Archive for the ‘bioengineering’ category: Page 159

Dec 31, 2016

Genetic researchers discover ‘stop’ button for CRISPR gene editing tool

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

Researchers have discovered a technique that could block the effects of a powerful gene-editing tool to protect adjacent genes against accidental alteration. The breakthrough could be the beginning of a major step forward for genetic engineering.

Scientists at the University of California (UC) in San Francisco researchers have discovered how to switch off the effects of the CRISPR gene editing system. CRISPR has been a major advance for gene editing, but there are difficulties in limiting its effects on adjacent genes. So far this has militated against its use in research, most obviously, into the human genome.

Read more

Dec 30, 2016

The Ethics of Synthetic Biology

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, ethics, law

Nice article raising old concerns and debates on ethics. Synbio like any technology or science can in the wrong hands be used to do anything destructive. Placing standards and laws on such technologies truly does get the law abiding researchers, labs and companies aligned and sadly restricted. However, it does not prevent an ISIS, or the black market, or any other criminal with money from trying to meet an intended goal. So, I do caution folks to at least step back assess and think before imposing a bunch of restrictions and laws on a technology that prevents it from helping those in need v. criminals who never follow ethics or the law.

When artists use synthetic biology, are they playing God, or just playing with cool new toys? Scientists Drew Endy and Christina Agapakis weigh in on the ethics.

Read more

Dec 29, 2016

Model‐guided combinatorial optimization of complex synthetic gene networks

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, genetics

Constructing gene circuits that satisfy quantitative performance criteria has been a long‐standing challenge in synthetic biology. Here, we show a strategy for optimizing a complex three‐gene circuit, a novel proportional miRNA biosensor, using predictive modeling to initiate a search in the phase space of sensor genetic composition. We generate a library of sensor circuits using diverse genetic building blocks in order to access favorable parameter combinations and uncover specific genetic compositions with greatly improved dynamic range. The combination of high‐throughput screening data and the data obtained from detailed mechanistic interrogation of a small number of sensors was used to validate the model. The validated model facilitated further experimentation, including biosensor reprogramming and biosensor integration into larger networks, enabling in principle arbitrary logic with miRNA inputs using normal form circuits. The study reveals how model‐guided generation of genetic diversity followed by screening and model validation can be successfully applied to optimize performance of complex gene networks without extensive prior knowledge.

Read more

Dec 27, 2016

College Students Show How Easy It Is to Use Terrifying Genetic Engineering Technology

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

The gene drive is quickly becoming one of the most controversial technologies of our time. Its possibilities are at once spectacular and alarming: by using genetic engineering to override natural selection during reproduction, a gene drive could allow scientists to alter the genetic makeup of an entire species. This could be used to eliminate diseases and protect natural habitats —but could also go horribly wrong in the wrong hands.

Read more

Dec 22, 2016

UW researcher pursues synthetic ‘scaffolds’ for muscle regeneration

Posted by in category: bioengineering

Tissue engineering for muscles.

Tissue engineering in the news again this time its creating scaffolds for muscle regeneration.

Read more

Dec 22, 2016

The UN Just Gave Scientists the Green Light to Mess With Natural Selection

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, genetics

Of all the potentially apocalyptic technologies scientists have come up with in recent years, the gene drive is easily one of the most terrifying. A gene drive is a tool that allows scientists to use genetic engineering to override natural selection during reproduction. In theory, scientists could use it to alter the genetic makeup of an entire species—or even wipe that species out. It’s not hard to imagine how a slip-up in the lab could lead to things going very, very wrong.

Read more

Dec 20, 2016

CRISPR gene editing human trials in China and US offer hope for countless lives

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

The biotech battle between China and the US has begun as we predicated when we announced the first CRISPR deployment in humans last month. The US has upped the ante and is taking a step further in the race for the biotech crown. All great news for us as the more competition the faster progress will move so let’s hope there is a fierce battle for biotech coming.

In 2015, a little girl called Layla was treated with gene-edited immune cells that eliminated all signs of the leukemia that was killing her. Layla’s treatment was a one-off, but by the end of 2017, the technique could have saved dozens of lives.

It took many years to develop the gene-editing tool that saved Layla, but thanks to a revolutionary method known as CRISPR, this can now be done in just weeks.

Continue reading “CRISPR gene editing human trials in China and US offer hope for countless lives” »

Dec 17, 2016

The disturbingly accurate brain science that identifies potential criminals while they’re still toddlers

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, health, neuroscience, science

Scientists are able to use brain tests on three-year-olds to determine which children are more likely to grow up to become criminals. It sounds like Minority Report come to life: An uncomfortable idea presenting myriad ethical concerns. But, though unnerving, the research is nuanced and could potentially be put to good use.

In the study, published in Nature Human Behavior this week, researchers led by neuroscientists at Duke University showed that those with the lowest 20% brain health results aged three went on to commit more than 80% of crimes as adults. The research used data from a New Zealand longitudinal study of more than 1,000 people from birth in the early 1970s until they reached 38 years old. This distribution, of 20% of a population accounting for 80% of an effect, is strong but not unusual. In fact, it follows the “Pareto principle.” The authors write in their paper:

In Pareto’s day, the problem definition was that 20% of families owned 80% of land in Italy. The so-called Pareto principle is alive and useful today: for example, in software engineering, 20% of the code is said to contain 80% of the errors.

Continue reading “The disturbingly accurate brain science that identifies potential criminals while they’re still toddlers” »

Dec 17, 2016

Can we engineer the end of ageing?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension

Biologist Daisy Robinton talks about engineering aging and the possibilities new technology offers.

Harvard University biologist Daisy Robinton reveals how science is helping us understand how and why we age.

Continue reading “Can we engineer the end of ageing?” »

Dec 16, 2016

CellAge – Synthetic biology meets senolytics

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension

Check out the LEAF interview with Synthetic Biology company CellAge who plan to use their technology to create aging biomarkers for the research community to use for free as well as new approaches to removing senescent cells.

CellAge are using synthetic biology to remove senescent cells that accumulate with age and contribute to disease. We took the time to interview them about their technology, treating age-related diseases and their plans for the future.

You can also check out their campaign on Lifespan.io:

Continue reading “CellAge – Synthetic biology meets senolytics” »