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Biotechnology


Latest significant advancements in biotechnology. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of biotechnology on society and humanity.

What Makes People Distrust Science? Surprisingly, Not Politics

Today, there is a crisis of trust in science. Many people—including politicians and, yes, even presidents—publicly express doubts about the validity of scientific findings. Meanwhile, scientific institutions and journals express their concerns about the...

Pioneering Stem Cell Trial Seeks to Cure Babies Before Birth

Even before she was born, Elianna Constantino had already cheated death. Elianna has a rare inherited blood disorder called alpha thalassemia major, which prevents her red blood cells from forming properly. The disease, which has...

How Cyanobacteria Could Help Save the Planet

It’s very easy to forget that complex life on Earth almost missed the boat entirely. As the Sun’s luminosity gradually increases, the oceans will boil away, and the planet will no longer be in...

5 Sci-Fi Books Biotech Geeks Should Read Right Now

From space colonization to resurrection of dinosaurs to machine intelligence, the most awe-inspiring visions of humanity’s future are typically born from science fiction. But among an abundance of time travel, superheroes, space adventures, and so...

Microbes in Space: Bioengineered Bugs Could Help Colonize New Planets

As humans spread out into the cosmos in search of life, the most alien organisms we encounter may be those we bring with us. Researchers at NASA and elsewhere are engineering microbes so they...

Living Neanderthal ‘Mini-Brains’ May Reveal What Makes Our Brains Special

He isolated DNA from Egyptian mummies. He discovered the Denisovans, an extinct ancient human species, by sequencing DNA from a tiny bone fragment. He led a massive study that reconstructed the Neanderthal genome—and found...

CRISPR-on-a-Chip For Diagnosing Cancer May Soon Be a Thing

Oh CRISPR, how you’ve grown. From an obscure part of the bacterial immune defense system, you’re now on track to cure genetic diseases, thwart superbugs, boost global food production, and wipe out disease-carrying pests. And...

Mini-Brains Just Grew Their Own Blood Vessels—Here’s Why That’s Great News

If you ever put a brain through a Picasso filter, you’d probably get something close to a brain ball. When brain balls first hit the neuroscience scene in 2013, they were just a curious oddity....

This Memory Prosthesis Boosts Recall in Humans by Roughly 40 Percent

This one’s for the books: in a jaw-dropping study, a team just turned the human brain from a read-only memory device to a rewritable one. "What?" you might ask. Of course the brain is rewritable....

Artificial Photosynthesis Is Solar Energy’s Forgotten Cousin—and It’s Making a Comeback

In an article in Science published in 1912, Professor Giacomo Ciamician noted that “Coal… offers solar energy to humanity in its most concentrated form… but coal is not inexhaustible. Is fossil solar energy the...

The Biggest Tech Takeaways From the 2018 World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland wrapped up last week. The WEF exists to improve the state of the world by fostering cooperation between governments, NGOs, and the private sector. In...

Enzyme Designed Entirely From Scratch Opens a World of Biological Possibility

Ann Donnelly was utterly confused the first time she examined her protein. On all counts, it behaved like an enzyme—a protein catalyst that speeds up biological reactions in cells. One could argue that enzymes,...

Chinese Scientists Just Cloned a Monkey—Here Are the Details

In 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be cloned from a somatic cell. Twenty years later, scientists have succeeded in using the same technique on primates—as detailed in a study published...

If We Could Engineer Animals to Be as Smart as Humans—Should We?

Advances in neural implants and genetic engineering suggest that in the not-too-distant future we may be able to boost human intelligence. If that’s true, could we—and should we—bring our animal cousins along for the...

New Research Suggests Immunity to CRISPR Gene Editing Poses a Challenge

CRISPR-Cas9 is the talk of the town in biotechnology. There is a huge amount of public interest in the possibilities provided by this new genome editing technology, and many are hoping CRISPR could eventually...

Why the World Is Still Getting Better—and That’s Likely to Continue

If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s finite resources can easily lead you...

There’s Healing Power in the Secret Electrical Language of Our Cells

Why can we heal a wound, but not grow back a severed limb? Michael Levin thinks the key lies in the secret electrical language our cells use to talk to one another, and he...

The Enormous Promise and Peril of Bioengineering’s Pandora’s Box

We’re standing on the threshold of extraordinary capability in synthetic biology. CRISPR-Cas9, the genome editing technique discovered in 2014, is at the forefront of this newfound potential for innovation. These advancements provide an opportunity...

These Bacteria Use New DNA Bases to Make a Protein Not Found in Nature

All of nature’s bewildering complexity can be reduced to a four letter code—DNA’s four bases: A, T, C, and G. But now scientists have shown the language at the heart of life is not...

5 Wild Biotech Products That Will Touch Our Lives in the Near Future

From cultured meat to a “MicrobeMiner” for antibiotics and liquid biocomputers, a new wave of consumer biotechnology products is transforming the world — and your shopping cart. From inside the world’s largest pre-seed life sciences accelerator,...

This ‘Living Touch Screen’ Is Made out of Bacteria and Gold

When it comes to touch screen devices, “grow” isn’t the first verb that comes to mind. After all, smartphones and their silicon-based inorganic brethren are built. Growing, in contrast, is a superpower that graces...

Does Our Survival Depend on Relentless Exponential Growth?

Malthus had a fever dream in the 1790s. While the world was marveling in the first manifestations of modern science and technology and the industrial revolution that was just beginning, he was concerned. He...
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Now That Anyone Can Hack Biology—Should We Be Afraid?

Biohacking is a relatively new field of amateur and professional scientists conducting “do-it-yourself” biology experiments. The word “hacking”may bring up images of cybercrime, but the majority of biohacking projects are focused on helping society as...

This Radical New Method Regenerates Failing Lungs With Blood Vessels Intact

Save for the occasional burning pain that accompanies a run, most people don't pay much attention to the two-leafed organ puffing away in our chests. But lungs are feats of engineering wonder: with over 40...
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Tech-X-Planations | Introducing a New Original Weekly Video Series

We’ve all name-dropped a new technology that sounds awesome—like CRISPR/Cas9—without really knowing the basics. This is why we’ve created Tech-x-planations, Singularity Hub’s new weekly video series that explores fundamental ideas in science, technology, and the...

This Chip Uses Electricity to Reprogram Cells for Healing

It sounds like science fiction: with a light zap of electricity, a tiny stamp-like device transforms your skin cells into reservoirs of blood vessels or brain cells, ready to heal you from within. Recently, a...

3D Printed Blood Vessels Offer New Possibilities for Testing Drugs

Bioprinting enthusiasts envision a future where we’ll be able to print functional human organs on demand, putting an end to transplant waiting lists and health problems and deaths related to organ failure. That future isn’t...
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Biotechnology | Future of Everything With Jason Silva (Part 4)

In the latest installment of Singularity University’s new web series, Future of Everything With Jason Silva, Silva discusses the digitization of biology. The world has been transformed by information technology. Billion dollar businesses have formed out of...

Biocomputers Made From Cells Can Now Handle More Complex Logic

When it comes to biomolecules, RNA doesn’t get a lot of love. Maybe you haven’t even heard of the silent workhorse. RNA is the cell’s de facto translator: like a game of telephone, RNA takes...

The Age of Cyborgs Has Arrived

How many cyborgs did you see during your morning commute today? I would guess at least five. Did they make you nervous? Probably not; you likely didn’t even realize they were there. In a presentation...

To Design the Perfect Drone, Follow Nature’s Lead

Nature has found some elegant solutions to complicated problems and engineers have long been inspired by its designs. But Adrian Thomas thinks translating the best of nature’s discoveries into man-made devices requires the ability...

New Film ‘Food Evolution’ Takes on One of the Most Polarizing Scientific Topics

One Tuesday morning, as his family bustled around the house getting ready for the day, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s phone lit up with a text message from his neighbor. “Can I borrow some organic milk?”...

A Living Hard Drive: This GIF Was Stored in the DNA of Bacteria

DNA is a hugely promising medium for storing data. Consider that a cell nucleus can hold the instructions for an organism as complex as a human. So far efforts to store non-genetic data in...

‘Biological Teleportation’ Edges Closer With Craig Venter’s Digital-to-Biological Converter

The year is 2030. In a high-security containment lab, scientists gathered around a towering machine, eagerly awaiting the first look at a newly discovered bacterium on Mars. With a series of beeps, the machine—a digital-to-biological...

Designing Antiviral Proteins via Computer Could Help Halt the Next Pandemic

As Bill Gates sees it, there are three main threats to our species: nuclear war, climate change, and the next global pandemic. Speaking on pandemic preparedness at the Munich Security Conference earlier this year, Gates...
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​​Ray Kurzweil: Our Health Is About to Be Radically Transformed

Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, thinker, and futurist famous for forecasting the pace of technology and predicting the world of tomorrow. In this video, Kurzweil dives into the exciting and quick-moving field of biotechnology. Ever...

Here Are the Microsurgeons That Will Soon Roam Our Bodies

On a crisp fall evening in 2006, Dr. Sylvain Martel held his breath as a technician slipped an anesthetized pig into a whirling fMRI machine. His eyes stared intently at a computer screen, which...

7 Big Tech Trends That Are Changing the Way We Make Things

Manufacturing is dirty, dull, and outmoded. It’s a slow-moving industry stuck in the past as new technologies out of Silicon Valley threaten to upend it. Stereotypes are fun, and misleading. Let’s not forget manufacturing is...

3D Printed Medical Implants That Fit the Body Perfectly Are on the Way

Bioprinting new organs and tissues could make transplants available and affordable for all, but is still decades away. In the meantime, scientists have re-purposed the technology to 3D print biocompatible high-precision silicone implants instead. Soft...

These Cells Are Engineered to Be Controlled by a Smartphone

To Dr. Mark Gomelsky, a professor at the University of Wyoming, genetically engineered therapeutic cells are like troops on a mission. The first act is training. Using genetic editing tools such as CRISPR, scientists can...

Scientists Create the Most Successful Artificial Womb Yet

Among modern medicine's achievements, one of the most dramatic has been a steep reduction in infant mortality. Yet, even today, there are exceptions. Babies born prematurely often have to battle to stay alive. Our best...

Scientists Hacked a Cell’s DNA and Made a Biocomputer Out of It

Our brains are often compared to computers, but in truth, the billions of cells in our bodies may be a better analogy. The squishy sacks of goop may seem a far cry from rigid...

The Weird World of Cyborg Animals Is Here

Roboticists frequently turn to nature for inspiration for their inventions, reverse engineering the traits that evolution has developed over millennia. Others are taking a shortcut by simply integrating modern technology with living animals. The idea...

Long Extinct Species to Be Revived in the Lab With Powerful New Tools

Bringing extinct species back to life isn’t a science fiction fantasy anymore, even if the technology isn’t quite ready for prime time. The newest buzz around the topic of de-extinction is actually a revival of...

How Fully Synthetic Complex Life Just Got a Lot Closer

From domestication to selective breeding and right up to DNA editing, humans have long sought to bend the genetic makeup of animals and plants to our needs. Now an international team has taken a...

3 Exciting Biotech Trends to Watch Closely in 2017

As I start to look at the emerging trends of 2017 from the vantage of IndieBio, where we see hundreds of biotech startup applications and technologies per year, a few key themes are already emerging....

Are We Ready for Cyborgs? The Tech Is on Its Way

Are we ready for cyborgs? More specifically, people with implants that enhance beyond the superficially cosmetic and into the realms of evolved beings? Jorge Pelegrín-Borondo (Universidad de La Rioja), Eva Reinares-Lara (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)...

Would You Want a Dog That Was Genetically Engineered to Be Healthier?

“Dogs have more genetic diseases than any other species on the planet.” David Ishee told me this early in our conversation. His claim makes sense: there’s no other animal that humans have purposefully bred...

5 of the World’s Strangest Creatures Aren’t Just Weird—They’re Really Useful Too

Living life on the edge isn’t just a motto for extreme athletes. Our planet is literally crawling with organisms that have somehow adapted to living in extreme environments, from the frigid waters surrounding Antarctica to...

This One-Cent Lab-on-a-Chip Can Diagnose Cancer and Infections

  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. —Arthur C Clarke Medical diagnostics often feels like magic to me. With just a few drops of blood, doctors can quickly decipher a patient’s general health status—are biomarker...

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