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DNA


— Science

Harvard geneticist stores 70 billion copies of his book in DNA

George Church is a professor of genetics at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and also co-author of the book Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves in DNA. With a title like that, it’s only fitting that the book was used to break the record that it recently did – Church led a team that encoded 70 billion html copies of the book in DNA. That’s 1,000 times more data than the previous record. Read More
— Science

Domestic tomato genome sequenced in full

The scientists of the aptly-named Tomato Genome Consortium have successfully sequenced the genome of the domestic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), specifically the domestic cultivar known as Heinz 1706. The genome is made up of 35,000 genes spread over 12 chromosomes. In addition to presenting a "high quality" genome of the species, the researches also produced a draft sequence of its closest wild relative, the currant tomato (Solanum pimpinellifolium). Read More
— Medical

New concept could lead to low-cost DNA sequencing in everyday clinical practices

Doctors and scientists wishing to decode a human genome can now do so in a day for US$1,000 a pop using the recently-released Ion Proton sequencer. With a price tag of $149,000, though, the machine isn’t cheap – nor is it the be-all and end-all of desktop gene sequencing. For one thing, the tiny $900 MinION sequencer should be available soon. Also, a team of scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Yale University have now developed a concept of their own, which could end up providing an even less expensive high-speed sequencer. Read More

Twin study isolates key ageing genes

Another breakthrough in the ever accelerating quest to extend human lifespan has seen researchers identify key genes associated with ageing. By studying these "ageing" genes, which are switched on or off by external factors such a diet and lifestyle, it's hoped that the biological mechanisms of ageing can be better understood. Read More
— Medical

DNA nanorobot could offer targeted treatment of cancer

We've seen various experimental approaches that aim to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy while also reducing its damaging side effects by specifically targeting cancer cells. The latest encouraging development comes from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering where researchers have created a barrel-like robotic device made from DNA that could carry molecular instructions into specific cells and tell them to self-destruct. Because the DNA-based device could be programmed to target a variety of cells, it could be used to treat a range of diseases in addition to providing hope in the fight against cancer. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

MinION - $900 usb-powered DNA sequencer on sale this year

At the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology 2012 conference (AGBT), Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. announced it is entering the gene-sequencing battle with a disposable DNA sequencer that will sell for under $900 in the second half of 2012. The USB-size sequencer is called the MinION (min-ion), and has already demonstrated the potential to bring genome sequencing and personalized medicine out of the lab and into physicians’ offices. Read More
— Science

Ion Proton sequencer decodes DNA fast and on the cheap

The mapping of the human genome, announced at the White House back in 2000, had immense impact on biomedical research. It allowed us to gain insights into how biological information is encoded in the genome, helped us understand the biological mechanisms behind cancer and hereditary diseases and enabled us to look much deeper into the history of our own species. These are milestone achievements for humanity as a whole, but they have little or no direct impact on everyday medical treatment. That could be about to change, however, as Life Technologies introduces the Benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer - a machine that may finally deliver the power of genetics into the hands of ordinary doctors. Read More
— Science

Salmon DNA used in data storage device

Salmon ... they’re good to eat, provide a livelihood for fishermen, are an important part of their ecosystem, and now it seems that they can store data. More specifically, their DNA can. Scientists from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created a “write-once-read-many-times” (WORM) memory device, that combines electrodes, silver nanoparticles, and salmon DNA. While the current device is simply a proof-of-concept model, the researchers have stated that DNA could turn out to be a less expensive alternative to traditional inorganic materials such as silicon. Read More
— Science

Gene tweak that extends lifespan of fruit flies could help slow human aging

Caloric restriction has been shown to slow the signs of aging and delay the development of age-related diseases in a wide range of animals. However, scientists have been unable to explain just why limiting daily food intake has such a beneficial effect on health and the biological mechanisms that underlie the phenomenon. Researchers in Sweden recently claimed to have unlocked a piece of the puzzle by identifying one of the enzymes that appears to play a major role in the process and now another group in the U.S. has provided another clue by tweaking a gene in fruit flies and extending their lifespan by as much as 50 percent. Read More
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