Redefining natural selection: How synthetic biology may solve sustainability challenges in food, fuel and health

Redefining natural selection: How synthetic biology may solve sustainability challenges in food, fuel and health

[S]ynthetic biology] is poised to change how we feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, fuel ourselves—and possibly even change our very selves ...
Eye tech: Synthetic iris may revolutionize human eye repair

Eye tech: Synthetic iris may revolutionize human eye repair

An artificial iris can open and close in response to sunlight without any other outside control, just like the ones ...
Can genetically modified viruses stop antibiotic-resistant infections?

Can genetically modified viruses stop antibiotic-resistant infections?

Genetically modified viruses that cause bacteria to kill themselves could be the next step in combating antibiotic-resistant infections. Several companies ...
Deep-space travel, colonization may rely on genetically engineered life forms

Deep-space travel, colonization may rely on genetically engineered life forms

Space exploration fires the imagination but presents many practical challenges—among them, how humans or organisms chosen to accompany us can ...
Biocontainment: Genetic tweak could prevent accidental release of GMO bacteria from labs

Biocontainment: Genetic tweak could prevent accidental release of GMO bacteria from labs

When dealing with bacteria in a lab setting, it is often a requirement to ensure that the risk of the ...
Blue feces: Modified gut bacteria could indicate colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease

Blue feces: Modified gut bacteria could indicate colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease

Checking the hue of your feces could soon reveal why you are feeling off-color. Gut bacteria in mice have been ...
Read ELP’s Nicholas Staropoli Reddit Science ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Epigenetics: Hype and Health

Read ELP’s Nicholas Staropoli Reddit Science ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Epigenetics: Hype and Health

Editor’s Note: On Friday, June 2nd from 1pm–3pm EDT, ELP director Nicholas Staropoli hosted a Reddit-science Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) about the hype surrounding ...
Harvard's George Church is revolutionizing evolution

Harvard’s George Church is revolutionizing evolution

Harvard biologist George Church burst into the headlines (yet again) [recently] when he helped organize a closed-door meeting of scores of ...
Keys to human regeneration in worms and bioelectricity?

Keys to human regeneration in worms and bioelectricity?

[W]ith the advent of gene editing, the ability for humans to make replacement organs will only become more secure in ...
Bacteria artists? E.coli can be engineered using light to paint pictures

Bacteria artists? E.coli can be engineered using light to paint pictures

To show off the powers of synthetic biology, researchers have engineered a primitive kind of colour vision into bacteria — ...
CRISPR creator Jennifer Doudna warns gene editing may be going too fast

CRISPR creator Jennifer Doudna warns gene editing may be going too fast

Easy genetic modification could mean cures for cancer (yay!), kitty-sized pigs (squee!), and, yes, designer babies (ack). In her new ...
Synthetic biology cheat sheet: Key players, big debates and lingo you should know

Synthetic biology cheat sheet: Key players, big debates and lingo you should know

Key Players J. Craig Venter: After playing an important role in early efforts to sequence the human genome, Venter now ...
Open source science or intellectual property: Should we allow patenting of synbio organisms?

Open source science or intellectual property: Should we allow patenting of synbio organisms?

[S]ynthetic biology...incorporates disparate disciplines like engineering, computer science, biotechnology, and molecular biology...[i]nstead of using engineering’s discrete modules of code, transistors, ...
Queer theory and biology: Should 'relatedness' be defined only by blood and genes?

Queer theory and biology: Should ‘relatedness’ be defined only by blood and genes?

Biological taxonomy, the study and sorting of how different organisms are related to one another, has for centuries incorporated novelty ...
Uncertain US laws and regulations surround DIY synthetic biology

Uncertain US laws and regulations surround DIY synthetic biology

At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the regulation of the DIY biology movement. DIY biologists, a ...
Is the US military in danger of using synthetic biology to 'weaponize the environment'?

Is the US military in danger of using synthetic biology to ‘weaponize the environment’?

In recent years... the military—mostly under the umbrella of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—has created a new suite of ...
What is 'cell-free biotechnology' and how could it revolutionize our lives?

What is ‘cell-free biotechnology’ and how could it revolutionize our lives?

The stuff of life comes wrapped in tiny bags called cells. Inside are DNA molecules that carry the instructions for ...
Eric Lander and Eric Schmidt: Science's Miracle Machine — government investment in basic research — in danger

Eric Lander and Eric Schmidt: Science’s Miracle Machine — government investment in basic research — in danger

[Editor's note: Eric S. Lander is president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Eric E ...
Is there hope for diabetes cure through synthetic biology?

Is there hope for diabetes cure through synthetic biology?

Type 1 diabetes is a discouraging disease. Despite the availability of synthetic insulin and increasingly sophisticated monitoring technology, it’s still ...
Glowing Plant's failed Kickstarter venture highlights pitfalls of synthetic biology

Glowing Plant’s failed Kickstarter venture highlights pitfalls of synthetic biology

The latest update came quietly on [in April 2017]. “We’re sorry to say that we have reached a significant transition ...
Revamping 'woefully out of date' biotech regulations easier said than done

Revamping ‘woefully out of date’ biotech regulations easier said than done

Depending on whom you talk to, the CRISPR’d mushroom isn’t strictly defined as synthetic biology. Still, genetic technology exists on ...
Could alien life be made from silicon instead of carbon?

Could alien life be made from silicon instead of carbon?

Science fiction has long imagined alien worlds inhabited by silicon-based life...Now, scientists have for the first time shown that nature ...
Behold the octopus: Problem solver, tool user and now, gene editor

Behold the octopus: Problem solver, tool user and now, gene editor

The more we learn about octopuses and squids, the more mysterious they become. The ability to edit their own RNA ...
Are we ready to welcome intelligent robots into the human family?

Are we ready to welcome intelligent robots into the human family?

Artificial intelligence (AI) may become so advanced that some computer minds achieve consciousness and self-awareness. Would these machines be granted ...
Synthetic bioterrorism: US developing medical rapid response plan

Synthetic bioterrorism: US developing medical rapid response plan

The United States must prepare for surprise attacks at home and abroad from...the new, emerging and largely unknown consequences posed ...
Glowing trees, no more colonoscopies and other wonders of synthetic biology

Glowing trees, no more colonoscopies and other wonders of synthetic biology

Synthetic biology offers the opportunity to create a wide array of novel life forms, products and approaches to medicine -- ...
Questions abound on synthetic biology: Is it creating 'new life' or just part of biotechnology's toolkit?

Questions abound on synthetic biology: Is it creating ‘new life’ or just part of biotechnology’s toolkit?

[Editor's note: Sophia Roosth, a historian of science at Harvard University, talks about her new book on synthetic biology: Synthetic: How ...
GMO plant emerges as drug incubator to fight malaria

GMO plant emerges as drug incubator to fight malaria

Scientists have discovered a gene that allows to double the production of artemisinin in the Artemisia annua plant. The artemisinin-based ...

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