Scientists are unraveling evolutionary mysteries behind the world of spider vision. New findings could provide new gene therapies for people with visual defects like macular degeneration and retinal cancer.
COFFEE BREAK NEWS FOR LIFE SCIENTISTS
Fractures typically mended with metal plates and screws could be replaced with 3D printed ceramic implants in the future. This means that treating severely broken bones could become less painful and more “natural”. The best feature of the new technology is that the implant gradually disappears and transforms into actual bone.
For the second year in a row, life expectancy in the United States declined due to an opioid crisis. Scientists have high hopes for a new opioid vaccine developed by the US military, that shows promising results in mice and rats.
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.
US military financed research groups are finding new ways of treating severe mental illnesses that resist current therapies. They have developed a new single closed-loop system to detect patterns associated with mood disorders and presented the first map of how mood is encoded inside the brain.
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.