A team of Stanford University bioengineers has taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology. They detail a biological transistor made from genetic material - DNA and RNA - in place of gears or electrons. The team calls its biological transistor the 'transcriptor'.
Like tiny, crawling compass needles, whole living cells and cell fragments orient and move in response to electric fields - but in opposite directions, scientists at the University of California, Davis, have found. Their results could ultimately lead to new ways to heal wounds and deliver stem cell therapies.
A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has generated new insight on how a stem cell's environment influences what type of cell a stem cell will become. They have shown that whether human mesenchymal stem cells turn into fat or bone cells depends partially on how well they can "grip" the material they are growing in.
Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that - literally. They describe bacteria being 'addicted' to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of wastewater to bioproduction of medications for asthma.
Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a computer model of a protein that helps cells interact with their surroundings. Like its biological counterpart, the virtual integrin snippet is about twenty nanometers long. It also responds to changes in energy and other stimuli just as integrins do in real life. The result is a new way to explore how the protein connects a cell's inner and outer environments.
Rapidly growing trees like poplars and willows are candidate "biofuel crops" from which it is expected that cellulosic ethanol and higher energy content fuels can be efficiently extracted. Domesticating these crops requires a deep understanding of tree physiology and genetics.
Research conducted in fruit flies at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has pinpointed a specific DNA sequence that both triggers the formation of the "histone locus body" and turns on all the histone genes in the entire block.
The road signs that direct traffic on the highways - collectively known as the cytoskeleton - are a mystery, and now the subject of research for Lee Ligon, associate professor of biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.