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Can scientists hack photosynthesis to feed the world as population soars?

Scientists attending a workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory slipped the leash of scientific caution and tried to imagine what they would do if they could redesign plants at will. The ideas they dreamed up may make the difference between full bellies and empty ones in the near future when population may outrun the ability of traditional plant breeding to increase yields.

Posted: Jul 15th, 2015

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New cell division mechanism discovered

Researchers have discovered that chromosomes play an active role in animal cell division. This occurs at a precise stage - cytokinesis - when the cell splits into two new daughter cells.

Posted: Jul 13th, 2015

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The artificial enzyme that 'acts' natural

Certain genetic diseases arise from a deficit of specific genes. An enzyme that amplifies gene transcription could be a viable therapy in these cases, as long as genes are not stimulated to work on the wrong part of the body. SISSA scientists have created synthetic 'intelligent' enzymes which are able to differentiate between active and inactive genes and selectively stimulate the former ones.

Posted: Jul 8th, 2015

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Learning from biology to accelerate discovery

Surveying everything from sea cucumbers and Venus flytraps to human muscles and trees, a new review paper broadly explores the strategies that biology employs to create different functions and the mechanics at play within those functions. Discovering how and why biological systems attain desirable static and dynamic mechanical functionalities often reveals principles that inform new synthetic designs based on biological systems.

Posted: Jul 6th, 2015

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'Invisible' protein structure explains the power of enzymes

Scientists have managed to capture and describe a protein structure that, until now, has been impossible to study. The discovery lays the base for developing designed enzymes as catalysts to new chemical reactions for instance in biotechnological applications.

Posted: Jul 3rd, 2015

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Synthetic biology used to engineer new route to biochemicals

Researchers describe building a new pathway that lets the bacterium, E. coli, feed on both sugar (glucose) and acetate, a common waste material from biomass, to make isobutyl acetate. This product can be used as the basis for flavoring agents, solvents and fuels.

Posted: Jun 25th, 2015

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A novel DNA damage alarm

How does our body keep its DNA intact? Researchers have just found a new piece of this puzzle. They discovered a novel alarm that cells use to signal DNA damage.

Posted: Jun 25th, 2015

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Bionic eye clinical trial results show long-term safety, efficacy vision-restoring implant

The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the 'bionic eye', have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of the device that restores vision in those blinded by a rare, degenerative eye disease. The findings show that the Argus II significantly improves visual function and quality of life for people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa.

Posted: Jun 24th, 2015

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How does nanotechnology work?