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Nov 2, 2016

Chemists create clusters of organelles

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, nanotechnology

Scientists from the University of Basel have succeeded in organizing spherical compartments into clusters mimicking the way natural organelles would create complex structures. They managed to connect the synthetic compartments by creating bridges made of DNA between them. This represents an important step towards the realization of so-called molecular factories. The journal Nano Letters has published their results.

Within a cell there are specialized compartments called organelles, as for example nucleus, mitochondria, peroxisomes and vacuoles that are responsible for specific functions of the cell. Almost all sophisticated biological functions of cells are realized by self-organization, a process by which molecules adopt a defined arrangement based on their specific conformations and properties, without outside guidance.

Using self-organization of nano-objects into complex architectures is a major strategy to produce new materials with improved properties or functionalities in fields such as chemistry, electronics and technology. For example, this strategy has already been applied to create networks of inorganic solid nanoparticles. However, so far, these networks were not able to mimic sophisticated structures that have biological functions within the cells and thus have potential application in medicine or biology.

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Nov 2, 2016

Synthetic Virus Created to Treat Cancer in Dogs

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

2 November 2016. Two companies partnering with Auburn University developed a synthetic virus to find and destroy tumor cells in a type of bone cancer in dogs. Financial and intellectual property aspects of the agreement between synthetic gene company Gen9 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, design systems developer Autodesk Inc. in San Rafael, California, and Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama were not disclosed.

The research team created a synthetic version of canine adenovirus type 2, or CAV2, a virus usually associated with hepatitis in dogs. In this case, the synthetic CAV-2 virus is designed as an oncolytic virus that finds and attacks cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells and tissue intact. The genome in the organism is believed to be the longest in a functional virus synthesized for cancer research, with about 34,000 base pairs of nucleic acids. The human genome, by comparison, has about 3 billion base pairs.

The technology provided by Gen9 in this project makes it possible to eventually produce synthetic therapeutic viruses tailored for specific patients. Gen9 offers customized gene synthesis and is developing a library of synthesized proteins and antibodies. One of the 4 year-old company’s founders is George Church, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School and serial entrepreneur. In August 2016, as reported in Science & Enterprise, Church and colleagues, including those from Gen9, developed a synthetic E. coli bacteria genome with redundant DNA components removed.

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Nov 2, 2016

Inside the Garage Labs of DIY Gene Hackers

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics

When the future of genetic engineering arrived on Sebastian Cocioba’s doorstep, it was affixed to the back of a postcard from Austria with a little bit of packing tape.

Cocioba is a 25-year-old college dropout whose primary interest is tinkering with plant genetics in a lab he cobbled together from eBay. The lab is located in the spare bedroom of his parent’s lavish apartment in Long Island City, across the river from Manhattan. A few months ago, an internet friend from an online bio-hacking forum had sent him the lab’s latest addition: attached to that postcard was Crispr-Cas9.

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Nov 2, 2016

Transhumanist Zoltan Istvan: Formula 1 is Future of Human Sports

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, transhumanism

Inverse doing a recap from my AMA on Reddit’s Futurology. My AMA is going on for about another 15 hours, so if you have a question, please chime in there: and here’s the AMA:…manist_us/ #transhumanism #AMA #ScienceCandidate #Election2016

The U.S. presidential candidate has shared some of his future goals ahead of voting day.

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Nov 2, 2016

A Supercomputer Just Solved A Big Mystery Behind Dark Matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, supercomputing

We now know the mass of an axion, which means we might be able to prove dark matter does indeed exist.

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Nov 2, 2016

Engineering Viruses to Kill Cancer Cells, Canada-Based Turnstone Raises $41.4M

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical

Scientists have been working for decades on engineered viruses that can hunt down and get inside cancer cells, cause them to burst and spur the immune system to mop up whatever malignant cells might be left behind. Only one such treatment has successfully become an FDA-approved cancer treatment.

That one drug, from Amgen, isn’t selling much. But that small victory a year ago has emboldened others to go forward with their own ideas to advance this approach to cancer therapy, known as oncolytic virus therapy.

One of the aspiring players in the oncolytic virus field, Ottawa, Canada-based Turnstone Biologics, is announcing today it has raised $41.4 million in a Series B venture financing. The round was led by OrbiMed Advisors, and included F-Prime Capital Partners and a couple of existing investors, FACIT and Versant Ventures. The new money will add on to the $11.3 million Series A round from a year ago.

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Nov 2, 2016

Scientists Hook Up Brain to Tablet—Paralyzed Woman Googles With Ease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

From time to time, the Singularity Hub editorial team unearths a gem from the archives and wants to share it all over again. It’s usually a piece that was popular back then and we think is still relevant now. This is one of those articles. It was originally published October 25th, 2015. We hope you enjoy it!

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Nov 2, 2016

Why the World Is Better Than You Think in 10 Powerful Charts

Posted by in categories: Peter Diamandis, singularity

It’s the most exciting time to be alive, and thanks to tech, it’s only getting better.

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Nov 2, 2016

A technology that can bring dead back to life might be a reality soon

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

Researchers plan to bring dead to life by freezing their brains and then resurrecting them with artificial intelligence.

Bringing the dead back to life is futuristic and final frontier of science and Humai is working on just that. Humai is a technology company based in Los Angeles and is working on a project known as “Atom & Eve” that would let human consciousness be transferred to an artificial body after their death.

The artificial intelligence company has said it can resurrect human beings within the next 30 years. The “conversational styles, [behavioural]patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out” would be stored on a silicon chip through AI and nanotechnology.

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Nov 2, 2016

A Computer Can Now Translate Languages as Well as a Human

Posted by in categories: computing, robotics/AI

Have you ever been in a situation where knowing another language would have come in handy?

I remember standing on the platform at Tokyo Station watching my train to Nagano — the last train of the day — pulling away without me on it. What ensued was a frustrating hour of gestures, confused smiles, and head-shaking as I wandered the station looking for someone who spoke English (my Japanese is unfortunately nonexistent). It would have been really helpful to have a bilingual pal along with me to translate.

Bilingual pals can be hard to find, but Google’s new translation software may be an equally useful alternative. In a paper released last week, the authors noted that Google’s Neural Machine Translation system (GNMT) reduced translation errors by an average of 60% compared to Google’s phrase-based system. GMNT uses deep learning, a technology that aims to ‘think’ in the same way as a human brain.

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