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Feb 2, 2017

How breaks in DNA are repaired

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

Interesting read especially as we look at various areas including synbio and super humans.


The results are significant for gene therapy procedures and for our understanding of cell transformation. A team of researchers from the biology department at TU Darmstadt has discovered that the processes for repairing DNA damage are far more complex than previously assumed. The ends of breaks in the double helix are not just joined, they are first changed in a meticulously choreographed process so that the original genetic information can be restored. The results have now been published in the research journal Molecular Cell.

DNA, the carrier of our genetic information, is exposed to continual damage. In the most serious damage of all, the DNA double-strand break, both strands of the double helix are broken and the helix is divided in two. If breaks like this are not efficiently repaired by the cell, important genetic information is lost. This is often accompanied by the death of the cell, or leads to permanent genetic changes and cell transformation. Over the course of evolution, ways to repair this DNA damage have developed, in which many enzymes work together to restore the genetic information with the maximum possible precision.

As it stands today, there are two main ways of repairing DNA double-strand breaks, which differ greatly in terms of their precision and complexity. The apparently simpler method, so-called non-homologous end joining, joins together the break ends as quickly as possible, without placing particular importance on accurately restoring the damaged genetic information. The second method of repair, homologous recombination, on the other hand, uses the exactly identical information present on a sister copy to repair the damaged DNA with great precision. However, such sister copies are only present in dividing cells, as the genetic information has to be duplicated before the cells divide. But most cells in the human body do not undergo division, which therefore assigns them to the apparently more inaccurate method of end joining.

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Feb 2, 2017

Viral protein transforms as it measures out DNA

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

To generate swarms of new viral particles, a virus hijacks a cell into producing masses of self-assembling cages that are then loaded with the genetic blueprint for the next infection. But the picture of how that DNA is loaded into those viral cages, or capsids, was blurry, especially for two of the most common types of DNA virus on earth, bacterial viruses and human herpesvirus. Jefferson researchers pieced together the three-dimensional atomic structure of a doughnut-shaped protein that acts like a door or ‘portal’ for the DNA to get in and out of the capsid, and have now discovered that this protein begins to transform its structure when it comes into contact with DNA. Their work published in Nature Communications.

“Researchers thought that the portal protein acts as an inert passageway for DNA,” says senior author Gino Cingolani, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and researcher at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. “We have shown that the portal is much more like a sensor that essentially helps measure out an appropriate length of DNA for each capsid particle, ensuring faithful production of new viral particles.”

The finding solves a longstanding puzzle in the field, and reveals a potential drug target for one of the most common human viral pathogens, herpesviruses, which is responsible for diseases such as chicken pox, mononucleosis, lymphomas and Kaposi sarcoma.

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Feb 2, 2017

Researchers identified 83 new DNA changes for human height

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

An international team of researchers has identified 83 new DNA changes that strongly determine human height as well as also help predict a person’s risk of developing certain growth disorders.

Height is mostly determined by the information encoded in the human DNA — children from tall parents tend to be taller and those from short parents are shorter.

“Of these 83 genetic variations, some influence adult height by more than 2 cm, which is enormous,” said Guillaume Lettre, Professor at Montreal Heart Institute in Canada.

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Feb 2, 2017

Stunning scientific breakthrough allows DNA “rebirth” of animals from long-dead, partially decomposed tissue samples

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Ray Kurzweil

Bring to life those old biology and museum specimens back to life. Sort of.

Let’s see Ray Kurzweils prediction of bringing people back from the dead may not be that too far off with this recent discovery. BTW — he may be interested in this one.


(Natural News) Rare animals have been sitting in glass jars on museum shelves across the world for decades, but very little is often known about these specimens. And many people would say that is exactly where they belong: on a shelf, as an object of the past simply to be remembered and admired from afar.

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Feb 2, 2017

The next step in nanotechnology

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology

Nearly every other year the transistors that power silicon computer chip shrink in size by half and double in performance, enabling our devices to become more mobile and accessible. But what happens when these components can’t get any smaller? George Tulevski researches the unseen and untapped world of nanomaterials. His current work: developing chemical processes to compel billions of carbon nanotubes to assemble themselves into the patterns needed to build circuits, much the same way natural organisms build intricate, diverse and elegant structures. Could they hold the secret to the next generation of computing?

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate

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Feb 2, 2017

Cleaning up quantum devices

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Latest update on the NPL Research on how to have cleaner Quantum Devices.


A paper, based on NPL collaborative research, has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters The work paves the way for the identification and elimination of small amounts of surface defects whose presence on the surfaces of solid state quantum devices is detrimental to their performance.

The research was the result of a fruitful collaboration between NPL’s Quantum Detection Group, the Quantum Device Physics Laboratory at Chalmers University of Technology and the Institute of Chemical Physics at the University of Latvia.

Artistic impression of noise in quantum circuits

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Feb 2, 2017

Researchers Use Crystal Sensor to Study Crucial Cell Behavior

Posted by in categories: health, quantum physics

I had to take a second review of this since I posted it, and right away I see something quite interesting that folks have overlooked for a while. Will keep you posted.


Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have built a new tool to monitor the way cells attach to an adjoining substrate under a microscope.

Analyzing adhesion events can help researchers to understand the way diseases spread, tissues grow, and stem cells differentiate into many specific cell types. The technique provides high-resolution images that can monitor the interactions of cells across longer time periods than previously possible.

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Feb 2, 2017

Solar Power Has Officially Become the Cheapest Source for New Energy

Posted by in categories: finance, solar power, sustainability

When it comes to obtaining new energy, solar energy now costs less than fossil fuels, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) also show decreased prices, with the mean price of solar power in about 60 countries dropping to $1.65 million per megawatt, closely followed by wind at $1.66 million per megawatt.

Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum, found the downturn in prices to be an encouraging sign.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point—it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming. Solar and wind have just become very competitive, and costs continue to fall. It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

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Feb 2, 2017

Quantum Encryption Just Took One More Step Toward Beating Hackers

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, encryption, quantum physics

Nice read on QC cryptography.


Between Russian hackers and insecure email servers, this past election has proved that cyber security is going to be extremely important moving forward. But with the advent of quantum computers, it’s only going to become harder to keep data safe from those with the motive and the right tools. Fortunately, scientists believe they may have found a solution within the same principles that guide quantum computing: quantum encryption.

To fully understand the scope of what quantum computers can do, it’s important to realize that it might take current, non-quantum computers longer than the total age of the universe to crack certain encryptions. But, as grad student Chris Pugh explained in a recent interview with Wired, quantum computers might be able to crack the same codes in “a matter of hours or days”.

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Feb 2, 2017

Superdense-coded logo of an oak leaf sets new record for transfer rate over optic cable

Posted by in category: futurism

Nice job ORNL and DoE.


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