US military genetics program to turn marine life into giant living sensor networks

US military genetics program to turn marine life into giant living sensor networks

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As we learn more about the genetic code and how to modify it organisations around the world are starting to look into new ways of turning nature to their advantage.   A few months ago I wrote about how DARPA, the bleeding edge research arm...

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Birth of genetically engineered twins resistant to HIV causes global outrage

Birth of genetically engineered twins resistant to HIV causes global outrage

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Imagine growing old and never experiencing what it’s like to be ill because you were genetically engineered in the womb to be resistant to all known pathogens and viruses, technology is starting to make that a reality.   A little while ago I wrote about...

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Solar panels made from cyborg bacteria promise even cheaper energy

Solar panels made from cyborg bacteria promise even cheaper energy

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Cyborg bacteria could be used to replace today’s silicon solar panels with higher efficiency, lower cost panels that help accelerate the renewable energy revolution.   Although most life on Earth relies upon photosynthesis as its sole source of energy, the process has a weak link...

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Scientists are creating next generation vaccines that are contagious

Scientists are creating next generation vaccines that are contagious

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The way that we vaccinate people today is, arguably, outmoded, but the next generation of vaccines that are being produced could be contagious and that could change health, and healthcare, forever.   What if you never got ill again? Ever. I’m not talking about not...

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Space adventurers could be the first true ‘Designer humans’

Space adventurers could be the first true ‘Designer humans’

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Space is the harshest environment known to man and the idea of creating the world’s first genetically altered humans who can survive its extremes “naturally” without the need to take their artificial environments with them is gaining traction.   At last year’s International Astronautical Congress in...

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An extinction gene and glowing mice help scientists eradicate invasive species

An extinction gene and glowing mice help scientists eradicate invasive species

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The question of whether or not to use gene drives, an extinction technology, to eradicate pests and invasive species is divisive but it looks set to get the go ahead.   Scientists working with US conservation group Island Conservation say they’ve managed to establish an...

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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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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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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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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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Scientists lay out plans to build an artificial human genome by 2036

Scientists lay out plans to build an artificial human genome by 2036

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF When scientists can create artificial genomes they will be able to create new designer organisms, and humans, with entirely new, engineered properties and abilities.   Scientists have put forward plans for a follow up to the Human Genome Project (HGP) with a proposal to create...

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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

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 privately in London behind closed doors where...

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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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Geneticists are creating a new form of life that is resistant to all known viruses

Geneticists are creating a new form of life that is resistant to all known viruses

Geneticists are now capable of creating new forms of life that are completely resistant to all known viruses Geneticists have made a step forward in ‘recoding’ the genome as we know it, replacing 62,214 DNA base pairs in a synthetic E. coli genome and recoding genomes so extensively that it...

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