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Biologists discover how yeast cells reverse aging

June 27, 2011

Yeast Cell

Researchers at MIT have discovered a gene called NDT80 that can double yeast lifespan when turned on late in life.

The gene is activated when yeast cell rejuvenation occurs. When they turned on this gene in aged cells that were not reproducing, the cells lived twice as long as normal.

The MIT team found that the signs of cellular aging disappear at the very end of… read more

Biologists create self-replicating RNA molecule

April 11, 2011

Biologists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, have synthesized an RNA enzyme that functions like a self-replicator.

The RNA enzyme tC19Z can reliably copy RNA sequences up to 95 letters long. This is a near-sevenfold increase over the R18 molecule, the only other known RNA-copying molecule. R18 can only copy RNA segments up to 14 letters long, and only works on certain sequences.

The tC19Z… read more

Biologists come close to cloning primates

October 22, 2004

US biologists have created cloned monkey embryos, and successfully transferred them into monkey mothers. Although none of the resulting pregnancies lasted more than a month, this is by far the closest scientists have come to cloning a primate.

If researchers are able to repeat this process in monkeys, it might help them to refine the tricky technique without experimenting on human eggs and embryos, which are very difficult to… read more

Biologically Inspired Vision Systems

February 21, 2007

Neuroscientists at MIT have developed a computer model that mimics the human vision system to accurately detect and recognize objects in a busy street scene, such as cars and motorcycles.

Such biologically inspired vision systems could soon be used in surveillance systems, or in smart sensors that can warn drivers of pedestrians and other obstacles. It may also help in the development of so-called visual search engines.

Biological transistor enables computing within living cells

March 29, 2013

Three-terminal transcriptor-based gates use integrase (Int) control signals to modulate RNA polymerase flow between a separate gate input and output (credit: Bonnet et al./Science)

Stanford University bioengineers have taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology by creating the “transcriptor” — a biological transistor made from DNA and RNA.

In electronics, a transistor controls the flow of electrons along a circuit. Similarly, a transcriptor controls the flow of a specific protein, RNA polymerase, as it travels along a strand of DNA.

“Transcriptors are the… read more

Biological terror attack likely by 2013, panel says

December 8, 2008

Terrorists are likely to use a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in the world in the next five years, a blue-ribbon panel assembled by Congress has concluded.

The report recommends a range of measures, including increased security and awareness at biological research labs and strengthening international treaties against the spread of biological and nuclear weapons.

‘Biological resynchronization’: stem cells keep cardiac beat in synchrony

September 4, 2013

Regeneration of damaged heart tissue synchronizes its motion (credit: Wiley)

Stem cell therapy used to regenerate injured tissue in the heart restores synchronous pumping, a new study by a team at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has found.

The team proposes a novel strategy of “biological resynchronization” in which stem cells repair heart muscle damage to reestablish correct cardiac motion, replacing pacing devices,

Heart attacks limit local oxygen, which can kill areas of cardiac tissue —… read more

Biological joints could replace artificial joints

January 6, 2011

University of Missouri and Columbia University researchers have found a way to create biological joints in animals, and they believe biological joint replacements for humans, using a patient’s own cells, aren’t far away.

James Cook, a researcher in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery participated on a research team that created new cartilage in animals using a biological “scaffold” in the animals’ joints. Cook… read more

Biological computer encrypts and deciphers images

February 8, 2012


Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute in California and the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology — have developed a “biological computer” made entirely from biomolecules that is capable of deciphering images encrypted on DNA chips.

This is the first experimental demonstration of a molecular cryptosystem for images based on DNA computing.

When suitable software was applied to the biological computer, it… read more

Biological computer can run 1 billion programs

March 23, 2005

Technion Israel Institute of Technology scientists have developed a biological computer, composed entirely of DNA molecules and enzymes constructed on a gold-coated chip, that can run 1 billion programs.

This increase represents a dramatic advance in terms of the potential mathematical operations and complexity of problems that may be solved using a biological computer, according to a Technion statement.

“The chip allows for automatic, real-time readout of the… read more

Biolaser Lights Up Stem Cells

April 1, 2005

Scientists have developed a laser that could illuminate stem cells in greater detail than ever, revealing the important steps they take to become neuron, heart or other types of cells.

Biolab on a chip

September 26, 2012


MIT researchers figured out a way to get instant blood tests.

If you throw a ball underwater, you’ll find that the smaller it is, the faster it moves: A larger cross-section greatly increases the water’s resistance. The researchers plan to use this basic principle, on a microscopic scale, to carry out biomedical tests that could eventually lead to fast, compact and versatile medical-testing devices.

The balls used here… read more

Bioinspired robot shakes a tail to fool fish

December 7, 2012

Ethorobotics Fish (credit: Vladislav Kopman et al./Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Zebrafish are attracted to robots that can convincingly imitate Zebrafish tail motions, researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) found in an experiment in “ethorobotics” — the study of bioinspired robots interacting with live animal counterparts.

Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU-Poly and students used image-based tracking software to analyze the movement of the live… read more

Bioinformatics moves into the mainstream

December 8, 2003

Genome mappings have generated a vast amount of biological data and now more than ever, scientists need sophisticated computational techniques to make sense of it.

For example, the Human Genome Database contains approximately 3 terabytes of data and the volume of life sciences data is doubling every six months.

To meet those ever-increasing needs, bioinformatics is shifting from software designed for a specific project in academic laboratories to… read more

‘Biohackers’ get their own space to create

January 16, 2012


BioCurious, a 2,500-square-feet community lab in an office building in Sunnyvale, opened in November as a place where scientists, entrepreneurs and others can meet to conduct biology experiments and innovate on everything from bacteria to thermal cyclers. The facility also offers classes on topics ranging from DNA sequencing to microfluidics.

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