Author : Splice

Sperm

Dramatic Decline in Sperm Counts of Western Men

Sperm concentration among men from Western countries declined by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years. There is a large decrease in sperm quality among men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand a study reports. The even more disturbing fact is that the decline doesn’t seem to be leveling off. If it continues or possibly even increases among men living in these countries, this will be a major problem for fertility and reproduction.

Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)

Harnessing Biotechnology in the Fight Against Snakebite

Snakebite at first glance does not seem to be a problem, which should concern a modern human. Despite numerous achievements in the field of pharmacology, it is however among the most neglected diseases of our era.

Grim statistics provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) show that, each year, 5 million bites occur, leading to 150,000 deaths and a striking 400,000 amputations. The lucky ones who manage to avoid a deadly outcome of snakebite envenoming are often mentally and physically scarred for life.

DNA molecular scissors

New Cpf1 Molecular Scissors to Take Genomic Editing to the Next Level

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) gene editing technology allows permanent modification of genes within organisms. It is considered a breakthrough in biotechnology ever since its discovery.  Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), led by Spanish researcher Guillermo Montoya, now went one step further. They discovered how Cpf1, a new type of molecular scissors, unzip and cleave DNA.

DNA qPCR quantification

qPCR Data Analysis Made Easy

Despite the advancement of new molecular biology techniques like ddPCR or  RNAseq, quantitative PCR (qPCR) is still a golden standard for the quantification of nucleic acids, with applications in diagnostics and research. The method is based on real-time monitoring of amplification of the target DNA allowing its quantification (see basics). Yet, for the method to be quantitative, it has to be done properly.

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