Category : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENETICS

Euphorbia resinifera

An Extra-Spicy Plant Could Help End the Opioid Crisis

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.

stream

Bugs on Drugs: Devastating Effects of Pharmaceutical Pollution

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.

repelent surface

“Smart” Surfaces That Repel Harmful Microorganisms

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.

water

Genetically Engineered Viruses Seek and Destroy E. coli in Drinking Water

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.

DNA

Scientists Squeeze Entire Yeast Genome into Just One Chromosome

Two separate research groups used CRISPR gene editing to fuse entire sets of brewer’s yeast chromosomes together, resulting in two strains with just one and two chromosomes. Surprisingly, the changes had little effect on most functions of the yeast. Their findings could be monumental to the study of chromosomes and why their numbers vary from species to species.