Photokina 2014 highlights

Genome

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

The researchers have engineered yeast to produce casein, a milk protein

Many people say they can’t go vegan because of their addiction to dairy. But that excuse could soon be past its sell-by date if a team of biohackers in California succeeds in scaling up production of a cheese that contains no animal by-products. They call it Real Vegan Cheese. Their aim is to offer a sustainable food alternative with the same nutritional value – and taste – as non-vegan cheese.  Read More

The Fraxinus game (Image: The Sainsbury Laboratory)

Playing video games and feeling virtuous may seem almost like a contradiction in terms, but the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK has turned gaming into a way to advance science and help protect the environment. The Fraxinus game is a Facebook app that uses player participation to figure out the structure of a fungus genome, as part of a crowdsourcing effort to combat a disease that threatens Britain and Europe’s ash trees.  Read More

The entire Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium has been replicated as a computer model

For the first time ever, a computer model of a complete living organism has been created. True, it’s a single-celled organism – in fact, it’s the world’s smallest free-living bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium. Still, all of its systems and the relationships between them have been replicated in silico, allowing scientists to conduct research that might otherwise have proved impossible. It also paves the way for computer modeling of more complex organisms, such as humans.  Read More

The scientists of the aptly-named Tomato Genome Consortium have successfully sequenced the...

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

The 520 genome sequences released are matched sets of normal and tumor tissue samples from...

As part of an ongoing effort to facilitate swifter progress in the fight against cancer and other related diseases, the St. Jude Children's Hospital-Washington University Pediatric Cancer Genome Project has released a vast amount of human cancer genome data, which is now available to scientists globally. The volume of information offered amounts to more than double the data previously open to scientists from all the other human genome sources combined.  Read More

Scientists have developed a new concept for a low-cost, high-speed desktop DNA sequencer (...

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

The MinION is the size of a USB memory stick, and obtains both power and computer analysis...

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

Ion Proton Sequencer by Life Technologies is designed to sequence the entire human genome ...

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

Five skeletal remains from the East Smithfield site (Photo: Museum of London)

It's hard to comprehend the impact of the Black Death. The "Great Pestilence" is believed to have originated somewhere in Northern Asia in the 1330s before hitting Europe in 1347. It killed an estimated 75 million people worldwide - that's around 25 per cent of all humans in existence at the time. Now in an effort to better understand modern infectious diseases, scientist have sequenced the entire genome of the Black Death.  Read More

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