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DNA

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have built a cheap 3D-printed attachment able to turn smartphones into sophisticated microscopes. Armed with the new device, a smartphone would be able to detect single DNA strands and analyze them to diagnose diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s without bulky and expensive equipment. Read More
Sensors that identify infectious disease and food contaminants may soon be printed on paper using ordinary office inkjet printers. Researchers at McMaster University have developed a prototype that could lead to a commercial product in the next few years which helps doctors and scientists in the field quickly detect certain types of cancer or bacterial and respiratory infections or monitor toxin levels in water. Read More
Taking inspiration from the way fossilized bones can preserve genetic material for hundreds of thousands of years, researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a "synthetic fossil" by writing digital information on DNA and then encapsulating it in a protective layer of glass. Read More
According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), 129,000 Americans are sent to hospital and 3,000 die each year from food poisoning. Currently, tracing contaminated food is largely a matter of record keeping and detective work, but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, in partnership with DNATrek, have developed DNATrax, a DNA-based additive for directly tracking food from producer to consumer. Read More
Scientists from Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine have discovered a potential treatment that may steer cancer cells toward their own destruction. The study focused on a particular gene that was found to influence levels of a tumor-fighting protein called 53BP1, the heightened presence of which makes cancer cells more vulnerable to existing forms of treatment. Read More
It may sound like the first chapter of a Quatermass thriller, but scientists from the University of Zurich have discovered that DNA can survive not only a flight through space, but also re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, and still remain active. The findings are based on suborbital rocket flights and could have considerable impact on questions about the origins of life on Earth and the problems of terrestrial space probes contaminating other planets. Read More

When a snake-bite victim shows up at a hospital, it's vitally important for caregivers to know what species of snake bit them. Without that knowledge, they won't know what sort of anti-venom – if any – is required. Making that ID could one day be much easier, thanks to a current study in which species were reliably identified via snake DNA obtained from fang marks in victims' bite wounds. Read More

The very same building blocks that make us have been successfully programmed to form 32 differently-shaped crystal structures. The structures feature a precisely-defined depth and a variety of sophisticated 3D nanoscale attributes, thereby laying further foundations for the use of DNA to revolutionize nanotechnology. Read More
Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered an on/off switch for telomerase, an enzyme that rebuilds a cellular timekeeper known as a telomere. The scientists believe that the discovery could provide a way to get human cells to divide indefinitely without degenerating, thereby regenerating healthy organs even in old age. Read More
Researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center have developed a technique that corrects a mutation leading to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The technique, called CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing, removes the mutation entirely in mice, and could have far-reaching consequences in the treatment of muscular dystrophy in people. Read More
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