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  • News

    Gene editing creates mice with two biological dads for the first time

    For the first time, researchers have created mice with two dads. No female contributed to the rodents’ genetic makeup.

    This unusual reproduction took place in a lab where researchers gathered fathers’ stem cells, and used them to produce embryos that were implanted into surrogate mothers. The technique required scientists to edit the animals’ genes in order for the mice to mature enough...

    10/11/2018 - 12:02 Cells, Development
  • News

    Gene editing can speed up plant domestication

    Gene editing can speed up plant domestication, taming wild vines, bushes and grasses and turning them into new crops.

    Editing just two genes in ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa) produced plants that yielded more and bigger fruit, researchers report October 1 in Nature Plants. Those edits mimic changes that occurred in tomato plants during domestication, bringing the sweet tomato...

    10/01/2018 - 11:00 Plants, Genetics, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    In lab tests, this gene drive wiped out a population of mosquitoes

    A new gene drive may push a species of malaria-carrying mosquito to extinction.

    In a small-scale laboratory study, the genetic engineering tool caused Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes to stop producing offspring in eight to 12 generations, researchers report September 24 in Nature Biotechnology. If the finding holds up in larger studies, the gene drive could be the first capable of wiping...

    09/24/2018 - 11:20 Genetics, Ecology
  • Soapbox

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell wins big physics prize for 1967 pulsar discovery

    Jocelyn Bell Burnell first noticed the strange, repeating blip in 1967. A University of Cambridge graduate student at the time, she had been reviewing data from a radio telescope she had helped build near campus. Persistent tracking revealed the signal’s source to be something entirely unknown up to that point — a pulsar, or a rapidly spinning stellar corpse that sweeps beams of radio waves...

    09/06/2018 - 17:25 Astronomy, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    CRISPR gene editing relieves muscular dystrophy symptoms in dogs

    Gene editing can reverse muscular dystrophy in dogs.

    Using CRISPR/Cas9 in beagle puppies, scientists have fixed a genetic mutation that causes muscle weakness and degeneration, researchers report online August 30 in Science.

    Corrections to the gene responsible for muscular dystrophy have been made before in mice and human muscle cells in dishes, but never in a larger mammal. The...

    08/30/2018 - 14:00 Biomedicine, Genetics
  • Science Visualized

    See the ‘periodic table’ of molecular knots

    Like a scouting handbook for the molecular realm, a new chart reveals how to tie molecules up in knots of increasing complexity.

    Mathematicians have cataloged billions of distinct knot types, but researchers have been able to make only a few molecular versions. Scientists craft the minuscule knots using a solution filled with building blocks of curved strings of atoms, which glom onto...

    08/27/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics, Materials
  • Mystery Solved

    How salamanders can regrow nearly complete tails but lizards can’t

    Salamanders and lizards can both regrow their tails, but not to equal perfection.

    While a regenerated salamander tail closely mimics the original, bone and all, a lizard’s replacement is filled with cartilage and lacks nerve cells. That contrast is due to differences between stem cells in the animals’ spinal cords, researchers report online August 13 in Proceedings of the National...

    08/17/2018 - 12:30 Cells, Development, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    A new computer program generates eerily realistic fake videos

    “The camera never lies” is a thing of the past.

    A new computer program can manipulate a video such that the person on-screen mirrors the movements and expressions of someone in a different video. Unlike other film-fudging software, this program can tamper with far more than facial expressions. The algorithm, to be presented August 16 at the 2018 SIGGRAPH meeting in Vancouver, also tweaks...

    08/14/2018 - 10:33 Computing, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Cancer cells engineered with CRISPR slay their own kin

    Using gene editing, scientists have hoodwinked tumor cells into turning against their own kind.

    Cancer cells circulating in the bloodstream have something of a homing instinct, able to find and return to the tumor where they originated. To capitalize on that ability, researchers engineered these roving tumor cells to secrete a protein that triggers a death switch in resident tumor cells...

    07/11/2018 - 14:00 Cancer, Biomedicine, Genetics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Why humans, and Big Macs, depend on bees

    Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of BeesThor HansonBasic Books, $27

    When you hear the word bee, the image that pops to mind is probably a honeybee. Maybe a bumblebee. But for conservation biologist Thor Hanson, author of the new book Buzz, the world is abuzz with thousands of kinds of bees, each as beautiful and intriguing as the flowers on which they land.

    Speaking from his “...

    07/08/2018 - 08:00 Animals, Agriculture, Ecology