The idea of storing digital data in DNA seems like science fiction. At first glance, it might not seem obvious that a molecule can store… read more
Five years ago, we wrote about a team of Japanese scientists who predicted they would successfully clone a woolly mammoth within five years. So, why… read more
For nearly nine decades, science’s favorite explanation for the origin of life has been the “primordial soup.” This is the idea that life began from… read more
This is the last in a four-part series looking at the big ideas in Ray Kurzweil’s book The Singularity Is Near. Be sure to read the other… read more
In April 2015, a paper by Chinese scientists about their attempts to edit the DNA of a human embryo rocked the scientific world and set… read more
Machine learning and data science will do more to improve healthcare than all the biological sciences combined. This post is about how we’re going to gather… read more
The blueprint of every living thing on the planet is encoded in DNA. We know the stuff can hold a lot of information. But how… read more
In the decade or so since the Human Genome Project was completed, synthetic biology has grown rapidly. Impressive advances include the first bacteria to use… read more
With the recent and highly publicized death of actor Robin Williams, depression is once again making national headlines. And for good reason. Usually, the conversation… read more
What causes human to age? A study published recently provides a tool that may help future researchers answer that question. It’s a biological clock that can date the age of a cell by measuring methylation, a chemical modification that affects certain parts of DNA. Using the clock, any piece of tissue identified with the biological age of its human source.
Technology has always ridden far out ahead of the laws that govern it. As the pace accelerates, that gap may widen. The US Patent Office issued the first patent on a gene thirty years ago. Tens of thousands of patents later and amid growing uncertainty about the patentability of genes, the issue was heard by the US Supreme Court earlier this year. On June 13th, the court ruled against biotech firm, Myriad, saying the company may not patent isolation of naturally ocurring genes. However, the court upheld patents of synthetically created genes, known as complementary DNA or cDNA.
Only about two percent of the human genome contains genes. The other 98 percent has been likened to cosmology’s dark matter that fills the space between stars – there’s a lot of it, but nobody really know what it does.