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If we can make animals smarter, should we?

March 19th, 2020 at 10:13 am » Comments Off

In science fiction stories, research can accidentally create superintelligent animal species. As the ability to alter animals’ brains grows, some say we should be wary of fiction becoming reality. This article appears in VICE Magazine’s Stupid Issue, which is dedicated to the entertaining, goofy, and just plain dumb. It features stories celebrating ridiculous ideas, trends, […]



5 incredible synthetic biology holy grails that could change the world

March 3rd, 2020 at 11:59 am » Comments Off

Investors are still waiting for next-generation biotech to deliver on its enormous promise and potential, but just one of these Holy Grails would make the wait worth it.  Biotechnology has come a long way since 1978, when Herbert Boyer successfully demonstrated that human insulin could be produced from bacteria engineered with recombinant DNA. The breakthrough […]



3D Printing humans: A quick review of 3D Bioprinters

February 13th, 2020 at 12:58 pm » Comments Off

It was only a matter of time before the iconic scene from 1997’s The Fifth Element became a reality. In the film Milla Jovovich’s character, Leeloo, is entirely rebuilt using her dead hand as a template. The resurrection is performed by a surgical robot that collects slices of heterogeneous tissue, generated from a yellow bio-ink, […]



Amazon is working to develop biometric scanners to link handprints to credit cards, allowing shoppers to buy with the swipe of their palm

January 24th, 2020 at 12:49 pm » Comments Off

Amazon is working with credit card companies to create terminals to allow users to pay for items with biometric data from their handprint. The online retailer previously patented such technology, which had been presumed to be used at its Whole Food stores Amazon currently allows shoppers at its Amazon Go grocery store to pay for […]



The major discoveries that could transform the world in the next decade

January 2nd, 2020 at 12:20 pm » Comments Off

Here’s what scientists are really excited about. The last decade ushered in some truly revolutionary advances in science, from the discovery of the Higgs boson to the use of CRISPR for Sci-Fi esque gene editing. But what are some of the biggest breakthroughs still to come? Live Science asked several experts in their field what […]



Lab-grown meat also creates an unexpected benefit: Ethical zebra burgers

November 4th, 2019 at 1:57 pm » Comments Off

“What are the odds that these animals contain the tastiest, most nutritionally rich food offerings?” The term “cultivated meat” is industry’s preferred language for the admittedly unappetizing-sounding “lab-grown meat,” and it has the potential to actually change the world. This lab-grown meat could reduce the various impacts of raising animals for slaughter, which is the […]



Mini brains grown in the laboratory produce brainwaves. Now what?

October 20th, 2019 at 1:08 pm » Comments Off

It’s hard to study the human brain. It is the most complex in the animal kingdom with its massive collection of neurons, 80-100 billion to be exact, three times more than chimpanzees. Research relating our brains to the brains of mice and monkeys can only go so far. And because of this complexity, scientists often […]



Scientists create a device that can mass-produce human embryoids

October 4th, 2019 at 12:22 am » Comments Off

  These human embryo-like structures (top) were synthesized from human stem cells; they’ve been stained to illustrate different cell types. Images (bottom) of the “embryoids” in the new device that was invented to make them. Yi Zheng/University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Scientists have invented a device that can quickly produce large numbers of living entities that […]



Gene-hacking mosquitoes to be infertile backfired spectacularly

September 25th, 2019 at 12:25 pm » Comments Off

    Best-Laid Plans On its surface, the plan was simple: gene-hack mosquitoes so their offspring immediately die, mix them with disease-spreading bugs in the wild, and watch the population drop off. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite pan out. The genetically-altered mosquitoes did mix with the wild population, and for a brief period the number of […]



Mini-brains grown in a lab have human-like brain activity

September 10th, 2019 at 3:29 am » Comments Off

A new study promises new paths to research mental illness, but raises questions about whether so-called organoids could develop consciousness Alysson Muotri was dumbfounded when the pea-sized blobs of human brain cells that he was growing in the lab started emitting electrical pulses. He initially thought the electrodes he was using were malfunctioning. Muotri was […]



Gene editing transforms gel into shape-shifting material

September 10th, 2019 at 3:23 am » Comments Off

  The CRISPR technique can trigger the new material to release drugs or pick up biological signals Is there anything CRISPR can’t do? Scientists have wielded the gene-editing tool to make scores of genetically modified organisms, as well as to track animal development, detect diseases and control pests. Now, they have found yet another application […]



Gene-edited cattle have a major screwup in their DNA

September 6th, 2019 at 11:29 am » Comments Off

  Bid for barnyard revolution is set back after regulators find celebrity “hornless” bovines contaminated by bacterial genes. They were the poster animals for the gene-editing revolution, appearing in story after story. By adding just a few letters of DNA to the genomes of dairy cattle, a US startup company had devised a way to […]



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