For all our attempts to find it on other worlds, water may not be the most essential molecule for life, a new study suggests. A protein that brings oxygen to muscle can function without it, using a synthetic polymer in its place.
Not content to let scientists figure out how to engineer animals and plants depending on the situation, DARPA wants to generalize the process, creating a manufacturing framework for all living things. The “Living Foundries” program sets up an assembly line paradigm for life and its constituent parts, and the DOD’s crazy-science arm just handed out its first research grants.
Researchers at the University of Vermont have discovered two new proteins on red blood cells that confirm the testable existence of two new blood types. It's an important discovery, one that'll greatly reduce the risk of incompatible blood transfusions among tens of thousands of people. But what we were more struck by in this press release was the fact that these two new blood types--named Junior and Langereis--bring the total number of recognized blood types up to 32. 32!
Proteins are like the workhorses of genetic biology, but they can be notoriously difficult to study. Their structure has everything to do with their function--and sometimes dysfunction--which has far-reaching implications in health and medicine.
Wiretapping an enzyme and listening as it unfolds could shed new light on the way proteins work, allowing researchers to monitor structural changes over a longer period of time than was previously possible. To do it, scientists tethered a nanoscale transistor to a molecule found in human tears.
An Irish company is using four American diamondback rattlesnakes in a new clinical trial that will test snake venom as a treatment for cancer. The snakes, which hail from the Albuquerque BioPark, will be allowed to bite something and have their venom extracted humanely. The venom contains proteins that will be extracted and refined to target and kill cancer cells.