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Biotechnology

Category: Biotechnology

Researchers from the General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (GPI RAS) and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have developed a new biosensor test system based on magnetic nanoparticles. It is designed to provide highly accurate measurements of the concentration of protein molecules (e.g. markers, which indicate the onset or development of a disease) in various samples, including opaque solutions or strongly coloured liquids.

In a discovery that may lead to ways to prevent frost on airplane parts, condenser coils, and even windshields, a team of researchers led by Virginia Tech has used chemical micropatterns to control the growth of frost caused by condensation.

Bethesda, MD - Genome engineering is a rapidly growing discipline that seeks to develop new technologies for the precise manipulation of genes and genomes in cellula and in vivo. In addition to its utility for advancing our understanding of basic biology, genome engineering has numerous real-world applications, ranging from correction of disease-causing mutations in humans to engineering plants that better provide fuel, food and industrial raw materials. The first clinical trials and patient treatments using genome engineering approaches are now a reality. The scope of this meeting is expansive, encompassing multiple approaches for modifying genomes - from transgenesis and gene targeting to the creation of synthetic genomes. The experimental models featured include bacteria, fungi, model organisms (e.g.-- Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish, mice, rats), plants, humans, and animals including livestock. We anticipate that this diversity of approaches and experimental systems will create a stimulating meeting environment that will enable new insights and advance the field.


A transmission electron microscope image of ribbonfish skin shows random arrangements of crystalline quinine embedded in cytoplasm (a). The arrangement of crystal layers reflects light across a broad spectrum.
A nature-inspired method to model the reflection of light from the skin of silvery fish and other organisms may be possible, according to Penn State researchers.


Green spots observed in cells indicate successful insertion of the foreign fluorescent protein gene by the PITCh system.
A streamlined protocol for an alternative gene insertion method using genome editing technologies, the PITCh (Precise Integration into Target Chromosome) system, has been reported in Nature Protocols by Specially Appointed Lecturer Tetsushi Sakuma, Professor Takashi Yamamoto, Specially Appointed Associate Professor Ken-Ichi T Suzuki, and their colleagues at Hiroshima University, Japan.


'Ours is the first rolling DNA motor, making it far faster and more robust,' says Khalid Salaita, the Emory University chemist who led he research.
Physical chemists have devised a rolling DNA-based motor that's 1,000 times faster than any other synthetic DNA motor, giving it potential for real-world applications, such as disease diagnostics. Nature Nanotechnology is publishing the finding.


Slaymaker and Gao et al. used structural knowledge of Cas9 to guide engineering of a highly specific genome editing tool.
Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on "off-target" editing errors. The refined technique addresses one of the major technical issues in the use of genome editing.


These are fluorescently labeled polarized Upcyte hepatocytes.
In new research appearing in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, an international research team led by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem describes a new technique for growing human hepatocytes in the laboratory. This groundbreaking development could help advance a variety of liver-related research and applications, from studying drug toxicity to creating bio-artificial liver support for patients awaiting transplantations.

RMIT University in Melbourne has worked with a medical device company and a neurosurgeon to successfully create a 3D printed vertebral cage for a patient with severe back pain.

Cornell biomedical engineers have developed specialized white blood cells - dubbed "super natural killer cells" - that seek out cancer cells in lymph nodes with only one purpose: destroy them. This breakthrough halts the onset of metastasis, according to a new Cornell study published this month in the journal Biomaterials.


Plant Breeding Institute's Principal Research Fellow, Associate Professor Harbans Bariana, is demonstrating the issue of wheat rust.
A gene that can prevent some of the most important wheat diseases has been identified--creating the potential to save more than a billion dollars in lost production in Australia alone each year.

While there are no cures for neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, many researchers believe that one could be found in neural stem cells. Unfortunately, scientists do not yet have a full understanding of how these cells behave and differentiate, which has put a roadblock in the path to potential life-saving treatments.

University of Birmingham (UK) scientists have created a plant that rejects its own pollen or pollen of close relatives, according to research published in the journal Science today (5 November 2015).

Scientists have shown for the first time that tumour DNA shed into the bloodstream can be used to track cancers in real time as they evolve and respond to treatment, according to a new Cancer Research UK study published in the journal Nature Communications today (Wednesday).

A DNA sample thought to show prehistoric trade in cereals is most likely from modern wheat, according to new research led by the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology.

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has shown that a method they developed to improve the usefulness and precision of the most common form of the gene-editing tools CRISPR-Cas9 RNA-guided nucleases can be applied to Cas9 enzymes from other bacterial sources. In a paper receiving advance online publication in Nature Biotechnology, the team reports evolving a variant of SaCas9 - the Cas9 enzyme from the Streptococcus aureus bacteria - that recognizes a broader range of nucleotide sequences, allowing targeting of genomic sites previously inaccessible to CRISPR-Cas9 technology.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a nanoscale machine made of DNA that can randomly walk in any direction across bumpy surfaces. Future applications of such a DNA walker might include a cancer detector that could roam the human body searching for cancerous cells and tagging them for medical imaging or drug targeting.


Brent Opell, a professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate, collects a portion of a spider web.
A taut tug on the line signals the arrival of dinner, and the leggy spider dashes across the web to find a tasty squirming insect. The spider, known as an orb weaver, must perfectly execute this moment, from a lightning-fast reaction to an artfully spun web glistening with sticky glue.


The Brazilian lancehead is one of several South American pit vipers that produce venom that has proven to be a powerful blood coagulant.
A nanofiber hydrogel infused with snake venom may be the best material to stop bleeding quickly, according to Rice University scientists.

In a novel use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system, which can be deployed to switch genes off, researchers from Germany, the UK and Spain have developed a multiplexed screening approach to study and model cancer development in mice. The scientists mutated genes in the adult mouse liver uncovering their cancer-causing roles and determining which combinations of genes cooperate to cause liver cancer.


New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases.
New research may revolutionize the slow, cumbersome and expensive process of detecting the antibodies that can help with the diagnosis of infectious and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV. An international team of researchers have designed and synthetized a nanometer-scale DNA "machine" whose customized modifications enable it to recognize a specific target antibody. Their new approach, which they described this month in Angewandte Chemie, promises to support the development of rapid, low-cost antibody detection at the point-of-care, eliminating the treatment initiation delays and increasing healthcare costs associated with current techniques.

EPFL scientists have developed a new DNA stain that can be used to image living cells.


This hybrid device integrates a microfluidic chip for sample preparation and an optofluidic chip for optical detection of individual molecules of viral RNA.
A team led by researchers at UC Santa Cruz has developed chip-based technology for reliable detection of Ebola virus and other viral pathogens. The system uses direct optical detection of viral molecules and can be integrated into a simple, portable instrument for use in field situations where rapid, accurate detection of Ebola infections is needed to control outbreaks.

The ultra-stable properties of the proteins that allow deep-diving whales to remain active while holding their breath for up to two hours could help Rice University biochemist John Olson and his colleagues finish a 20-year quest to create lifesaving synthetic blood for human trauma patients.

The CRISPR-Cas9 system has been in the limelight mainly as a revolutionary genome engineering tool used to modify specific gene sequences within the vast sea of an organism's DNA. Cas9, a naturally occurring protein in the immune system of certain bacteria, acts like a pair of molecular scissors to precisely cut or edit specific sections of DNA. More recently, however, scientists have also begun to use CRISPR-Cas9 variants as gene regulation tools to reversibly turn genes on or off at whim.

Advances in 3-D printing have led to new ways to make bone and some other relatively simple body parts that can be implanted in patients. But finding an ideal bio-ink has stalled progress toward printing more complex tissues with versatile functions -- tissues that can be loaded with pharmaceuticals, for example. Now scientists, reporting in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, have developed a silk-based ink that could open up new possibilities toward that goal.


Scientists have developed a method, using a double layer of lipids, which facilitates the assembly of DNA origami units, bringing us one-step closer to DNA nanomachines.
Scientists have been studying ways to use synthetic DNA as a building block for smaller and faster devices. DNA has the advantage of being inherently "coded". Each DNA strand is formed of one of four "codes" that can link to only one complementary code each, thus binding two DNA strands together. Scientists are using this inherent coding to manipulate and "fold" DNA to form "origami nanostructures": extremely small two- and three-dimensional shapes that can then be used as construction material to build nanodevices such as nanomotors for use in targeted drug delivery inside the body.

The study, published today at Nature Methods (the most prestigious journal for the presentation of results in methods development), proposes the use of two plant protein epitopes, named inntags, as the most innocuous and stable tagging tools in the study of physical and functional interactions of proteins.

A UCSF-led team has developed a technique to build tiny models of human tissues, called organoids, more precisely than ever before using a process that turns human cells into a biological equivalent of LEGO bricks. These mini-tissues in a dish can be used to study how particular structural features of tissue affect normal growth or go awry in cancer. They could be used for therapeutic drug screening and to help teach researchers how to grow whole human organs.


This is a composite image of a growing experimental mustard plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, along with a luminescence-based image of the root system of the same plant.
Plants form a vast network of below-ground roots that search soil for needed resources. The structure and function of this root network can be highly adapted to particular environments such as desert soils where plants like Mesquite develop tap roots capable of digging 50 meters deep to capture precious water resources. Excavation of root systems reveals these kinds of adaptations but is laborious, time consuming, and does not provide information on how growing roots behave.

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