DARPA’s new P3 program aims to stop all pandemics dead within 60 days

DARPA’s new P3 program aims to stop all pandemics dead within 60 days

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The increasing threat from bio-terrorism, and the resurgence of new global pandemics such as Ebola, have shown how out dated today’s state of the art vaccine procedures are, DARPA’s new P3 program aims to re-dress the balance.   Over the past several years DARPA funded...

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New gene therapy technique cures deafness in mice

New gene therapy technique cures deafness in mice

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Millions of people around the world suffer from deafness, now scientists might be zero’ing in on a new cure that could change their lives forever.   In 2015, a team at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) reported restoring the hearing in genetically deaf...

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Scientists grow the world’s first human pig chimera

Scientists grow the world’s first human pig chimera

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Over the next few decades self-driving cars could cause a shortage of donor organs, Chimera’s could provide doctors and patients with alternatives.   Sometimes it’s hard to help but wonder what scientists would do with their time if they didn’t have stem cells to experiment...

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Genetically modified super cows are resistant to tuberculosis

Genetically modified super cows are resistant to tuberculosis

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Every year in the UK over 36,000 cattle that contract TB are culled, but now that might end up being a thing of the past.   Tuna and pigs recently got their own slice of emerging technology action by getting their own blockchains, but now...

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Scientists might have found a way to turn Parkinsons on and off

Scientists might have found a way to turn Parkinsons on and off

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF From Parkinsons to Alzheimers, there are millions of people suffering from brain related disorders, now a new field of medicine, called Neuromodulation might let doctors turn these conditions on and off, for good.   Dr. Andres Lozano at the University of Toronto is one of...

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World first as scientists use two new DNA letters to create new “alien” life form

World first as scientists use two new DNA letters to create new “alien” life form

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Life’s DNA has always been coded using just four letters, but now researchers have added two new letters and it opens the door to a whole new world of alien lifeforms never seen before.   Ever since life gained a foothold on this fragile rock...

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Devastating bioweapon or humanity’s saviour? UN green lights the ‘Gene Drive’

Devastating bioweapon or humanity’s saviour? UN green lights the ‘Gene Drive’

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The world’s most powerful genetic technology – one that could cure disease, and at the same time wipe out entire species in the blink of an eye – has just been green lighted by the UN, and now the genies about to come out of...

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New gene editing technique switches off cells ability to repair themselves

New gene editing technique switches off cells ability to repair themselves

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When scientists edit DNA sometimes the cells natural repair mechanism undoes the modification, this new technique prevents that from happening and reduces the side effects of genetic modification   CRISPR, the revolutionary gene editing tool that’s also been dubbed the “Genesis Engine” because of its...

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UK approves designer babies and the first will be born in 2017

UK approves designer babies and the first will be born in 2017

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF By authorising the creation of so called designer babies UK regulators are permitting doctors to use new gene therapy treatments to save, and change, lives, but without proper oversight we could quickly enter the wild west.   Last year the UK changed its laws in order...

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Promising HIV vaccine moves to human trials

Promising HIV vaccine moves to human trials

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF HIV is a stubborn virus and while scientists have managed to “rip” it out of patients noone has yet managed to create a vaccine for it, we’re hoping that is about to change   HIV is a stubborn disease but over the past year scientists...

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The ultimate bioweapon, scientists have developed an Extinction Gene

The ultimate bioweapon, scientists have developed an Extinction Gene

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Scientists now have the knowledge and the tools they need to create, and deliver, Doomsday genes which can selectively target and exterminate entire species.   Here’s a question that occurs only to madmen and geneticists… How do you get a gene that kills a species...

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DARPA wants to use genetically modified bugs to rejuvenate dead and dying crops

DARPA wants to use genetically modified bugs to rejuvenate dead and dying crops

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Global food production is already being stretched by Earths growing population with the price of staple foods increasing by over 20% in just the past few years alone, as a consequence companies, governments and institutions are looking for new ways to increase yields in a...

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Chinese researchers trial the worlds first cancer vaccine on humans

Chinese researchers trial the worlds first cancer vaccine on humans

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The CRISPR gene editing technique is being used to create everything from new forms of life that are resistant to every known virus on Earth to vaccines for cancer, it will, and is already, revolutionising life and wellbeing   In July this year a team...

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Photosynthesis breakthrough crams millions of years of plant evolution into months

Photosynthesis breakthrough crams millions of years of plant evolution into months

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Scientists have used gene editing to turn off specific plant genes to boost plant growth by 15%, if transplanted into rice, maize and wheat this could help reduce famine and hunger in the world without the need to use extra fertilisers or chemicals.   Scientists...

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Modern farmers grow bacteria to grow better crops

Modern farmers grow bacteria to grow better crops

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Traditional chemical intensive farming methods change the ecology of our planet on a massive scale, by moving from chemicals to mocrobials farmers might be able to grow better crops, more productively and more sustainably.   In the back of Indigo’s Boston headquarters, a start up whose...

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Brazil releases billions of genetically modified Mosquitos to combat Zika

Brazil releases billions of genetically modified Mosquitos to combat Zika

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There will always be questions about the viability and impact of releasing genetically modified organisms into our environment but with billions of mosquitos being released it might already be a moot point   Every Saturday morning, Maria do Carmo Tunussi goes door to door asking...

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Top scientists met in secret to discuss creating the first artificial humans

Top scientists met in secret to discuss creating the first artificial humans

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Synthetic biology opens the door for custom designed humans whose only parents are a computer.   Scientists can already produce viable artificial human eggs and sperm but earlier this month they took everything one step further when an invite only group of about 150 experts convened...

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Inside Ginkgo, the gene factory where robots help make new weird synthetic organisms

Inside Ginkgo, the gene factory where robots help make new weird synthetic organisms

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Creating new lifeforms sounds like fun and they taste great too.   Raising glasses of genetically modified beer, the synthetic biologists at Ginkgo Bioworks celebrated the launch of their new automated lab last month and you can take a virtual tour of their facility here. By...

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Worlds first designer baby is born in Mexico and has three parents

Worlds first designer baby is born in Mexico and has three parents

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Now that we have access to advanced gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR, it is inevitable that we will progressively use these technologies to edit the human genome and create genetically altered human beings.   The world’s first baby to be born from a new...

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Researchers cut HIV genes out of living cells using CRISPR

Researchers cut HIV genes out of living cells using CRISPR

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF One day researchers hope they can do the same in Humans.   In a world first, scientists led by Kamel Khalili, director of the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at Temple University, report in the journal Gene Therapy that they have for the first time successfully eliminated...

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