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At the origin of cell division

Droplets of filamentous material enclosed in a lipid membrane: these are the models of a 'simplified' cell used by the SISSA physicists Luca Giomi and Antonio DeSimone, who simulated the spontaneous emergence of cell motility and division - that is, features of living material - in inanimate 'objects'.

Apr 16th, 2014

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New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis

Photosynthesis provides fixed carbon and energy for nearly all life on Earth, yet many aspects of this fascinating process remain mysterious. We do not know the full list of the parts of the molecular machines that perform photosynthesis in any organism. A team developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists on this subject.

Apr 15th, 2014

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Scientists grow cartilage to reconstruct nose

Scientists at the University of Basel report first ever successful nose reconstruction surgery using cartilage grown in the laboratory. Cartilage cells were extracted from the patient?s nasal septum, multiplied and expanded onto a collagen membrane. The so-called engineered cartilage was then shaped according to the defect and implanted.

Apr 11th, 2014

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Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals

Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice University is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated in Parkinson's, Huntington?s and other diseases.

Apr 8th, 2014

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Berkeley Lab proposal for an open biofoundry passes crucial first test

Picture an industrial-sized manufacturing plant in which workers are turning out a valuable chemical product, say a pharmaceutical drug, or an exotic material such as a truly biodegradable plastic, or a clean-burning carbon-neutral transportation fuel. Now picture that plant as being void of smokestacks venting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, or receptacles for the collecting of toxic, non-recyclable waste. This is the promise of biomanufacturing.

Apr 7th, 2014

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Math modeling integral to synthetic biology research

A long-standing challenge in synthetic biology has been to create gene circuits that behave in predictable and robust ways. Mathematical modeling experts collaborated with experimental biologists to create a synthetic genetic clock that keeps accurate time across a range of temperatures.

Apr 4th, 2014

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New functions for 'junk' DNA?

DNA encodes the information necessary to make all the proteins in a cell, but the vast majority of the DNA in a cell is non-coding DNA, in the past sometimes referred to as 'junk' DNA. Recent research has identified non-coding DNA sequences that are found in nearly all plants and appear to have roles in basic processes such as tissue and organ development, response to hormones, and regulation of gene expression.

Apr 1st, 2014

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Team finds a better way to grow motor neurons from stem cells

Researchers report they can generate human motor neurons from stem cells much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods allowed. The finding will aid efforts to model human motor neuron development, and to understand and treat spinal cord injuries and motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Apr 1st, 2014

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