For (probably) the first time ever, plants modified with the 'genetic scissors' CRISPR-Cas9 has been cultivated, harvested and cooked. Although the meal only fed two people, it was still the first step towards a future where science can better provide farmers and consumers across the world with healthy, beautiful and hardy plants.
Goats, sheep, and other herbivores eat many types of plants, and in the animals' guts, fungi digest the plant material. Researchers characterized several fungi involved in this digestion process and identified a large number of enzymes that work synergistically to degrade the raw biomass.
Researchers have succeeded in producing cells which offer new insights into properties of the heart. They installed a molecular sensor into the cells which emits light, and not only makes the cells' electrical activity visible, but also makes it possible for the first time to quickly identify cell types.
In order for cells to function properly, cargo needs to be constantly transported from one point to another within the cell, like on a goods station. This cargo is located in or on intracellular membranes, called vesicles. These membranes have a signature, and only those with the correct signature may fuse with the membrane of another organelle into one compartment.
As for many other biomedical and biotechnology disciplines, the genome scissor CRISPR/Cas9 also opens up completely new possibilities for cancer research. Scientists have shown that mutations that act as cancer drivers can be targeted and repaired. The most relevant mutations could therefore be diagnosed faster, improving personalized therapies.
Through RNA sequencing, researchers can measure which genes are expressed in each individual cell of a sample. A new statistical method allows researchers to infer different developmental processes from a cell mixture consisting of asynchronous stages.
Researchers have discovered a mechanism of intercellular communication that helps explain how biological systems and actions - ranging from a beating heart to the ability to hit a home run - function properly most of the time, and in some scenarios quite remarkably.
Scientists have developed an artificial metalloenzyme that catalyses a reaction inside of cells without equivalent in nature. This could be a prime example for creating new non-natural metabolic pathways inside living cells.
Proteins fulfill vital functions in our body. They transport substances, combat pathogens, and function as catalysts. In order for these processes to function reliably, proteins must adopt a defined three-dimensional structure. Molecular 'folding assistants', called chaperones, aid and scrutinize these structuring processes. Researchers have now revealed how chaperones identify particularly harmful errors in this structuring process.