Researchers in Germany have enhanced the capabilities of solid-state nanopores by fitting them with cover plates made of DNA. These nanoscale cover plates, with central apertures tailored to various functions, are formed by so-called DNA origami—the art of programming strands of DNA to fold into custom-designed structures with specified chemical properties.
While working with an enzyme found in bacteria that is crucial for capturing solar energy, researchers in Michigan have found they can adjust the time the battery-like enzyme can store energy. In nature, the enzyme recovers from a charge-separated state in seconds, but changing the enzyme’s shape has extended storage to several hours.
Biotechnologists have recently found a way to control a heat-loving microbe with a temperature switch by inserting a gene from another organism. The engineered microbe can be coaxed to use that gene to make a new product, such as biofuel, by simply lowering the temperature.
Scientists in Sweden say they have developed a molecular catalyzer with the ability to oxidize water to oxygen at speeds comparable to those in nature's own photosynthesis. This finding would be a world record for artificial photosynthesis.
The Texas Medical Board on Friday approved new rules on experimental stem cell therapies such as the one Gov. Rick Perry underwent during back surgery last year, despite objections they don't do enough to protect patients and could led to an explosion of doctors promoting unproven, expensive treatments.
Chloroplasts were once living beings in their own right, before being swallowed up by larger cells and used as solar power generators. Until recent research that fast-forwarded the lengthy evolutionary process, the mechanism for this change were not understand. According this new work, chloroplast genes take a direct route to the cell nucleus, where the gene function can be correctly read despite the structural differences in the DNA.
Using genetic engineering techniques, researchers in Germany have generated cells that emit green fluorescent light when stimulated by the binding of a cognate antigen. Previously antigens, which induce destructive immune responses, could not be identified directly without some prior knowledge of their structure.
After running on 48 computer processors for four weeks and completing 32 billion searches, a computer program designed to compare multiple genomes has revealed identical long strings of genetic code shared by different plant species. Previous efforts had revealed identical codes in animals, but this is the first to uncover the phenomenon in plants.
Today, scientists map entire genomes mostly for research, but as genome mapping gets faster and cheaper, scientists and consumers have wondered about possible broader use: Would finding all the glitches hidden in your DNA predict which diseases you'll face decades later? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, say experts.
Plants that contain the ingredients for the popular licorice treat employ a complex assembly line of enzymes to produce the glycyrrhizin molecule, a potent sweetener that is also an effective anti-inflammatory and antiviral agent. A newly discovered enzyme brings scientists one step closer to understanding how plants like licorice root manufacture a molecule with potent medicinal properties.
Using an artificial thymus built in a mouse embryo, researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany have succeeded in explaining the surprisingly simple control mechanism for this crucial organ in the body’s immune response. It was not previously known which combination of factors is responsible for the development of a particular progenitor cell type.
The Supreme Court this week threw out a lower court ruling allowing human genes to be patented. The court overturned patents belonging to Myriad Genetics Inc. of Salt Lake City on two genes linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have created a gut-on-a-chip microdevice lined by living human cells that mimics the structure, physiology, and mechanics of the human intestine. As a more accurate alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models, the microdevice could help researchers gain new insights into intestinal disorders and evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments.
Scientists in Germany have succeeded in obtaining somatic stem cells from fully differentiated somatic cells without them first passing through the pluripotent stage. To perform this conversion, researchers combined a number of different growth factors, which are proteins that guide cellular growth.
Researchers at the University of Delaware have recently conducted high-performance computer modeling to investigate a new approach for ultrafast DNA sequencing based on tiny holes, called nanopores, drilled into a sheet of graphene. Only recently have scientists figured out a way to build the sheets so that electronics could keep up with the extremely fast DNA base detection rate.
Our memories leave traces that we may conjure up in remembrance, accompanied by time, place, and sensations. These memory “engrams” are more than just conceptual. Recent optogenetics studies have shown that memories really do reside in very specific brain cells, and simply activating a tiny number of neurons can conjure an entire memory.
Remember Slinky, the coiled metal spring that “walks” down stairs with just a push, momentum and gravity? Researchers at NIST have developed their own version of this classic—albeit 10 million times smaller—as a new technology for manipulating and measuring DNA molecules and other nanoscale materials.
Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have shown that nanocellulose stimulates the formation of neural networks. This is the first step toward creating a 3D model of the brain.
A new method for creating nanofibers, developed by researchers at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, relies on the previously unknown ability for alpha helical coiled-coil proteins to spontaneously come together and self-assemble into nanofibers. The protein’s ability to carry molecules suggests the discovery could be important in drug delivery efforts.
For the past decade, scientists have been developing cancer treatments based on RNA interference, which shuts off malfunctioning genes with short snippets of DNA. Delivering the RNA, however, has been a problem. The solution at Paula Hammond’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology laboratory is to pack the RNA into microspheres so dense they reach their destination intact.
Providing new information about the little-understood evolution of the diversity of sizes and shapes in nature is a recent study identifying genetic differences between two closely related species of Nasonia wasps. Digging deeply, the research team identified the chromosomal location of “wing size” gene, the differences in DNA sequences of the genes, and the regulatory controls that govern the genes.
More than 30,000 years after being stored in a squirrel’s den, Russian researchers plucked the seeds of Silene stenophylla from their slumber and resurrected them in the laboratory. It is the oldest plant ever to be rejuvenated, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds.
Chemists at The University of Texas at Austin have created a molecule that's so good at tangling itself inside the double helix of a DNA sequence that it can stay there for up to 16 days before the DNA liberates itself, much longer than any other molecule reported. The invention could be the basis for drugs that target rogue DNA directly.
At the most basic level, the immune system must distinguish self from non-self. But the system is far from foolproof and cancer exploits its weaknesses. In a new study a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute examines how CD8 T cells—critical weapons in the body's defensive arsenal—are regulated when they transition from a "tolerant" state to an defensive state and back.
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new method for creating scaffolds for tissue engineering applications, providing an alternative that is more flexible and less time-intensive than current technology.