Scientists have engineered a new way to genetically modify organisms so they’re less likely to spread uncontrollably in the wild and wreak havoc. By creating bacteria that require molecules not found in nature to survive, the scientists have set the stage for a safer way to use genetically modified bacteria to make medicines, fuels and other useful chemicals.
Two teams of researchers...
Designer organisms have crept closer to reality. Scientists have stitched together a version of a yeast chromosome. It is the first synthetic chromosome ever assembled from a eukaryotic organism, the type in which cells store DNA in nuclei.
Other groups have previously synthesized chromosomes from bacteria, but this is the first step in designing synthetic eukaryotes.
News in Brief
Using a molecular dimmer switch that smoothly dials up glowing lights in bacteria, researchers can make calculators in living cells that add, subtract, divide, and even do logarithms.
These analog computations are much more powerful than those of previous, digital-based biological devices, says study author Timothy Lu, a synthetic biologist at MIT.
In biology and electronics,...
Save the clunky tricorders for Star Trek. One day, tiny biological computers with DNA-based circuitry could diagnose diseases.
Using snippets of DNA and DNA-clipping chemicals, researchers have created one key component of a computer’s brain: the transistor, a switch that helps electronics perform logic. The biological switch, dubbed a transcriptor, could be plugged together with other...
Letters to the Editor
Grand Canyon rising If the geology of the Grand Canyon dates back to 70 million years ago “Grand Canyon’s age pushed back,” (SN: 1/12/13, p. 15), that would be around the same time the Rocky Mountains were being pushed up by the subduction process originating off the western continental coast. Could the lifting of the Colorado Plateau be related to the lifting of the Colorado Rockies?Joe...
Quietly, on the top floor of a nondescript commercial building overlooking Boston Harbor, the future is being born.
Rows of young scientists tap intently in front of computer monitors, their concentration unbroken even as the occasional plane from Logan Airport buzzes by. State-of-the-art lab equipment hums away in the background. This...