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« Science: April 2009 | Main | Science: July 2009 »

Science

Jellyfish Monkeys

I don't appreciate that the article waits until the very last paragraph to explain wtf breeding glowing monkeys has to do with studying Parkinson's.

Japanese researchers have genetically engineered monkeys whose hair roots, skin and blood glow green under a special light, and who have passed on their traits to their offspring, the first time this has been achieved in a primate.

They spliced a jellyfish gene into common marmosets, and said on Wednesday they hope to use their colony of glowing animals to study human Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.



By min | May 27, 2009, 2:11 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



An Oaky Bouquet With a Hint of Saltiness....

...and urea.

A first for space was celebrated yesterday with astronauts drinking water recycled from their urine, sweat, and water condensed from exhaled air. "The taste is great," said the US astronaut Michael Barratt.

It's not all that different from what we do with our water here on the planet. Did you think it came from a bottomless spring? Or that a cleric conjured it out of nothing? Wastewater treatment plant outflow eventually becomes water treatment plant inflow. Then it ends up in your taps and your bottled water.


By min | May 21, 2009, 3:21 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



Buckaroo Banzai Had 8 Dimensions

But when one of your dimensions is "polarisation", i suppose i have to cut you some slack.

For the first time researchers from the university's Centre for Micro-Photonics have demonstrated how nanotechnology can enable the creation of 'five dimensional' discs with huge storage capacities.
...
Discs currently have three spatial dimensions, but using nanoparticles the Swinburne researchers were able to introduce a spectral - or colour - dimension as well as a polarisation dimension.'
...
Some issues, such as the speed at which the discs can be written on, are yet to be resolved. However the researchers - who have already signed an agreement with Samsung - are confident the discs will be commercially available within 5 - 10 years.

Link

That's right, sparky. The fourth dimension is color.


By min | May 21, 2009, 2:25 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



I've Seen "I Am Legend" But These Scientists Clearly Haven't

The plot of Will Smith's I Am Legend:

The film opens in 2009 with a televised news broadcast with Dr. Alice Krippin (Emma Thompson) who has created a cure for cancer (100% cure rate) by altering the measles virus.

In a post-apocalyptic 2012, U.S. Army virologist, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (Will Smith) is left as the last healthy human in New York City and possibly the entire world. A series of flashbacks and recorded news programs reveal that the genetically re-engineered measles virus (referred to as K.V. or Krippen Virus) mutated into a lethal airborne strain that spread worldwide and killed 5.4 billion people, 90% of humanity. Only 12 million possessed a natural immunity. The remaining 588 million, after initially exhibiting symptoms resembling rabies, degenerated into primal, aggressive beings referred to as "Darkseekers" (the DVD subtitles refer to them as hemocytes) who have a painful intolerance to UV radiation, forcing them to hide in buildings and other dark places during the day. The "Darkseekers" exhibit superhuman speed, agility, and strength. They also retain some problem-solving intelligence and the capacity to organize. The immune humans were killed by the infected in a civil war that took place between 2009 and 2012, or committed suicide.

What scientists are now doing to find a cure for AIDS:

The approach taken in the current study was divided into two phases. In the first phase, the research team created antibody-like proteins (called immunoadhesins) that were specifically designed to bind to SIV and block it from infecting cells. Once proven to work against SIV in the laboratory, DNA representing SIV-specific immunoadhesins was engineered into a carrier virus designed to deliver the DNA to monkeys. The researchers chose adeno-associated virus (AAV) as the carrier virus because it is a very effective way to insert DNA into the cells of a monkey or human.

It always makes me squeamish when they start engineering viruses or genetically altering existing ones. I really wish they'd just make a big vitamin or something for everyone and be done with it.


By min | May 18, 2009, 2:20 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link



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