The ability to make cells do our bidding would be a major advance in everything from drug production to biofuels, but it’s difficult to hack into nature and make cells obey. A team of Swiss researchers have one way to do it: Create cyborg cells connected to, and controlled by, a computer.
You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, but it might be possible to extract it from rice. Blood protein, at least. Genetically modified brown rice seeds can produce a cost-effective and easily stored supply of human serum albumin, researchers in China report.
The tedious, carpal-tunnel-inducing pipette work of cell biologists may soon be relegated to robots, thanks to a new cell factory developed in Germany. This could free humans to perform new studies and ask new questions, as automated equipment takes over the time-consuming task of growing, feeding and observing cells in the lab.
Genetically modified glow-in-the-dark cats not only make stylish, futuristic pets, but now provide insight into feline AIDS as well. The cats were injected with an antiviral gene from a rhesus macaque monkey that helps them resist feline AIDS, along with one that produces the fluorescent protein GFP.
Researchers at Cambridge claim they’ve engineered the first animal with artificial information embedded in its genetic code in such a way that it generates biological molecules that have never been seen before in nature. That is, it churns out an amino acid that is wholly new, rather than one of the 20 found in natural living things.
Something to reflect on over your lunch break today: Scientists are developing a new approach for producing human-derived gelatin in large enough quantities to be a commercially viable replacement for the animal-based gelatins used in all kinds of gelatin-like desserts, candies, and other foodstuffs as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Think about that next time you crack open a mid-afternoon pudding snack.
A type of statistical analysis used to study high-energy physics and stock market fluctuations could yield a new angle of attack in the fight against the virus that causes AIDS. A surgical strike on specific, steadfast sectors of HIV could lead to new drugs or vaccines, according to a new study.
A new database developed by Spanish biologists is giving pharmaceutical quick access to protein structure data that could lead to more rapid development of important biologic drugs. The database, known as MoDEL, contains protein motion data for more than 1,700 different human proteins, making it the largest such database of proteins in the world.