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Sep 1, 2016

Trauma’s epigenetic fingerprint observed in children of Holocaust survivors

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Amazing research on how PTSD can be pass down to the survivor’s offspring due to trauma altering the traumatic victim’s DNA Sequence.


Philadelphia, PA, September 1, 2016 – The children of traumatized people have long been known to be at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mood and anxiety disorders. However, according to Rachel Yehuda from the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who led a new study in Biological Psychiatry, there are very few opportunities to examine biologic alterations in the context of a watershed trauma in exposed people and their adult children born after the event.

One of the most intensively studied groups in this regard are the children of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. From the work of Yehuda and others, there has been growing evidence that concentration camp survivors and their children might show changes in the epigenetic regulation of genes.

Epigenetic processes alter the expression of a gene without producing changes in the DNA sequence. DNA methylation is one of these epigenetic modifications, which regulates genome function through processes that add or remove a methyl group to a specific site in DNA, potentially affecting gene transcription.

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Sep 1, 2016

Pharmacogenetics Informs Clinical Practice

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

I remember 4 years ago at a CIO Life Sciences Conference in AZ when one of the leaders over a research lab mention the desire to finally enable patients to share their entire DNA sequence on a thumb drive with their doctor in order to be treated properly as well as have insights on the patient’s future risks. However, limitations such as HIPAA was brought up in the discussion. Personally, with how we’re advancing things like synthetic biology which includes DNA data storage, cell circuitry, electronic tattoos, etc. thumb drive maybe too outdated.


The circle that is personalized medicine consists of more than just doctor, patient, and patient data. Other elements are in the loop, such as EHR systems that incorporate gene-drug information and updated clinical guidelines.

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Sep 1, 2016

Awaken Dormant DNA, Epigenetically

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Very interesting and extremely interesting as we do more work on synthetic DNA as well.


Epigenetics isn’t limited to studying marks on chromatin; it can also put chromatin on a hair trigger, bringing spring-loaded action to its bead-on-a-string structures, exposing disease processes to transcriptional crossfire.

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Sep 1, 2016

New optical material offers unprecedented control of light and thermal radiation

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology

Abstract: Columbia Engineers discover that samarium nickelate shows promise for active photonic devices — SmNiO3 could potentially transform optoelectronic technologies, including smart windows, infrared camouflage, and optical communications.

A team led by Nanfang Yu, assistant professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, has discovered a new phase-transition optical material and demonstrated novel devices that dynamically control light over a much broader wavelength range and with larger modulation amplitude than what has currently been possible. The team, including researchers from Purdue, Harvard, Drexel, and Brookhaven National Laboratory, found that samarium nickelate (SmNiO3) can be electrically tuned continuously between a transparent and an opaque state over an unprecedented broad range of spectrum from the blue in the visible (wavelength of 400 nm) to the thermal radiation spectrum in the mid-infrared (wavelength of a few tens of micrometers). The study, which is the first investigation of the optical properties of SmNiO3 and the first demonstration of the material in photonic device applications, is published online today in Advanced Materials.

“The performance of SmNiO3 is record-breaking in terms of the magnitude and wavelength range of optical tuning,” Yu says. “There is hardly any other material that offers such a combination of properties that are highly desirable for optoelectronic devices. The reversible tuning between the transparent and opaque states is based on electron doping at room temperature, and potentially very fast, which opens up a wide range of exciting applications, such as ‘smart windows’ for dynamic and complete control of sunlight, variable thermal emissivity coatings for infrared camouflage and radiative temperature control, optical modulators, and optical memory devices.”

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Sep 1, 2016

Keep the human in the machine – secrets of successful robotic relationships

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, robotics/AI

As mankind grows ever closer to technology, we need machines to better understand humans and arguably vice versa. This is the vital challenge for communications, tech and creativity in the 21st century – as we advance, how can we keep the human in the machine?

The pointed end of this relationship is reflected by a recent UN report that recommended “Autonomous lethal weapons systems that require no meaningful human control should be prohibited.” And anyone who is anyone – Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk for example – think AI could spell the end of the world, be that at the hand of Terminators or through some other machine instigated apocalypse.

Dystopian visions aside (for now), the reality is probably more mundane, but no less breathtaking in potential. In a recent response to the White House on AI, IBM, creators of world-beating (and magazine-editing) AI ‘Watson’ had this to say: “We believe that many of the ambiguities and inefficiencies of the critical systems that facilitate life on this planet can be eliminated. And we believe that AI systems are the tools that will help us accomplish these ambitious goals.”

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Sep 1, 2016

Technology Looks to Stop a Dirty Bomb Before It Happens

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, robotics/AI, terrorism, transportation

Using tech to stop terrorists dirty bombs.


DARPA’s SIGMA program undergoes real-world testing with state, federal and international partners to defend against radiological threats.

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Sep 1, 2016

Vint Cerf’s Outlook for the Internet He Helped Create

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, engineering, internet

Internet pioneer Vint Cerf sees a secure future for the network of networks he helped create four decades ago as the co-developer of TCP/IP, the protocol that facilitates internet communications.

“We’re much more conscious of the need to make the system more secure than it has been,” Cerf, Google’s chief internet evangelist, says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. “And there’s a lot going on in the Internet Engineering Task Force [an international community of network designers, operators, vendors and researchers] to achieve that objective. And I anticipate in the course of the next decade or so that we will actually see a lot more mechanisms in place in order to enhance security and privacy and safety.”

But if internet security isn’t improved, Cerf says, “people will decide it’s not an environment they find worthy of trust, in which case they’ll look for something else. Maybe, something will replace the internet that’s more secure than it is today.”

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Sep 1, 2016

Earth Is Outside Our Delivery Zone

Posted by in category: space

Something different.


“The real task with dealing with extraterrestrials is to know when you’ve got one.

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Sep 1, 2016

Regulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor

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

Chromatin proteins have expanded the mammalian synthetic biology toolbox by enabling control of active and silenced states at endogenous genes. Others have reported synthetic proteins that bind DNA and regulate genes by altering chromatin marks, such as histone modifications. Previously we reported the first synthetic transcriptional activator, the “Polycomb-based transcription factor” (PcTF), that reads histone modifications through a protein-protein interaction between the PCD motif and trimethylated lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3). Here, we describe the genome-wide behavior of PcTF. Transcriptome and chromatin profiling revealed PcTF-sensitive promoter regions marked by proximal PcTF and distal H3K27me3 binding. These results illuminate a mechanism in which PcTF interactions bridge epigenetic marks with the transcription initiation complex. In three cancer-derived human cell lines tested here, many PcTF-sensitive genes encode developmental regulators and tumor suppressors. Thus, PcTF represents a powerful new fusion-protein-based method for cancer research and treatment where silencing marks are translated into direct gene activation.

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Sep 1, 2016

Genetic ‘Extinction’ Technology Rejected

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, existential risks, genetics

OAHU, HAWAI’I —(ENEWSPF)–September 1, 2016. As thousands of government representatives and conservationists convene in Oahu this week for the 2016 World Conservation Congress, international conservation and environmental leaders are raising awareness about the potentially dangerous use of gene drives — a controversial new synthetic biology technology intended to deliberately cause targeted species to become extinct.

Members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including NGOs, government representatives, and scientific and academic institutions, overwhelmingly voted to adopt a de facto moratorium on supporting or endorsing research into gene drives for conservation or other purposes until the IUCN has fully assessed their impacts. News of the August 26 digital vote comes as an important open letter to the group is being delivered.

Scientists and environmental experts and organizations from around the globe have advocated for a halt to proposals for the use of gene drive technologies in conservation. Announced today, a long list of environmental leaders, including Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, genetics professor and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Fritjof Capra, entomologist Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Indian environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva and organic pioneer and biologist Nell Newman, have lent their support to the open letter: “A Call for Conservation with a Conscience: No Place for Gene Drives in Conservation.” The letter states, in part: “Gene drives, which have not been tested for unintended consequences, nor fully evaluated for ethical and social impacts, should not be promoted as conservation tools.”

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