Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

DNA

If this snake bit you, would you know that it was a great lakes bush viper? (Photo: Shutte...

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

Researchers have used a DNA brick self-assembly method to build 32 different crystal struc...

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

The discovery of an on/off switch for telomerase could provide a way to get human cells to...

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

A new gene editing technique shows promise for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystroph...

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

 Researchers at the University of Bradford claim to have devised a 'universal' blood test ...

Although many dread the prick of a blood test, most would find it a preferable testing method to invasive and expensive biopsies. That's why a blood test for cancer is the goal of many research efforts, including one at the University of Bradford in the UK, where researchers are claiming to have devised a simple universal blood test for the disease that relies on the fact that white blood cells in cancer patients are already damaged from battling cancerous cells.  Read More

The living replica of Vincent Van Gogh's ear, grown using genetic material from one of his...

If you thought cloning mice, frogs and extinct mammoths to be challenging, how about cloning Vincent Van Gogh's ear? Dutch artist Diemut Strebe has grown a living replica of the ear that Vincent Van Gogh reportedly sliced off in a troubled episode, using genetic material from one of Van Gogh's direct descendants. With a lifespan of 80 years or more, the ear could live as long as any one of us, says Strebe, who is investigating the idea of replicating people from historical DNA.  Read More

US researchers have engineered a bacterium whose genetic material includes DNA or bases  n...

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California have produced a living bacterium that has a strand of artificial DNA made with chemical “letters” not found in nature or any other organism.  Read More

Using GPS (but not that  GPS), scientists can trace the geographic origins of someone's DN...

An international team of scientists has developed a process that allows them to pinpoint a person’s geographical origin going back 1,000 years. Known as the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool, the method is accurate enough to locate the village from which the subject’s ancestors came, and has significant implications for personalized medical treatment.  Read More

The team constructed a lipid-coated nanodevice that survived the mouse immune system due t...

Researchers from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a cloaked DNA nanodevice capable of evading the body's immune defenses. The design was inspired by real world viruses and could be used to diagnose cancer and better target treatments to specific areas of tissue.  Read More

Olive oil counterfeiters may be thwarted by DNA particles, that are mixed into the liquid ...

When most people think of counterfeit goods, they probably picture things like handbags or watches. In fact, there's also a huge market for knock-off high-end food products, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research group, however, have come up with a possible method of thwarting the makers of that bogus oil – just add synthetic DNA particles to the real thing. And yes, consumers would proceed to swallow those particles.  Read More

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