Imagine if your best knowledge of human anatomy came from viewing the body through binoculars from a mile away. You might make out the shape of a hand, but knuckles and fingernails would elude you. Experiments could tell you there’s a pumping heart inside, but to see that heart with any clarity you would have to fix it in formaldehyde or liquid nitrogen, blast it with electrons and add dyes to...
Making cells glow with a protein borrowed from jellyfish is one of the brightest ideas in chemistry. At least that is what the RoyalSwedishAcademy of Sciences implied when it announced October 8 that the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry would be awarded to three scientists who were instrumental in discovering green fluorescent protein, commonly called GFP, and developing the protein as a...
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Imagine a future in which a single drop of water holds a veritable army of living robots; in which people download software updates not for their computers, but for their bacteria; and in which specially programmed cells course through a person's arteries, monitoring blood sugar concentrations and keeping an eye out for cholesterol buildups.