Tag: Genetic-surprises

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Biopolitics

Recreating Woolly Mammoth DNA

Bioengineering might soon enable us to bring long gone animals back to life, à la Jurassic Park. Recently, a team of scientists at Harvard University managed to insert wooly mammoth DNA into the genome of its closest relative – the Asian elephant.

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Designed-by-Evolution

Scientists Created “Alien-DNA”

The genetic material of all creatures on earth is saved in the biomolecule Deoxyribonucleic Acid, the DNA. It consists of four components: the bases Adenin (A), Thymin (T), Guanin (G) and Cytosin (C). These appears as pairs in the combinations of AT and GC. Now, a team of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in California, led by chemical biologist Floyd Romesberg, extend the alphabet with two new created ‘foreign’ building-blocks, called X and Y 

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Augmented-Bodies

Fish Fins vs Bones

After investigating how to regrow bones with silk, biologists found out that zebrafish, a tropical fish native to the Himalayan region but very common in tanks, could be studied for the same purpose. In fact, this aquatic species has the amazing ability to regenerate lost appendages, such as fins.

Researchers at the University of Oregon discovered that this process is applicable to human bones as well.

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Fake-nature

All-Natural E-nemies

Chemistry teacher James Kennedy sat down to show us that if we speak in terms of good and evil, Mother Nature’s products are far sneakier and complex than the lab’s. He virtually listed all the ingredients of non-GM fruits (excluding pesticides, fertilizers, insecticides or other contaminants), to reveal 13 E-numbers “naturally” packed in your morning blueberries, together with flavorings and fresh air.

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antibiotic resistence
Anthropocene

Forward to the Dark Ages: Our Horrifying Post-Antibiotic Future

Before the 1940s, the most simple, everyday maladies – a bug bite, a broken bone, a sore throat – could result in swift and sudden death, cutting down people even in the prime of their lives. This was the era before antibiotics became a cornerstone of modern medicine. Now, thanks to overprescription of antibiotics, the massive overuse of antibiotics in factory-style farming, and stalled antibiotic research, we’re rapidly returning to the pre-penicillin era. Bacteria have evolved resistance to our best and, right now, our only, weapons.

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thumb sucking human fetus
Anthropomorphobia

How to Turn Skin Cells into a Baby

A Japanese biologist, Katsuhiko Hayashi, has managed to create both sperm and egg cells from stem cells in mice.  Not only that, but Hayashi was even able to produce a viable baby mouse using these same stem cells. His research may have far-reaching consequences for human fertility, one of which would be that two men or two women could make a biological baby together.

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Gear
Designed-by-Evolution

The Insect with Natural Mechanical Gears

At first glance the picture might look like the delicate gear wheel from an old Swiss watch, but it is actually the first and only mechanical gear ever found in nature. It belongs to a three-millimeter-long hopping insect, known as Issus Coleoptratus. The gears are located at the top of the insects’ hind legs and include 10 to 12 tapered teeth, allowing the insect to jump forward.
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artificial life
Bionics

Artifice Earth: Adam Rutherford on the Promises of Synthetic Biology

In the basement recording studio of the journal Nature scientist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford sat down with speculative architect Liam Young to discuss the mythical beasts of synthetic biology. Rutherford recently worked with the BBC on a series called the ‘Gene Code’ which explored the consequences of decoding the human genome. Recognizing the potential externalities of communicating science poorly, Rutherford works at conveying the poorly understood field of synthetic biology to a broader audience.

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citrus greening
Designed-by-Evolution

Oranges Are Going Extinct – Unless a Gene from Spinach Can Help

The apocalypse is on its way – at least for oranges. Citrus greening, a disease that kills citrus trees and makes their fruit green, shrunken and inedibly bitter, is racing across the globe. The disease, which is transmitted from tree to tree by a tiny insect called a psyllid, was first reported in China in 1943. Since then, it’s spread across the globe, finally making its way to Florida’s famous orange groves in 2005.

There is no known cure. A worldwide search failed to turn up a naturally immune tree. Measures like burning infected trees and dousing the psyllids with insecticide slow but do not stop the disease. With such seemingly bleak odds, does this mean the end of oranges, lemons and grapefruits?

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discus breed fish
Genetic-surprises

Taste the Artificial Fish Rainbow

A gorgeously uncanny school of discus fish cluster in an aquarium, all of them captive breeds. Though there’s nothing unusual about artificially selecting animals for flamboyant or bizarre traits, it’s still compelling…

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