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Legos Are Surprisingly Effective at Explaining Synthetic Biology

The emerging discipline of synthetic biology is poised to change many aspects of our lives, from the production of medicines and bio-fuels through to genetic engineering and the development of completely new biological systems. It’s a technologically daunting prospect, but this video from Grist uses Legos and… » 8/04/15 10:40am 8/04/15 10:40am

You Can Thank Genetic Engineering For Your Delicious Cheese

It used to be that making cheese meant killing cows. Young cows, specifically—a few days old, at most. The stomach of an unweaned calf produces enzymes that turn liquid milk into good, hard, flavorful cheeses like Parmesan and Cheddar. These enzymes, called rennet, are secreted by mucous membranes that line the calf’s… » 6/15/15 11:57am 6/15/15 11:57am

Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR, the New Tool that Edits DNA

CRISPR, a new genome editing tool, could transform the field of biology—and a recent study on genetically-engineered human embryos has converted this promise into media hype. But scientists have been tinkering with genomes for decades. Why is CRISPR suddenly such a big deal?
» 5/06/15 11:40am 5/06/15 11:40am

​Scientists engineer worms to live the equivalent of 500 human years

In an experiment that even caught the researchers by surprise, nematode worms had their lifespans increased by — get this — five times. By tweaking two longevity-related genes, the researchers created an unexpected feedback effect that radically amplified lifespan. The technique could eventually be used to treat… » 12/16/13 2:20pm 12/16/13 2:20pm

Breakthrough technique for cutting and pasting genes into DNA works with human cells

Last year, geneticists developed a new techniquethat allows them directly insert genes into bacterial DNA — or remove them. It was a powerful discovery, one that finally offered researchers a cheap and easy way to remove precise sections of a bacterial genome. And now, MIT researchers led by George Church have proven… » 1/15/13 4:00pm 1/15/13 4:00pm