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Unexpected cross-species contamination in genome sequencing projects

As genome sequencing has gotten faster and cheaper, the pace of whole-genome sequencing has accelerated, dramatically increasing the number of genomes deposited in public archives. Although these genomes are a valuable resource, problems can arise when researchers misapply computational methods to assemble them, or accidentally introduce unnoticed contaminations during sequencing.

Posted: Nov 18th, 2014

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Fewer surgeries with degradable implants

Until now, in cases of bone fracture, doctors have used implants made of steel and titanium, which have to be removed after healing. To spare patients burdensome interventions, researchers are working on a bone substitute that completely degrades in the body. Towards this end, material combinations of metal and ceramic are being used.

Posted: Nov 12th, 2014

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Controlling genes with your thoughts

Researchers have constructed the first gene network that can be controlled by our thoughts. The inspiration for this development was a game that picks up brainwaves in order to guide a ball through an obstacle course.

Posted: Nov 11th, 2014

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Reprogrammed cells grow into new blood vessels

By transforming human scar cells into blood vessel cells, scientists may have discovered a new way to repair damaged tissue. The method appeared to improve blood flow, oxygenation, and nutrition to areas in need.

Posted: Nov 7th, 2014

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Synthetic biology for space exploration

Researchers have used synthetic biology to produce an inexpensive and reliable microbial-based alternative to the world's most effective anti-malaria drug, and to develop clean, green and sustainable alternatives to gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. In the future, synthetic biology could also be used to make manned space missions more practical.

Posted: Nov 6th, 2014

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Study shows direct brain interface between humans (w/video)

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team's initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person's brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

Posted: Nov 5th, 2014

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From crab shells to raw materials

In a lab in Bavaria scientists are trying to chemically transform crab shells into a high performance biopolymer. This European research project, Chibio, turns the waste into a raw material and energy source.

Posted: Nov 5th, 2014

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Piecing together molecular machines

During your lifetime, the cells in your body divide many trillions of times. Iain Cheeseman, an associate professor of biology at MIT, has spent his career studying how cells control this process, which is critical to ensuring that the correct genetic information is passed down from generation to generation.

Posted: Nov 5th, 2014

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New tool could help reshape the limits of synthetic biology

Yeast geneticists report they have developed a novel tool - dubbed the 'telomerator' - that could redefine the limits of synthetic biology and advance how successfully living things can be engineered or constructed in the laboratory based on an organism's genetic, chemical base-pair structure.

Posted: Nov 3rd, 2014

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Getting more out of nature: Genetic toolkit finds new maximum for crop yields

Scientists have found a new way to dramatically increase crop yields. The team has discovered a set of gene variations that boost fruit production in the tomato plant by as much as 100 percent. Plant breeders will be able to combine different gene variants to create an optimal plant architecture for particular varieties and growing conditions. The set will enable farmers to maximize yield in tomatoes and potentially other flowering plants, including crops like soybeans.

Posted: Nov 2nd, 2014

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Cell division, minus the cells

Researchers have reconstituted cell division - complete with signals that direct molecular traffic - without the cell. Combining frog-egg extracts with lipid membranes that mimic the membrane of the cell, they built a cell-free system that recapitulates how the cleavage furrow is assembled.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2014

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