into outer space — are already here, or well on their way. His book "Physics of the Future,"...
  • Biotech Company to Patent Fuel-Secreting Bacterium

    09/15/2010 1:09:11 PM PDT · by neverdem · 39 replies
    NY Times ^ | September 13, 2010 | MATTHEW L. WALD
    A biotech company plans to announce Tuesday that it has won a patent on a genetically altered bacterium that converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into ingredients of diesel fuel, a step that could provide a new pathway for making ethanol or a diesel replacement that skips several cumbersome and expensive steps in existing methods. The bacterium’s product, which it secretes like sweat, is a class of hydrocarbon molecules called alkanes that are chemically indistinguishable from the ones made in oil refineries. The organism can grow in bodies of water unfit for drinking or on land that is useless for farming,...

    06/04/2010 2:30:34 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 174 replies · 1,261+ views
    DiscoveryNews ^ | Fri Jun 4, 2010 | Eric Bland
    In the new movie "Splice," a human-animal hybrid terrorizes people. In real life, scientists argue mixing human and animal cells could save lives.Dren, the half-human, half-animal hybrid set to terrorize Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley in the new movie "Splice," is pure science fiction, but politicians across the country aren't taking any chances. In the last month Ohio and Arizona have both passed laws forbidding research of animal human hybrids. Proponents of the laws fear Dren-like creations and object morally to the combining human and animal cells. But scientists say the research could lead to cure for AIDS, immunize people...
  • Dental implants could be grown inside patients' mouths

    05/30/2010 11:00:39 PM PDT · by Natural Born 54 · 10 replies · 537+ views
    gizmag ^ | May 28, 2010 | Ben Coxworth
    Conventional dental implants are typically screwed into the patient’s jaw bone, require visits to several types of clinicians, take two to six months to heal, and are still subject to failure. Not exactly an ideal solution to missing teeth. A professor of dental medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, however, has devised a technique wherein implants could be grown in the empty tooth socket, right inside the patient’s mouth. Dr. Jeremy Mao started with a tooth-shaped scaffold made of microchannelled natural materials, infused with a growth factor. In an animal-model study, he placed that structure in a recipient’s empty tooth...
  • Natural artificial muscles

    05/06/2010 8:53:23 AM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies · 336+ views
    Chemistry World ^ | 05 May 2010 | Mike Brown
    Scientists in Canada and the US have developed artificial proteins that mimic the elastic and mechanical properties of the muscle protein, titin. When cross-linked into biomaterials, these proteins are tough and stretchy just like muscle tissue, the researchers say.There has been intense research to develop synthetic elastomers that mimic muscle tissue for use in biomedical applications. However there are limitations in using these materials for implants as they cannot help with tissue repair or regeneration, and the artificial material can often be attacked by the immune system and rejected by the host's body. The development of artificial muscle tissue using proteins could...
  • Small nanoparticles bring big improvement to medical imaging

    11/22/2009 10:40:46 PM PST · by neverdem · 2 replies · 525+ views
    If you're watching the complex processes in a living cell, it is easy to miss something important—especially if you are watching changes that take a long time to unfold and require high-spatial-resolution imaging. But new research* makes it possible to scrutinize activities that occur over hours or even days inside cells, potentially solving many of the mysteries associated with molecular-scale events occurring in these tiny living things. A joint research team, working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has discovered a method of using nanoparticles to illuminate...
  • If you cant beat em match em, another 600 million bucks to Green Algae research and development.

    09/30/2009 6:37:49 PM PDT · by larry hagedon · 38 replies · 1,498+ views
    The New York Times ^ | July 13, 2009 | JAD MOUAWAD
    A month ago oil giant BP announced a 600 million dollar investment in green algae research. Exxon did not stand still for that. Now they are matching that with their own 600 million bucks. Green algae is a very versatile crop. You can literally and inexpensively make anything from Green Algae that you can make from petroleum or from corn. Hundreds of companies world wide are already hard at work building infrastructure; hundreds of thousands of jobs will result as the Bio Tech Age and the green algae technologies mature over the next few years. Our defense department is supporting...
  • Gates Foundation Sells Off Most Health-Care, Pharmaceutical Holdings

    08/15/2009 9:33:00 PM PDT · by ckilmer · 43 replies · 2,056+ views
    wsjmarkets ^ | AUGUST 14, 2009, 10:06 P.M. ET | JESSICA HODGSON
    SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest private philanthropy fund, sold off almost all of its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health-care investments in the quarter ended June 30, according to a regulatory filing published Friday. The Seattle-based charity endowment, set up by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife, sold its total holding of 2.5 million shares in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson in the quarter, according to the filing.
  • Teaching Kids to Kill Embryos - A New Generation of Stem Cell Workers

    07/31/2009 2:50:12 AM PDT · by GonzoII · 1 replies · 669+ views
    “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!” —President Ronald Reagan Life Legal Defense Foundation continues to watchdog the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and in doing so found the latest attempt to promulgate embryonic stem cell research by “educating” children. Let us introduce you to Senate Bill 471. Titled “The California Stem Cell and Biotechnology Education and Workforce Development Act of 2009,” the purpose of SB 471 is purportedly to train up a new generation of...
  • The First and Best Biotechnician

    03/26/2009 9:43:01 AM PDT · by GodGunsGuts · 6 replies · 243+ views
    ICR ^ | March 26, 2009 | Brian Thomas, M.S.
    The First and Best Biotechnician by Brian Thomas, M.S.* Mankind’s attempts at bioengineering have yet to match the precision of some techniques already found in nature: cloning, tissue culturing, and gene therapy. Recent studies have explored how these processes operate in amoebas, aphids, and parasitic wasps, respectively...
  • U-M researcher's idea jells into potential new disease-detection method

    03/25/2009 11:33:11 PM PDT · by neverdem · 2 replies · 364+ views
    Relying on principles similar to those that cause Jell-O to congeal into that familiar, wiggly treat, University of Michigan researchers are devising a new method of detecting nitric oxide in exhaled breath. Because elevated concentrations of nitric oxide in breath are a telltale sign of many diseases, including lung cancer and tuberculosis, this development could prove useful in diagnosing illness and monitoring the effects of treatment. Assistant professor of chemistry Anne McNeil and graduate student Jing Chen will discuss the work at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City, Utah. McNeil and Chen work with...