Category Archives: News & Archives

MinION USB stick gene sequencer finally comes to market

When it comes to DNA, France has always been behind the times. Never mind the hefty fines and prison sentence a man apparently can get for trying to order a paternity test, it seems that just knowing your own genetic sequence is offensive enough. Now that the much anticipated MinION USB stick genome sequencer has finally…
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‘Artificial spleen’ could help treat sepsis

Its victims include the actor Christopher Reeve, Pope John Paul II, and the British poet Rupert Brooke, who died after a mosquito bite on his lip became infected. Sepsis remains one of the leading killers in the United States and the world. Now, researchers describe a novel way to treat the lethal condition by filtering…
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Gibbon genome sequence deepens understanding of primates rapid chromosomal rearrangements

With the completion of the sequencing and analysis of the gibbon genome, scientists now know more about why this small ape has a rapid rate of chromosomal rearrangements, providing information that broadens understanding of chromosomal biology. Chromosomes, essentially the packaging that encases the genetic information stored in the DNA sequence, are fundamental to cellular function and…
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New cancer immunotherapy drug approved

A new type of cancer drug that harnesses the body’s immune system to fight tumors has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Keytruda (pembrolizumab), which blocks a protein called PD-1 that tumors use to evade immune cells, is approved for patients with advanced melanoma who fail other treatments. Cancer researchers “have been almost…
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Sniffing out alien life: Stinky chemicals may be key

If Professor Hubert Farnsworth's "Smell-O-Scope" actually existed, astrobiologists would have pointed it at dozens of alien planets by now. The Professor's odor-detecting invention, which was featured in several episodes of the animated sci-fi series "Futurama," would be a good life-hunting tool, researchers say, because alien organisms may betray their presence by pumping stinky chemicals into their home…
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Scientists grow an organ in an animal from cells created in lab

  Laboratory-grown replacement organs have moved a step closer with the completion of a new study. Scientists have grown a fully functional organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal for the first time. The researchers have created a thymus -- an organ next to the heart that produces immune cells known as T…
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New analysis links tree height to climate

What limits the height of trees? Is it the fraction of their photosynthetic energy they devote to productive new leaves? Or is it their ability to hoist water hundreds of feet into the air, supplying the green, solar-powered sugar factories in those leaves? Both factors -- resource allocation and hydraulic limitation -- might play a…
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Plants may use newly discovered molecular language to communicate

  A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, one that allows them to share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with one another. The finding by Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, throws open the door…
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