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 articles: Will the End of… 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 off a furious debate. Leading… 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 that health data, mine it… 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 much is a lot? We could… 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 a chemically-synthesized genome and creation of… 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 about depression turns to the… 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.
Microchimerism results when cells from two genetically distinct populations appear in the same tissue, organ, or individual, such as occurs during an organ transplant or during pregnancy. It has been known… read more
For the last 15 years mystified doctors have been unable to explain the cause for Brooke’s disorder that has kept her aging in check.