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Aug 13, 2016

Second layer of information in DNA confirmed

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

Leiden theoretical physicists have proven that DNA mechanics, in addition to genetic information in DNA, determines who we are. Helmut Schiessel and his group simulated many DNA sequences and found a correlation between mechanical cues and the way DNA is folded. They have published their results in PLoS One.

When James Watson and Francis Crick identified the structure of DNA molecules in 1953, they revealed that DNA information determines who we are. The sequence of the letters G, A, T and C in the famous double helix determines what proteins are made ny our cells. If you have brown eyes, for example, this is because a series of letters in your DNA encodes for proteins that build brown eyes. Each cell contains the exact same letter sequence, and yet every organ behaves differently. How is this possible?

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Aug 13, 2016

Scientists are closing in on turning hydrogen into a metal

Posted by in category: materials

Metallic hydrogen could be the room temperature superconductor we’ve been waiting for.

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Aug 13, 2016

Directly reprogramming a cell’s identity with gene editing

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

Researchers have used CRISPR—a revolutionary new genetic engineering technique—to convert cells isolated from mouse connective tissue directly into neuronal cells.

In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences at Kyoto University at the time, discovered how to revert adult , called fibroblasts, back into immature stem cells that could differentiate into any cell type. These so-called induced won Yamanaka the Nobel Prize in medicine just six years later for their promise in research and medicine.

Since then, researchers have discovered other ways to convert cells between different types. This is mostly done by introducing many of “master switch” genes that produce proteins that turn on entire genetic networks responsible for producing a particular cell type.

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Aug 13, 2016

Synesthesia: How Neurons Can Let You Physically Feel What Others Experience

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Mirror neurons allow individuals to, in essence, feel what others are experiencing. These neurons fire when an individual experiences something and when they observe the same or similar act happen to another.

Synesthesia, a neurological trait with more than 80 forms and growing numbers of people who recognize it in themselves, is mostly associated with famous creatives who have possessed it–from Pharrell Williams to David Hockney and from Mary J. Blige to Marilyn Monroe.

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Aug 13, 2016

Why I prefer science fiction to general literature

Posted by in category: futurism

Marvin Minsky talks about his love of science fiction.

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Aug 13, 2016

‘Connected’ ink: Temporary tech tattoos transform skin into user interfaces (VIDEO)

Posted by in category: futurism

Temporary tattoos are getting the high tech treatment with a new product that transforms them into multifunctional on-skin user interfaces.

DuoSkin, created at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab in partnership with Microsoft Research, allows people to control their mobile devices, display information, and store data all while looking stylish with a metallic like tattoo on their skin.

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Aug 13, 2016

Cubesat | MarCO

Posted by in category: space travel

Mars Cube One (MarCO) Mission Overview Engineers for NASA’s MarCO technology demonstration check out a full-scale mechanical mock-up of the small craft in development as part of NASA’s next mission to Mars. Mechanical engineer Joel Steinkraus and systems engineer Farah Alibay are on the team at NASA…

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Aug 13, 2016

How Nanotech Will Lead to a Better Future for Us All

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

How do we gain the immense benefits of advanced nanotechnology while avoiding its potential misuse?

This was Christine Peterson’s big question when she co-founded the Foresight Institute, a non-profit think tank focused on nanotechnology, three decades ago. And she says it’s still her guiding focus today.

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Aug 13, 2016

Meet the Reactors Accelerating Us Toward Fusion Energy

Posted by in categories: humor, nuclear energy, particle physics

The old joke about fusion is that it is 30 years from becoming a reality — and that’s been the case for the last 50 years or more. It’s a joke that may quickly be reaching its sell-by date.

And a good thing too. The promise of fusion is near-unlimited energy that produces almost no waste.

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Aug 13, 2016

Self-healing textiles not only repair themselves, but can neutralize chemicals

Posted by in categories: biological, materials

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field and factory workers from accidental releases of toxic materials, according to a team of researchers.

“Fashion designers use natural fibers made of proteins like wool or silk that are expensive and they are not self-healing,” said Melik C. Demire l, professor of engineering science and mechanics. “We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles. So we came up with this coating technology.”

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