ETH researchers have integrated two CRISPR-Cas9-based core processors into human cells. This represents a huge step towards creating powerful biocomputers. Controlling gene expression through gene switches based on a model borrowed from the digital world has long been one of the primary objectives of synthetic biology. The digital technique uses what are known as logic gates to

Inflammation is a balanced physiological response—the body needs it to eliminate invasive organisms and foreign irritants, but excessive inflammation can harm healthy cells, contributing to aging and chronic diseases. To help keep tabs on inflammation, immune cells employ a molecular machine called the NLRP3 inflammasome. NLRP3 is inactive in a healthy cell, but is switched

When mitochondria become damaged, they avoid causing further problems by signaling cellular proteins to degrade them. In a paper publishing April 11, 2019, in the journal Developmental Cell, scientists in Norway report that they have discovered how the cells trigger this process, which is called mitophagy. In cells with broken mitochondria, two proteins—NIPSNAP 1 and NIPSNAP

Bacteria in the human body are sharing genes with one another at a higher rate than is typically seen in nature, and some of those genes appear to be traveling—independent of their microbial hosts—from one part of the body to another, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports. The findings are the result of a molecular

Researchers at the University of Sydney have produced hard data that demonstrates collaborating with Indigenous peoples changed the outcome of a scientific research project. It is the first empirical evidence that culturally diverse teams produce improved results in conservation research. Dr. Georgia Ward-Fear, a conservation biologist and herpetologist (amphibians and reptiles), said this was the

In the last six years, a tool called CRISPR-Cas9 has transformed genetic research, allowing scientists to snip and edit DNA strands at precise locations like a pair of tiny scissors. But sometimes, it takes more than scissors to do the job.Now, a collaborative international team has unveiled a new CRISPR-based tool that acts more like

The diversity of the crop Sorghum, a cereal used to make alcoholic drinks, has been decreasing over time due to agricultural practice. To maintain the diversity of the crop and keep it growing farmers will need to revise how they manage it. Sorghum bicolor is a crop widely used for animal feed, and making beer.

It takes at least 10 million years for life to fully recover after a mass extinction, a speed limit for the recovery of species diversity that is well known among scientists. Explanations for this apparent rule have usually invoked environmental factors, but research led by The University of Texas at Austin links the lag to

A recent study of centuries-old French-Canadian genealogical data by a Brown University economist revealed evidence that supports his own 17-year-old theory that natural selection played a pivotal role in the emergence of economic growth and industrialization. Oded Galor, a professor of economics at Brown, and Marc Klemp, a visiting scholar in Brown’s Population Studies and

A team of researchers from several institutions in the U.K. has found evidence that suggests some seabirds may benefit from the existence of human-built offshore structures. In their paper published in the journal Communications Biology, the group describes their study of foraging seabirds in a tidal channel near Northern Ireland and what they learned. As we

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