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Biotechnology


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

Scientists Unearth Key Evolutionary Link in Proteins

Researchers recently made an important discovery in protein science that will advance our understanding of the inner workings of cells. In an article published in Scientific Reports, the team said they found a critical evolutionary link between a protein’s...

Is the World Ready for Synthetic Life? Scientists Plan to Create Whole Genomes

Last weekend, an invite-only group of about 150 experts convened privately at Harvard. Behind closed doors, they discussed the prospect of designing and building an entire human genome from scratch, using only a computer,...

How the Hidden Mathematics of Living Cells Could Help Us Decipher the Brain

Given how much they can actually do, computers have a surprisingly simple basis. Indeed, the logic they use has worked so well that we have even started to think of them as analogous to...
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How the National Science Foundation Is Catalyzing the Future of Manufacturing

Visit Singularity Hub for the latest from the frontiers of manufacturing and technology as we bring you coverage of Singularity University's Exponential Manufacturing Summit. Technological progress often results from the flow between institutions driving cutting edge...
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The Personal Factory Is Here—and It Will Bring a Wild New Era of Invention

Visit Singularity Hub for the latest from the frontiers of manufacturing and technology as we bring you coverage of Singularity University's Exponential Manufacturing summit. The software startup launching out of a garage or a dorm room...

Fighting Developing World Disease With AI, Robotics, and Biotech

While CRISPR, nanobots and head transplants are making headlines as medical breakthroughs, a number of new technologies are also making progress tackling some of the toughest age-old diseases still plaguing millions of people in...

How Scientists Are Hacking Biology to Build at the Molecular Scale

The long vision of nanotechnology suggests tiny robot “assemblers” will swarm unseen in the air, water, and even our bodies, building anything from the atoms up. It's a wild thought and still (mostly) a dream. But looked...

Meet the Nanomachines That Could Drive a Medical Revolution

A group of physicists recently built the smallest engine ever created from just a single atom. Like any other engine it converts heat energy into movement — but it does so on a smaller scale...

Ray Kurzweil Predicts Three Technologies Will Define Our Future

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 Moore’s Law Halt...

Why We Should Teach Kids to Code Biology, Not Just Software

Almost ten years ago, Freeman Dyson ventured a wild forecast:  “I predict that the domestication of biotechnology will dominate our lives during the next fifty years at least as much as the domestication of...

CRISPR Dispute Raises Bigger Patent Issues That We’re Not Talking About

The worlds of science, technology and patent law eagerly await the U.S. government’s decision on who deserves patents on what many have referred to as the biotechnology invention of the century: the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing...

The Next Water Crisis Is Looming—How Can Tech Help?

Have you ever wondered if the water in your house is safe to drink? While many have been angered by the news that children in Flint, Michigan were exposed to abnormally high amounts of...

How to Speak to the Dead: Gather Their DNA For Science

DNA sequencing of the deceased could lead to a number of advances in health care. A group of scientists in Denmark have launched a proposal to create the world’s first national necrogenomic database. The...

This Amazing Computer Chip Is Made of Live Brain Cells

A few years ago, researchers from Germany and Japan were able to simulate one percent of human brain activity for a single second. It took the processing power of one of the world’s most...

US Bets $100 Million on Machines That Think More Like Humans

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the dusty surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, it was a victory for NASA and a victory for...

Eye on the Cure: Can Algae Genes Restore Vision in First Optogenetics Human Trial?

In the next month, scientists from RetroSense Therapeutics will inject a virus deep into the retina of legally blind human volunteers. The virus will carry what is perhaps the most monumental payload in modern neuroscience...

All the Brain-Boosting Goodness of Exercise…in a Pill?

Lets face it: Love it or hate it, exercise is good for our brains. Feeling stressed? Hit the trails: running boosts the fight-or-flight brain chemical norepinephrine and enhances our body’s ability to respond to stress....

This Remarkable Robot Hand Is Worthy of Luke Skywalker

Most of today's robot hands can perform easy tasks. They’re uber-practical grippers, simple and useful. But is it really so much to ask for robotic masterworks as dextrous as Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand in Star Wars?...

Inside SU’s First Salon: Lab-Grown Organs, Cybersecurity, and AI Music Apps

“We will find new things everywhere we look.” –Hunter S. Thompson At the rate of 21st century technological innovation, each year brings new breakthroughs across industries. Advances in quantum computers, human genome sequencing for under...

UK Will Use CRISPR on Human Embryos — a Step Closer to Human Genome Editing

"It is human nature and inevitable in my view that we will edit our genomes for enhancements.” —J. Craig Venter This week, Kathy Niakan, a biologist working at the Francis Crick Institute in London received the...

Ready to Change the World? Apply Now for Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program

I’m putting out the call for brilliant entrepreneurs who want to enroll in Singularity University’s GSP (Global Solutions Program). The GSP is where you’ll take your existing startup idea, or a new one you create,...

Blind Woman Receives Bionic Eye, Reads a Clock With Elation

Recently, the BBC broadcast the reaction of Rhian Lewis, a 49-year-old blind mother of two, as she read a clock correctly using her right eye for the first time in 16 years. Lewis was understandably...

Check Out This Gravity-Defying Robot That Zips Up Vertical Walls

When robots were still largely the domain of science fiction, their most common shape was human (more or less)—two legs, two arms, one head. Now that we’ve actually begun building them, robot-kind has been...

From Bosons to Bigfoot: 6 Science Mysteries That Might Be Solved in 2016

From the origin of life to the fate of the universe, there’s plenty scientists simply don’t know. But they are making progress. 2015 has been a great year for science: we’ve seen the agreement...

Printable Organs Are Closer Than Ever Thanks to Three Bioprinting Breakthroughs

Over the next few weeks, while browsing cuties on the dating app, Tinder, you may find an image of a celebrity with an ‘organ donor’ icon next to their photo. By swiping right (usually...

A Big Year for Biotech: Bugs as Drugs, Precision Gene Editing, and Fake Food

Speculations around whether biotech stocks are in a bubble remain undecided for the second year in a row. But one thing stands as indisputable—the field made massive progress during 2015, and faster than anticipated. For...

How Artificial Immune Systems May Be the Future of Cybersecurity

2015 was a year of jaw-dropping hacks. From CIA director John Brennan’s private email to Sony Inc, from the IRS to CVS, from Target to the notorious Ashley Madison, millions of people suffered from cybersecurity...

Science Fiction’s Greatest Power? Inspiring Us to Build the Future

Science fiction’s visions of the future can appear more fantasy than fact. Sometimes books and movies are unnerving, other times they’re way off. Although sci-fi isn’t always right, it does something else that’s more important...

Gene Drives Could Wipe Out Insect-Borne Disease — But What’s the Price?

In 2014, a few days after Christmas, Dr. Valentino Gantz walked into his lab at the University of California, San Diego to check on some newly hatched fruit flies. With a single look, he knew...

Hacking the Brain — Restoring Lost Abilities With the Latest Neurotechnologies

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Ray Kurzweil's wild prediction that in the 2030s, nanobots will connect our brains to the cloud, merging biology with the digital world. Let's talk about what's happening today. Over...

Bugs as Drugs: Seeking the Microbial Secret to Health

Our body is, in essence, more ecosystem than organism. The human body teems with trillions of microbes — bacteria, viruses and fungi — and at any moment, we may be carrying between one and three...

Exponential Medicine: The Most Detailed Snapshot of Human Health in History

Our bodies are extremely complex, interrelated, and ever-evolving patterns of information—from DNA to physiology to vital signs. But until modern times, most of that information was hidden from view. We didn’t know there was...

Exponential Medicine: The Most Advanced Nanotechnology Today Is Already Inside You

For me, the word nanotechnology evokes a specific image. Maybe you’re the same. It’s a machine. Perhaps a little futuristic. But something that wouldn’t seem out of place on the street or in a...

LIVESTREAM: Watch Exponential Medicine 2015 Live From San Diego

Each year, Singularity University descends on San Diego's Hotel Del Coronado for Exponential Medicine, a four-day conference exploring how technology is driving monumental change in health and medicine. (Go here for a great introduction to Exponential Medicine from Singularity University...

Wells Fargo Wants to Let You Make Million-Dollar Wire Transactions With Your Face and Voice

“My voice gives me access to proceed, please verify me,” I announced to the phone in my hand. It scanned my face to see if my lips were moving.  I then read aloud series of numbers....
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Robots, Bioprinting, and the Future of Food [Video]

Emerging technologies are shaking up how we grow food, distribute it, and even what we're eating. We are seemingly on the cusp of a food revolution and undoubtedly, technologies including artificial intelligence will play a huge role in helping...

3D Mapping the World’s Reefs With Sly Lee (Interview)

Sly Lee: Marine Scientist, Science Communicator, Entrepreneur Graduate Studies Program 2015 Alumni Honolulu, Hawaii and San Francisco, CA If Silicon Valley had a mind of its own, which it may one day, its dreams would be comprised of...

The Technologies ‘Back to the Future’ Got Right, Wrong, and Left Out Entirely

26 years ago, Marty McFly and Doc Brown climbed into their time-traveling flying DeLorean and set the controls to the distant future — October 21, 2015 — which happens to be this week. This is a fun...

See This Delicate Jellyfish 3D Printed in Self-Healing Gel

You can print wild designs using a 3D printer—shapes you couldn’t make any other way. But 3D printing is also still in thrall to the laws of physics. To date, 3D printed structures made in...

A Genomics Revolution: Evolution by Natural Selection to Evolution by Intelligent Direction

Humanity is moving from evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) to evolution by intelligent direction. For most of human history, our average age was only about 26 years old. We would procreate at age 13, live just...

Brain-Controlling Sound Waves Used to Steer Genetically Modified Worms

Move over optogenetics, there’s a new cool mind-bending tool in town. A group of scientists, led by Dr. Sreekanth Chalasani at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, discovered a new way to control neurons using...

Meet the Mind-Controlling Algae Protein That Could Cure Blindness

It sounds completely crazy: as early as next year, using gene therapy scientists hope to restore sight in the blind by giving their eyes additional “light sensors.” We’re not talking about bionic eyes: instead of...

Why We Should Embrace — Not Fear — the Biohacker Uprising

Dr. Steve Kurtz was making arrangements for his wife Hope’s funeral when the FBI burst in. Kurtz, a professor of arts at the New York State University, was detained and interrogated for 22 hours as...
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What Will ‘Drag and Drop’ Gene Editing Do for You? Find Out on Ask an Expert [Video]

Biotechnology is moving blindingly fast: From $1,000 human genome sequencing to CRISPR gene editing, we're approaching an era when scientists can edit and rewrite the source code of life. Physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson...

Gene Editing Is Now Cheap and Easy—and No One Is Prepared for the Consequences

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 scientists warned that altering...

Is Technology Unnatural—Or Is It ‘What Makes Us Human’?

Beavers dam rivers; birds build nests; chimpanzees use sticks to fish for ants or termites. Nature at its best. But when humans build dams or use tools to feed ourselves, our creations, though admittedly...

How Tiny Lab-Grown Human Brains Are Giving Big Insights Into Autism

First came lab-grown mini-hearts. Then came 3D printed skin. Now scientists have taken “body on a chip” to a whole new level. Starting with skin cells from patient biopsies, scientists transformed them back into stem...

Watch This Swarm of Simple Robots Do Surprisingly Complex Things

Hero worship is deeply engrained in the human psyche. From King Arthur to Luke Skywalker, we long for an unlikely leader to arise, pull sword from stone (or ignite lightsaber), and heal the land. It’s...

As Nations Hack Each Other, Protecting Personal Information Must Become National Security Priority

The nation with the most powerful military in the world suffered a major strategic loss — and for several months not a single person even noticed. That’s because that attackers didn’t use traditional weapons...

How Computers Will Crack the Genetic Code and Improve Billions of Lives

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 and improve the lives of...

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