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Scientists pack lab into pill for water testing (w/video)

Researchers have reduced the sophisticated chemistry required for testing water safety to a simple pill, by adapting technology found in a dissolving breath strip. Want to know if a well is contaminated? Drop a pill in a vial of water and shake vigorously. If the colour changes, there's the answer.

Posted: Apr 29th, 2014

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Computational method dramatically speeds up estimates of gene expression

With gene expression analysis growing in importance for both basic researchers and medical practitioners, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland have developed a new computational method that dramatically speeds up estimates of gene activity from RNA sequencing data.

Posted: Apr 20th, 2014

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Biomedical applications of shape-memory polymers: How practically useful are they?

Shape-memory polymers are an important class of materials in medicine, especially for minimally invasive deployment of devices. However, the rate of translation of the concept to approved products is extremely low. A paper described the general usefulness as well as the limitations of the shape-memory polymers for biomedical applications.

Posted: Apr 17th, 2014

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Friction harnessed by proteins helps organize cell division

A football-shaped structure, known as the mitotic spindle, makes cell division possible for many living things. This piece of cellular architecture, responsible for dividing up genetic material, is in constant flux. The filaments that form it grow and shrink, while motor-like molecules burn energy pushing them about. To ensure the complex process proceeds in an orderly fashion, molecular fasteners pin the filaments together in certain places, and new research helps explain how they do it.

Posted: Apr 17th, 2014

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At the origin of cell division

Droplets of filamentous material enclosed in a lipid membrane: these are the models of a 'simplified' cell used by the SISSA physicists Luca Giomi and Antonio DeSimone, who simulated the spontaneous emergence of cell motility and division - that is, features of living material - in inanimate 'objects'.

Posted: Apr 16th, 2014

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New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis

Photosynthesis provides fixed carbon and energy for nearly all life on Earth, yet many aspects of this fascinating process remain mysterious. We do not know the full list of the parts of the molecular machines that perform photosynthesis in any organism. A team developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists on this subject.

Posted: Apr 15th, 2014

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Scientists grow cartilage to reconstruct nose

Scientists at the University of Basel report first ever successful nose reconstruction surgery using cartilage grown in the laboratory. Cartilage cells were extracted from the patient?s nasal septum, multiplied and expanded onto a collagen membrane. The so-called engineered cartilage was then shaped according to the defect and implanted.

Posted: Apr 11th, 2014

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