Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new technique for shaping structures out of strands of DNA (DNA origami). In the game of tic-tac-toe on a DNA board, they reshaped an already-constructed DNA structure. The technology could be used to develop more sophisticated nanomachines with reconfigurable parts.
A 1 in 10 chance of surviving – these are the odds victims are facing after being stung by the highly venomous Gadim Scorpion. It alone is responsible for up to 67% of the scorpion-related deaths in Iran. And with Iran being among the top countries in the world most affected by scorpion-related envenomation, these numbers are alarming.
Last year, millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis. Stanford researchers have found that information people receive not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk.
A research group from the University of California has discovered that a diet supplemented with seaweed could lessen the huge amounts of greenhouse gases emitted by cows and sheep. Even when small amounts of seaweed were added to the feed, the cows’ methane production was cut by nearly 60%. If researchers figure out how to grow enough of the red algae, an enormous change could be observed in the future.
Researchers have taken an interest in a euphorbia plant growing in Marocco as a possible painkiller. The plant’s active ingredient, resiniferatoxin (RTX), is extremely spicy, a 10,000 times hotter than the world’s hottest pepper. RTX is a potent analog of capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilli peppers, and has numerous benefits over existing painkillers. It doesn’t require frequent dosing, targets only the areas causing pain, and doesn’t produce a potentially addictive high. All this makes it a promising candidate for the clinics.
An international team of researchers detected a vast sixty-nine pharmaceutical compounds in stream insects. When these insects emerge as flying adults, they can pass these drugs further to spiders, fish, birds, bats, and other streamside foragers. This way, drug pollution moves up food webs and in some cases exposes even top predators to therapeutically-effective doses.
Researchers from McMaster University in Canada have engineered “smart” surface coatings that can repel almost everything, including bacteria, viruses, and living cells. A new feature of this technology is the possibility of modifying the coating to permit beneficial exceptions. These surfaces create the promise of safer implants and more accurate diagnostic tests.
Food scientists from Cornell University have developed a test for rapid detection of E. coli in drinking water using genetically-engineered bacteriophages. It can be administered locally in hard-to-reach areas around the world and provides results within hours. Obtaining quick and accurate results is a current bottleneck in preventing infection and could save many.
Researchers from Stanford have identified human skeletal stem cells that become bone, cartilage, or stroma. Cells were recovered from fetal and adult bone marrow and were also derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. This discovery will open up new therapeutic possibilities.
Australian researchers have shown for the first time that laser therapy can be used to alter the population of gut bacteria in mice. The findings, if confirmed in humans, could help in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes.