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.
COFFEE BREAK NEWS FOR LIFE SCIENTISTS
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.
The world’s first widespread human testing of a universal flu vaccine against influenza has begun in the UK. Rather than focusing on antibody production, the new vaccine stimulates the immune system to boost influenza-specific T-cells and aims to protect the elderly who are particularly susceptible.
Scientists from Stanford discovered that oxytocin is crucial for newly described brain circuitry involved in social interactions. The finding may offer clues to unlock treatment for social aversion, which could help people with depression, schizophrenia, and autism.
One more piece of the protein puzzle was solved when researchers discovered molecular “add-ons” that can customize protein interfaces. They represent a previously unknown fundamental driving principle which ensures that proteins interact in their own specific ways.
Bioengineers from the Californian Institute of Technology developed DNA robots that can autonomously walk, sort, and work together – all at once. The robots are “programmed” to transport molecules into predetermined locations and may provide many intriguing applications in medicine and nanoengineering.
Researchers developed a new method for transforming adult human skin cells directly into motor neurons without the need for stem cells. The technique has the potential to help researchers better understand diseases of motor neurons and could lead to progress in regenerative medicine.