Biomedicine

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microRNA and radiation

MOLECULAR GEIGER COUNTER  The abundance of small pieces of genetic material called microRNAs falls or rises in the blood of mice after radiation exposure. A lethal dose of 8 grays of radiation (red dots) produces a different pattern than a serious but survivable dose of 6.5 grays (black triangles).

blood cell type enzyme

TYPE ALL  With engineering, a natural enzyme can better cut off some sugars that determine if a blood cell is type A, B or AB (as shown), resulting in a generic blood type that is safe for all people. 

illustration of gene therapy in retina

NO GAIN  Patients with an inherited form of blindness experienced temporary gains in vision after receiving gene therapy. But the retina of one person shows that nearly six years after the treatment, vision cells died in the treated area (outlined upper left corner; cooler colors signify cell death) and in the rest of the retina. 

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