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Expanding the code of life with new 'letters'

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as 'letters', that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting for the first time that two new nucleotides can do the same thing - raising the possibility that entirely new proteins could be created for medical uses.

Posted: May 27th, 2015

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Researchers find 'decoder ring' powers in micro RNA

MicroRNA can serve as a 'decoder ring' for understanding complex biological processes, a team of New York University chemists has found. Their study points to a new method for decrypting the biological functions of enzymes and identifying those that drive diseases.

Posted: May 26th, 2015

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New biotechnology for high efficiency purification of live human cells

Cell therapies require a purification step that isolates the desired cell types from contaminating cells. Normally cell surface receptors are used as markers to distinguish cell types, but undesired cell types also show these receptors, compromising purification. Evidence suggests microRNA may be a better marker. New biotechnology, miRNA switches, purifies different cell types based on miRNA markers at levels suggesting applicability to patient care.

Posted: May 22nd, 2015

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What hundreds of biomolecules tell us about our nerve cells

Researchers successfully measured metabolic profiles, or the metabolomes, of different brain regions, and their findings could help better understand neurodegenerative diseases. The metabolome represents all or at least a large part of the metabolites in a given tissue, and thus, it gives a snapshot of its physiology.

Posted: May 18th, 2015

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Scientists discover how microbes acquire electricity in making methane

Scientists have solved a long-standing mystery about methanogens, unique microorganisms that transform electricity and carbon dioxide into methane. They demonstrate for the first time how methanogens obtain electrons from solid surfaces. The discovery could help scientists design electrodes for microbial 'factories' that produce methane gas and other compounds sustainably.

Posted: May 18th, 2015

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How does nanotechnology work?