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Complete chicken genome map revealed

December 10, 2004

The complete genome sequence of the chicken has been published.

The chicken is the closest relative of mammals sequenced so far, and should provide a crucial point of comparison in studies of mammalian evolution.

The number of chicken genes is similar to that of mammals, but the chicken genome appears to contain a smaller amount of repetitive “junk” DNA. Comparison of the chicken and human genomes reveals about… read more

Competing teams announced for $1 million prize incentive to create an artificial liver

September 16, 2014

The U.S. organ wait list has grown rapidly, while the number of organ donors has stagnated --- but the true need is almost 10x larger than the official waiting list suggests: 900,000 annual deaths are preventable by liver transplantation (credit: New Organ)

New Organ — a collective initiative for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine — announced today (Sept. 16) the initial six teams competing for the $1 million New Organ Liver Prize, a global prize competition launched in December 2013 and  sponsored by the Methuselah Foundation, a biomedical charity.

The award will go to “the first team that creates a regenerative or bioengineered solution that keeps a large animal… read more

Comparing Genomes Shows Split Between Chimps and People

December 14, 2003

By comparing the human genome with that of chimpanzees, people’s closest living relative, scientists have identified a partial list of the genes that make people human.

Because the sequence of DNA units in the two genomes is 98.8 percent identical, just a handful of genes might define the essence of humanity.

Prominent sets of human genes show signs of accelerated evolution, under strong recent pressure of natural selection.… read more

Company unveils DNA sequencing device meant to be portable, disposable and cheap

February 18, 2012


DNA sequencing is becoming both faster and cheaper. Now, it is also becoming tinier.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies said on Friday that by the end of 2012 it would begin selling a “pay-as-you-go” disposable gene sequencing device that is the size of a USB memory stick and plugs into a laptop computer to deliver its results.

The less-than-$900 MinION device could allow small sequencing jobs to be done by… read more

Company Plans Power ‘Valve’ Employing Superconductors

August 18, 2003

To suppress surges, Intermagnetics General plans to use superconductors as valves on the electric-utility power grid, letting their temperature rise to choke off the flow of power. The device would also generate a magnetic field, which further lowers superconductor conductivity.

The idea is to reduce the surge to a level that conventional circuit breakers can handle.

Company is first to return spacecraft from orbit

December 10, 2010

NASA took a giant leap away from the spaceflight business Wednesday as a private company, SpaceX, launched a spacecraft into orbit and for the first time guided it safely back to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by large national governments.

Company decodes cancers to target treatment

November 3, 2011

Foundation Medicine has developed a diagnostic test to read the entire sequence of hundreds of cancer-linked genes, at the forefront of a growing trend in cancer: choosing drugs based on the genetic profile of a patient’s tumor cells.

A number of pharmaceutical companies are using the test in clinical trials of new drugs and to direct patients into specific studies of drugs designed to target different mutations.… read more

Company claims to have sequenced man’s genome cheaply

February 11, 2008

Illumina, based in San Diego, claims to have sequenced DNA from the genome of an anonymous African man in “a matter of weeks” for $100,000.

However, supporting data is not yet available.

Companies mine Web clues for signs of pandemics

April 30, 2009

Veratect Inc combines computer algorithms with human analysts to monitor online and off-line sources for hints of disease outbreaks and civil unrest worldwide, using blogs, online chat rooms, Twitter feeds, news media and government Web sites.

Veratect says it posted a report to clients on April 6 describing an unusual number of respiratory illnesses in the Mexican state of Veracruz, then sent an e-mail on April 16 to the… read more

Companies discover untapped brain power: autistics

July 21, 2013


Companies are discovering the untapped brain power of a group long thought ill suited to the office: adults on the autistic spectrum. Joshua Kendall, author of America’s Obsessives, reports at The Daily Beast on one Danish man’s mission to employ the seemingly unemployable — and successful famous “obsessives”* (think Jefferson and Heinz) in American history.

While the 1% of the population with ASDs may have considerable difficulty navigating… read more

Companies Bet Their Money On Nano’s Workhorse: The Quantum Dot

May 7, 2003

The potential for quantum dots –- semiconductor nanocrystal particles that confine electrons in their cores — is wide open.

Applications include customizable tags for cell or tissue analysis (the largest market), solar energy, flat-panel displays, light sources, and security tags for currency or other valuable objects.

Communication through chemistry: ‘Fuses’ convey information for hours

June 18, 2010

Harvard University researchers have developed a chemical-based method for transmitting alphanumeric information in the form of light pulses.

The “infofuse” is made of nitrocellulose strips covered with patterns of dots made of salts of the elements lithium, rubidium, and cesium. When the strip is ignited, the flame travels forward and reaches the dots one after the other. The heat causes the elements to emit light at characteristic wavelengths.… read more

Communication helps target tumors

June 21, 2011

Mouse tumor imaging using targeted particles (credit: Liat Goldshaid et al.)

A new technique that uses nanoparticles and engineered proteins to broadcast the location of cancer in the body can deliver up to a 40-fold greater concentration of chemotherapy drugs to tumors than untargeted cancer treatments.

By designing a system of nanoparticle and protein components that can communicate with one another, biomedical engineer Geoffrey von Maltzahn of Flagship Ventures, an investment firm that helps launch new therapeutics and medical… read more

Communication engages complex brain circuitry and processes

November 17, 2010

New human and animal studies presented Tuesday at Neuroscience 2010 uncover the extensive brain wiring used in communication and provide new insights into how the brain processes and produces language, accents, and sounds. The research also explores the brain abnormalities in people with speech and language problems, such as stuttering, suggesting future treatment avenues.

Communication involves a complex series of tasks, from processing and comprehending sounds to producing jaw… read more

Communicating with machines: What the next generation of speech recognizers will do

February 16, 2004

“If we want to communicate with a machine as we would with a human, the basic assumptions underlying today’s automated speech recognition systems are wrong,” said former AT&T Bell Labs scientist B.H. “Fred” Juang, now professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“To have real human-machine communication,… read more

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