Hayley Clissold from the Sanger Institute’s policy team team explores the issues surrounding gene editing and human embryos.

 

Genome editing is a technique used to modify a specific section of DNA. As all living things contain DNA, genome editing has an almost unlimited range of applications in organisms including bacteria, plants, animals and humans.

 

Genome editing is not a new technology. In fact, it has been around for decades. Genome editing has only recently taken the scientific world by storm because of the discovery of a new tool called CRISPR. CRISPR is simpler, faster, cheaper and much more efficient than any of its predecessor genome editing tools and because of its accessibility, CRISPR is now used in a vast spectrum of applications in labs all around the world.

 

CRISPR was originally discovered as a bacterial immune system. Some bacteria deploy CRISPR as a defense mechanism to chop up the DNA of an invading virus. Because of its ability to target and cut specific stretches of DNA, CRISPR is capable of removing any particular sequence – for example, disease-causing gene variants can be taken out of a genome. The technology also allows DNA sequences to be added or changed – so a disease-causing variant can be replaced with a ‘healthy’ one. Clearly, this technology offers almost limitless possibilities for science and in particular for healthcare.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: sangerinstitute.blog

The surge in New York City’s coronavirus infections is already so critical that the chief medical officer at a major hospital system warned staff of the grim reality: "…there will be loss, and suffering, and at times perhaps each of us will question our will to fight."

 

The coronavirus — which is hospitalizing severely sick young and old people alike — has already had a punishing, paramount influence on human civilization, and it will get much worse. But today’s wide-scale shutdown of cities, extreme social distancing measures, and plummeting transportation usage will have no immediate, meaningful impact on Earth’s colossal carbon dioxide woes or the planet’s relentless warming trend.

 

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: mashable.com

A quantum internet could be used to send un-hackable messages, improve the accuracy of GPS, and enable cloud-based quantum computing. For more than twenty years, dreams of creating such a quantum network have remained out of reach in large part because of the difficulty to send quantum signals across large distances without loss. 

Now, Harvard and MIT researchers have found a way to correct for signal loss with a prototype quantum node that can catch, store and entangle bits of quantum information. The research is the missing link towards a practical quantum internet and a major step forward in the development of long-distance quantum networks.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.seas.harvard.edu

No matter if you enjoy taking or just watching images of space, NASA has a treat for you. They have made their entire collection of images, sounds, and video available and publicly searchable online. It’s 140,000 photos and other resources available for you to see, or even download and use it any way you like.

 

You can type in the term you want to search for and browse through the database of stunning images of outer space. Additionally, there are also images of astronauts, rocket launches, events at NASA and other interesting stuff. What’s also interesting is that almost every image comes with the EXIF data, which could be useful for astrophotography enthusiasts.

 

NASA recently launched a GIPHY account full of awesome animated gifs. It’s also great that photography is an important part of their missions, and so it was even before “pics or it didn’t happen” became the rule. The vast media library they have now published is available to everyone, free of charge and free of copyright. Therefore, you can take a peek at the fascinating mysteries of space, check out what it’s like inside NASA’s premises, or download the images to make something awesome from them. Either way, you will enjoy it!

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.physics-astronomy.com

Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients, Japanese media said on Wednesday.

 

Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients. “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang told reporters on Tuesday.

 

Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug, public broadcaster NHK said.

 

In addition, X-rays confirmed improvements in lung condition in about 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% or those without the drug.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.theguardian.com

A nest is “a disordered stick bomb,” resilient in ways that humans have hardly begun to understand, much less emulate.

 

The term “bird’s nest” has come to describe a messy hairdo, tangled fishing line and other unspeakably knotty conundrums. But that does birds an injustice. Their tiny brains, dense with neurons, produce marvels that have long captured scientific interest as naturally selected engineering solutions — yet nests are still not well understood.

 

One effort to disentangle the structural dynamics of the nest is underway in the sunny yellow lab — the Mechanical Biomimetics and Open Design Lab — of Hunter King, an experimental soft-matter physicist at the University of Akron in Ohio.

 

“We hypothesize that a bird nest might effectively be a disordered stick bomb, with just enough stored energy to keep it rigid,” Dr. King said. He is the principal investigator of an ongoing study, with a preliminary review paper, “Mechanics of randomly packed filaments — The ‘bird nest’ as meta-material,” recently published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.nytimes.com