The pace of progress in science in recent years is remarkable. Mostly, due to the fact that processes which took weeks to complete can now be done in minutes. Therefore, the past year was definitely fruitful for science. Scientists cooperated and even some global scale projects saw the light of day. Splice would like to review the important highlights that made 2017 special.
MIT engineers devised new 3D printing technique that uses ink made from genetically programmed living cells. Printed layer by layer, cells, and nutrients in hydrogel form three-dimensional, interactive structure. They light up in response to a variety of stimuli and turn into living devices.
Scientists managed to add X and Y nucleotide bases to Escherichia coli bacteria’s natural genetic alphabet and create entirely new, synthetic proteins. This is a major step toward creating artificial life but the goal of their study was actually to develop a novel protein-based drug treatments.
Slowing, stopping, or even reversing aging has always been an ongoing topic in science. Now, scientists used the synthetic compound resveratrol, found naturally in chocolate and other consumables, to turn back the biological clock in senescent cells, causing them to start dividing again.
A research group from Singapore has developed a bacterial protein nanoparticle shell which folds and protects recombinant proteins within it. A fundamental breakthrough in the rapidly expanding field of synthetic biology, this technology can improve yields of proteins with biological activity by 100-fold and shield recombinant proteins from heat, harsh chemicals and proteolysis.
The first reference database of the microbes colonizing the planet was constructed by more than 500 scientists. They contributed over 27,000 samples of microbiomes from diverse environments around the globe. The Earth Microbiome Project is a massive global research collaboration that resulted in ‘recapturing’ half of all known bacterial sequences.
Do you ever get that feeling that you would like to have a magic spell to organize all your data?
And once it is organized, wouldn’t it be magnificent if there would be a software that could put together all relevant data from your projects, add some new references and present you with a manuscript draft you can build upon?
Researchers have reached a new milestone in CRISPR technology by building an enzyme that can directly transform a DNA base pair from an A-T to a G-C. It will allow for more precise edits than ever before, opening doors for “DNA surgeries” and correction of mutations that cause human diseases.
Researchers from Singapore have developed a highly precise single-cell sorting alternative to the popular FACS that uses focused sound waves instead of harsher electric fields. Their detection mechanism also shrinks the instrument size, reduces its complexity and substantially lessens costs. In addition, it enables more accurate cell sorting and leaves no damage to target cells.
Researchers from Japan have bred genetically engineered chickens that lay eggs carrying interferon beta, a protein known to fight diseases like cancer and hepatitis. The method could eventually cut the cost of producing this important cancer-fighting agent by 90 percent.