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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 116

Jan 19, 2017

Equipping Insects for Special Service

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, drones

Draper combines navigation and neuromodulation to guide insects

CAMBRIDGE, MA – The smallest aerial drones mimic insects in many ways, but none can match the efficiency and maneuverability of the dragonfly. Now, engineers at Draper are creating a new kind of hybrid drone by combining miniaturized navigation, synthetic biology and neurotechnology to guide dragonfly insects. The system looks like a backpack for a dragonfly.

DragonflEye, an internal research and development project at Draper, is already showing promise as a way to guide the flightpath of dragonflies. Potential applications of the technologies underpinning DragonflEye include guided pollination, payload delivery, reconnaissance and even precision medicine and diagnostics.

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Jan 19, 2017

Will synthetic biology help us to eliminate age-related diseases?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, genetics, health, life extension

A quick look at synthetic biology and its potential for health and treating age-related diseases.


All living organisms contain an instruction set that determines what they look like and what they do. These instructions are encoded in the organism’s DNA within every cell, this is an organism’s genetic code (or “genome”).

Mankind has been altering the genetic code of plants and animals for thousands of years, by selectively breeding individuals with desired features. Over time we have become experts at viewing and manipulating this code, and we can now take genetic information associated with the desired features from one organism, and add it into another one. This is the basis of genetic engineering, which has allowed us to speed up the process of developing new breeds of plants and animals.

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Jan 19, 2017

Manufacturing could be revolutionized by synthetic biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing

The emerging discipline of synthetic biology sits at the crux of the intersection between design, biology, computing and manufacturing…[I]t appears more and more probable that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift, where…biology is adopted as the next big manufacturing technology.

[The objective of Ginkgo Bioworks, an “organism design” company,] is to take synthetic biology techniques to an industrial level, machine-injecting DNA sequences into baker’s yeast creating “living organism” products like perfumes, sweeteners, cosmetics and other things that are typically extracted from plants.

There are two main potential benefits from the technology. Replacing consumption of finite natural resources with lab-grown alternatives, and the potential to replicate actual genes to produce authentic fragrances replacing chemical synthetic scented products that currently dominate the marketplace.

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Jan 19, 2017

ExxonMobil extends algae biofuels research using synthetic biology technologies

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, genetics, sustainability, transportation

After making significant progress in understanding algae genetics, growth characteristics and increasing oil production, Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil said they would extended their joint research agreement into advanced algae biofuels.

The two companies have been researching and developing oil from algae for use as a renewable, lower-emission alternative to traditional transportation fuels since 2009. They are seeking to develop strains of algae that demonstrate significantly improved photosynthetic efficiency and oil production through selection and genetic engineering of higher-performance algae strains.

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Jan 17, 2017

Epigenetics Drives Pancreatic Cancer Metastasis, Potentially Reversible

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

Epigenetic changes, not DNA mutations, drive some metastasis.

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Jan 17, 2017

Twist Bioscience Supplying 3.2kB Genes to Ginkgo Bioworks

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

— longer synthetic DNA accelerates customer discoveries —

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – January 10, 2017 – Twist Bioscience, a company accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis on silicon, today announced that it is now shipping genes up to 3,200 base pairs (3.2 kilobase or kB) in length to Ginkgo Bioworks under their existing supply agreement.

“Twist Bioscience continues to deliver record volumes of the highest-quality DNA to advance our organism engineering efforts, meeting or exceeding our aggressive timelines,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. “With the availability of synthetic genes up to 3.2kB from Twist, we are able to expedite the rapid prototyping of organism designs to generate cosmetics, nutritional ingredients, flavors, fragrances and other important ingredients.”

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Jan 17, 2017

Printing Guns, Drugs, and DNA Weapons: Organized Crime Is Being Decentralized

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, biotech/medical

Every time there’s a new technology, criminals immediately take advantage of it, explains Steven Kotler. It’s only a matter of time before they find new, nefarious uses for 3D printing and synthetic biology.

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Jan 16, 2017

Flatworms lose their heads but not their memories

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

(Phys.org) —Tufts University biologists using new, automated training and testing techniques have found that planarian flatworms store memory outside their brains and, if their heads are removed, can apparently imprint these memories on their new brains during regeneration.

The work, published online in the Journal of Experimental Biology, can help unlock the secrets of how memories can be encoded in living tissues, noted Michael Levin, Ph.D., Vannevar Bush professor of biology at Tufts and senior author on the paper.

“As and biomedicine advance, there’s a great need to better understand the dynamics of memory and the brain-body interface. For example, what will happen to stored memory if we replace big portions of aging brains with the progeny of fresh ?” said Levin, who directs the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Tufts’ School of Arts and Sciences.

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Jan 12, 2017

Synthetic Stem Cells Could Offer Therapeutic Benefits, Reduced Risks

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

Researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University have developed a synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell. These synthetic stem cells offer therapeutic benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells and could reduce some of the risks associated with stem cell therapies. Additionally, these cells have better preservation stability and the technology is generalizable to other types of stem cells.

Stem cell therapies work by promoting endogenous repair; that is, they aid damaged tissue in repairing itself by secreting “paracrine factors,” including proteins and genetic materials. While stem cell therapies can be effective, they are also associated with some risks of both tumor growth and immune rejection. Also, the cells themselves are very fragile, requiring careful storage and a multi-step process of typing and characterization before they can be used.

Ke Cheng, associate professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State, associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC, and adjunct associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, led a team in developing the synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell that could be used in off-the-shelf applications.

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Jan 11, 2017

After Genetic Tweaks, Fruit Flies Glow When They Sense Cancer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

The genetically engineered _Drosophila melanogaster _can even signal for different types of breast cancer cells.

University of Konstanz.

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