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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 118

Aug 11, 2016

Scientists Argue the US Ban on Human Gene Editing Will Leave It Behind

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

As the biotech revolution accelerates globally, the US could be getting left behind on key technological advances: namely, human genetic modification.

A Congressional ban on human germline modification has “drawn new lines in the sand” on gene editing legislation, argues a paper published today in Science by Harvard law and bioethics professor I. Glenn Cohen and leading biologist Eli Adashi of Brown University. They say that without a course correction, “the United States is ceding its leadership in this arena to other nations.”

Germline gene modification is the act of making heritable changes to early stage human embryos or sex cells that can be passed down to the next generation, and it will be banned in the US. This is different from somatic gene editing, which is editing cells of humans that have already been born.

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Aug 11, 2016

Why China is likely to spearhead the future of genetic enhancement

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

G. Owen Schaefer, National University of Singapore

Would you want to alter your future children’s genes to make them smarter, stronger or better-looking? As the state of the science brings prospects like these closer to reality, an international debate has been raging over the ethics of enhancing human capacities with biotechnologies such as so-called smart pills, brain implants and gene editing. This discussion has only intensified in the past year with the advent of the CRISPR-cas9 gene editing tool, which raises the specter of tinkering with our DNA to improve traits like intelligence, athleticism and even moral reasoning.

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Aug 10, 2016

Chemical Switch Engineered into a Light-Driven Proton Pump

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, physics

Synthetic biology is an emerging and rapidly evolving engineering discipline. Within the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering, Scientists from Bernese have developed a version of the light-driven proton pump proteorhodopsin, which is chemically switchable and it is also an essential tool to efficiently power synthetic cells and molecular factories.

Synthetic biology is a highly complex field with numerous knowledge branches that incorporate physics, biology, and chemistry into engineering. It aims to design synthetic cells and molecular factories with innovative functions or properties that can be applied in medical and biological research or healthcare, industry research.

These artificial systems are available in the nanometer scale and are developed by assembling and combining current, synthetic or engineered building blocks (e.g., proteins). Molecular systems are applicable for a wide range of applications, for instance these systems can be used for waste disposal, medical treatment or diagnosis, energy supply and chemical compound synthesis.

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Aug 10, 2016

Why Humans Should Be Genetically Engineering Their Children Now

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

Hmmm.


With the advent of CRISPR genetic engineering technology, humanity is on the cusp of an evolutionary revolution. We now possess the technology to modify our own genetic code (DNA). In a few more years, it will become more reliable, less expensive, and more available.

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Aug 8, 2016

China may be the future of genetic enhancement

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

Indeed, if we set ethical and safety objections aside, genetic enhancement has the potential to bring about significant national advantages. Even marginal increases in intelligence via gene editing could have significant effects on a nation’s economic growth. Certain genes could give some athletes an edge in intense international competitions. Other genes may have an effect on violent tendencies, suggesting genetic engineering could reduce crime rates.


We may soon be able to edit people’s DNA to cure diseases like cancer, but will this lead to designer babies? If so, bioethicist G Owen Schaefer argues that China will lead the way.

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Aug 5, 2016

Removing Senescent Cells from the Lungs of Old Mice Improves Pulmonary Function and Reduces Age-Related Loss of Tissue Elasticity

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

More progress with senolytics for treating age related diseases and further vindication for the SENS approach to aging.


The open access paper linked below provides another reason to be optimistic about the therapies to clear senescent cells from old tissues that are presently under development. Here, the researchers created genetically engineered mice in which they could selectively trigger senescent cell death in lung tissues. In older mice, the result was improved pulmonary function, and other improvements in the state of lung tissue — turning back the clock on some of the detrimental age-related changes that take place in the lungs.

Cells become senescent in response to damage or environmental toxicity, or at the end of their replicative lifespan, or to assist in wound healing. The vast majority either destroy themselves or are destroyed by the immune system, but a few manage to linger on. Those few grow in numbers over the years, and more so once the immune system begins to decline and falter in its duties. Ever more senescent cells accumulate in tissues with advancing age, and they secrete a mix of signals that can encourage other cells to become senescent, increase inflammation, and destructively remodel nearby tissue structures. In small numbers senescent cells can help to resist cancer or assist healing, but in large numbers they contribute meaningfully to all of the symptoms and conditions of old age. They are one of the root causes of aging.

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Aug 4, 2016

How Scientists Plan to Grow Cities Out of Living Organisms

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, education, environmental, robotics/AI, space travel

Imagine a future where there is no need to cut down a tree and and reshape that raw material into a chair or table. Instead, we could grow our furniture by custom-engineering moss or mushrooms. Perhaps glowing bacteria will light our cities, and we’ll be able to bring back extinct species, or wipe out Lyme disease—or maybe even terraform Mars. Synthetic biology could help us accomplish all that, and more.

That’s the message of the latest video in a new mini-documentary Web series called Explorations, focusing on potentially transformative areas of scientific research: genomics, artificial intelligence, neurobiology, transportation, space exploration, and synthetic biology. It’s a passion project of entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, founder of OS Fund and the payments processing company Braintree.

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Aug 4, 2016

New microfluidic chip replicates muscle-nerve connection

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

MIT engineers have developed a microfluidic device that replicates the neuromuscular junction—the vital connection where nerve meets muscle. The device, about the size of a U.S. quarter, contains a single muscle strip and a small set of motor neurons. Researchers can influence and observe the interactions between the two, within a realistic, three-dimensional matrix.

The researchers genetically modified the neurons in the device to respond to light. By shining light directly on the neurons, they can precisely stimulate these cells, which in turn send signals to excite the muscle fiber. The researchers also measured the force the muscle exerts within the device as it twitches or contracts in response.

The team’s results, published online today in Science Advances, may help scientists understand and identify drugs to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as other neuromuscular-related conditions.

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Aug 3, 2016

New “Neural Dust” sensor could be implanted in the body

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, neuroscience

Engenheiros da University of California, Berkeley construíram os primeiros, sensores sem fio do tamanho de poeira que podem ser implantados no organismo, trazendo mais perto o dia em que um dispositivo Fitbit poderia monitorar os nervos internos, músculos ou órgãos em tempo real.

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Aug 3, 2016

Universal cancer vaccine on horizon after genetic breakthrough

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

A universal cancer vaccine is on the horizon after scientists discovered how to rewire immune cells to fight any type of disease.

The potential new therapy involves injecting tiny particles of genetic code into the body which travel to the immune cells and teach them to recognise specific cancers.

Although scientists have shown previously that is it is possible to engineer immune cells outside the body so they can spot cancer it is the first time it has happened inside cells.

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