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Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 2

Oct 3, 2020

Synthetic biology brings the hard science of engineering to the basics of life

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, computing, science

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.

What’s happening: SynBioBeta, synthetic biology’s major commercial conference, launched on Tuesday, virtually bringing together thousands of scientists, entrepreneurs, VCs and more to discuss the state of the field.

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Sep 29, 2020

New Genetic Systems Created by Biologists to Neutralize Gene Drives

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

Two active genetics strategies help address concerns about gene-drive releases into the wild.

In the past decade, researchers have engineered an array of new tools that control the balance of genetic inheritance. Based on CRISPR technology, such gene drives are poised to move from the laboratory into the wild where they are being engineered to suppress devastating diseases such as mosquito-borne malaria, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever and West Nile. Gene drives carry the power to immunize mosquitoes against malarial parasites, or act as genetic insecticides that reduce mosquito populations.

Although the newest gene drives have been proven to spread efficiently as designed in laboratory settings, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of releasing such systems into wild populations. Questions have emerged about the predictability and controllability of gene drives and whether, once let loose, they can be recalled in the field if they spread beyond their intended application region.

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Sep 27, 2020

Harvard Professor Wants to Slow Down & Reverse Aging: David Sinclair’s Approach For a Longer Life

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, information science, life extension, robotics/AI

David Sinclair wants to slow down and ultimately reverse aging. Sinclair sees aging as a disease and he is convinced aging is caused by epigenetic changes, abnormalities that occur when the body’s cells process extra or missing pieces of DNA. This results in the loss of the information that keeps our cells healthy. This information also tells the cells which genes to read. David Sinclair’s book: “Lifespan, why we age and why we don’t have to”, he describes the results of his research, theories and scientific philosophy as well as the potential consequences of the significant progress in genetic technologies.

At present, researchers are only just beginning to understand the biological basis of aging even in relatively simple and short-lived organisms such as yeast. Sinclair however, makes a convincing argument for why the life-extension technologies will eventually offer possibilities of life prolongation using genetic engineering.

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Sep 18, 2020

Engineering Living Organisms Could Be the World’s Biggest Industry

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Wouldn’t it be better to have a creature, something furry and warm that had the ability to produce perfect breast milk? A non-sentient, biological organism that has been engineered to produce milk nutritionally equivalent to mother’s milk? A milk Tribble? That type of technology would be awesome for babies.

Karl Schmieder: Is there a biological technology that you wished you had?

Andrew Hessel: I want the enzymatic DNA synthesizer that will be at least a thousand times better than what we have today. Next-generation sequencing technology massively accelerated our ability to read DNA. An enzymatic DNA synthesizer could be the equivalent accelerator for engineered biology. If you can synthesize DNA faster, then you can conduct more experiments and learn faster. That’s what I’d like to see. More people programming life.

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Sep 18, 2020

Biologists create new genetic systems to neutralize gene drives

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

In the past decade, researchers have engineered an array of new tools that control the balance of genetic inheritance. Based on CRISPR technology, such gene drives are poised to move from the laboratory into the wild where they are being engineered to suppress devastating diseases such as mosquito-borne malaria, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever and West Nile. Gene drives carry the power to immunize mosquitoes against malarial parasites, or act as genetic insecticides that reduce mosquito populations.

Although the newest gene drives have been proven to spread efficiently as designed in laboratory settings, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of releasing such systems into wild populations. Questions have emerged about the predictability and controllability of gene drives and whether, once let loose, they can be recalled in the field if they spread beyond their intended application region.

Now, scientists at the University of California San Diego and their colleagues have developed two new active genetic systems that address such risks by halting or eliminating gene drives in the wild. On Sept.18, 2020 in the journal Molecular Cell, research led by Xiang-Ru Xu, Emily Bulger and Valentino Gantz in the Division of Biological Sciences offers two new solutions based on elements developed in the common fruit fly.

Sep 15, 2020

Twist on CRISPR Gene Editing Treats Adult-Onset Muscular Dystrophy in Mice

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

Myotonic dystrophy type I is the most common type of adult-onset muscular dystrophy. People with the condition inherit repeated DNA segments that lead to the toxic buildup of repetitive RNA, the messenger that carries a gene’s recipe to the cell’s protein-making machinery. As a result, people born with myotonic dystrophy experience progressive muscle wasting and weakness and a wide variety of other debilitating symptoms.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technique increasingly used in efforts to correct the genetic (DNA) defects that cause a variety of diseases. A few years ago, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers redirected the technique to instead modify RNA in a method they call RNA-targeting Cas9 (RCas9).

In a new study, publishing September 14, 2020 in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team demonstrates that one dose of RCas9 gene therapy can chew up toxic RNA and almost completely reverse symptoms in a mouse model of myotonic dystrophy.

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Sep 11, 2020

Cryogenic 3D Printing Improves Bioprinting for Bone Regeneration

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, bioengineering, bioprinting, nanotechnology

Researchers from China continue in the quest to improve methods for bone regeneration, publishing their findings in “Cryogenic 3D printing of dual-delivery scaffolds for improved bone regeneration with enhanced vascularization.”

A wide range of projects have emerged regarding new techniques for bone regeneration—especially in the last five years as 3D printing has become more entrenched in the mainstream and bioprinting has continued to evolve. Bone regeneration is consistently challenging, and while bioprinting is still relatively new as a field, much impressive progress has been made due to experimentation with new materials, nanotubes, and innovative structures.

Cell viability is usually the biggest problem. Tissue engineering, while becoming much more successful these days, is still an extremely delicate process as cells must not only be grown but sustained in the lab too. For this reason, scientists are always working to improve structures like scaffolds, as they are responsible in most cases for supporting the cells being printed. In this study, the authors emphasize the need for both “excellent osteogenesis and vascularization” in bone regeneration.

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Sep 9, 2020

Unity in Knowledge: From Ethics and Islam to Exponential Technology and Robotics

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, ethics, mathematics, physics, robotics/AI, transhumanism

Discussing STEM, the future, and transhumanism with an islamic scholar / scientist.


Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador interviews Imam Sheikh Dr. Usama Hasan, PhD, MSc, MA, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Research Consultant at the Tony Blair Institute For Global Change.

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Sep 4, 2020

Vision-free MIT Cheetah

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, mathematics, physics, robotics/AI

MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot can now leap and gallop across rough terrain, climb a staircase littered with debris, and quickly recover its balance when suddenly yanked or shoved, all while essentially blind.

Watch more videos from MIT: https://www.youtube.com/user/MITNewsOffice?sub_confirmation=1

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Sep 3, 2020

Quest to colonize space demands boost from biotechnology, synthetic biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, space travel

Over the last 12,000 years or so, human civilization has noticeably reshaped the Earth’s surface. But changes on our own planet will likely pale in comparison when humans settle on other celestial bodies. While many of the changes on Earth over the centuries have been related to food production, by way of agriculture, changes on other worlds will result, not only from the need for on-site production of food, but also for all other consumables, including air.

As vital as synthetic biology will be to the early piloted missions to Mars and voyages of exploration, it will become indispensable to establish a long-term human presence off-Earth, namely colonization. That’s because we’ve evolved over billions of years to thrive specifically in the environments provided by our home planet.

Our physiology is well-suited to Earth’s gravity and its oxygen-rich atmosphere. We also depend on Earth’s global magnetic field to shield us from intense space radiation in the form of charged particles. In comparison, Mars has only patches of localized magnetism, thought to be remnants of a global magnetic field in the distant past. Currently, the Red Planet has no global magnetic field that could trap particle radiation from interplanetary space. Also, the Martian atmosphere is so thin that any shielding against space radiation of any kind is minor compared with the protection that Earth’s atmosphere affords. At the Martian surface, atmospheric pressure never gets above 7 millibars. That’s like Earth at an altitude of about 27,000 m (89,000 ft), which is almost the edge of space. And while the moon’s proximity to Earth could make it a better location than Mars for the first off-world colony, the lunar radiation environment is similar to that of Mars.

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