Biotechnology and Bioengineering

Biotechnology and Bioengineering News -- ScienceDaily Biotechnology and bioengineering research news.

  • Turning brain cells into skin cells
    on October 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    A new study reveals that it is possible to repurpose the function of different mature cells across the body and harvest new tissue and organs from these cells. […]

  • Need for speed makes genome editing efficient, if not better
    on October 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Researchers have developed a computational model to quantify the mechanism by which CRISPR-Cas9 proteins find their genome-editing targets. […]

  • How switches work in bacteria
    on October 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Many bacteria have molecular control elements, via which they can switch on and off genes. These riboswitches also open up new options in the development of antibiotics or for the detection and decomposition of environmental toxins. Researchers have now used light optical microscopy of single molecules to fundamentally study the way riboswitches work. […]

  • New way to prevent genetically engineered and unaltered organisms from producing offspring
    on October 12, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    A major obstacle to applying genetic engineering to benefit humans and the environment is the risk that organisms whose genes have been altered might produce offspring with their natural counterparts, releasing the novel genes into the wild. Now, researchers have developed a promising way to prevent such interbreeding. The approach, called 'synthetic incompatibility,' effectively makes engineered organisms a separate species unable to produce viable offspring with their wild or domesticated relatives. […]

  • Predatory bacteria: The quest for a new class of antibiotics
    on October 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Researchers take one step forward toward understanding and genetically manipulating B. bacteriovorus, a type of bacteria with promising potential use as a living antibiotic. […]

  • Gene drives have the potential to suppress mosquito populations, but resistant mosquitoes crop up
    on October 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Researchers successfully built a gene drive to reduce female fertility in the mosquito that spreads malaria, but mutations gradually arose that blocked the spread of the new genes. […]

  • Designer biosensor can detect antibiotic production by microbes
    on October 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Researchers from North Carolina State University have engineered designer biosensors that can detect antibiotic molecules of interest. The biosensors are a first step toward creating antibiotic-producing 'factories' within microbes such as E. coli. […]

  • Disease resistance successfully spread from modified to wild mosquitoes
    on September 28, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Using genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce or prevent the spread of disease is a rapidly expanding field of investigation. One challenge is ensuring that GM mosquitoes can mate with their wild counterparts so the desired modification is spread in the wild population. Investigators have engineered mosquitoes with an altered microbiota that suppresses human malaria-causing parasites. These GM mosquitoes preferred to mate with wild mosquitoes and passed the desired protection to offspring. […]

  • Fluorine-containing molecules from cell cultures
    on September 28, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Natural organic compounds that contain fluorine are rare because living organisms -- with a few exceptions -- do not produce them. Scientists have now genetically engineered a microbial host for organofluorine metabolism, allowing it to produce a fluoridated intermediate known as a diketide. As reported, the diketide could then be used as a monomer for the in vivo production of fluorinated bioplastics. […]

  • Haplobank: A biobank of reversible mutant embryonic stem cells
    on September 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Scientist have developed a biobank of revertible, mutant embryonic stem cells – called Haplobank - which contains over 100,000 mutated, conditional mouse embryonic stem cell lines, targeting about 70% of the protein-coding genome. […]

  • Gene circuit design strategy to advance synthetic biology
    on September 26, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Scientists and engineers have developed synthetic gene circuits that program the functionality, performance, and behavior of living cells. These gene circuits hold great promise in medical and biotechnological applications, but to date, most circuits are constructed through a manner, which relies on a designer's intuition and is often inefficient. […]

  • High-fidelity recording of molecular geometry with DNA 'nanoscopy'
    on September 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    A research team has now developed a DNA nanotechnology-based method that allows for repeated, non-destructive recording of uniquely barcoded molecular pairings, rendering a detailed view of their components and geometries. In the future, the approach could help researchers understand how changes in molecular complexes control biological processes in living cells. […]

  • Regenerating tissues with gene-targeting molecules
    on September 25, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Researchers have constructed a synthetic molecule that can recognize and bind with a specific DNA sequence and promotes differentiation of hiPSCs into heart muscle cells. […]

  • Cells programmed like computers to fight disease
    on September 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Cells can be programmed like a computer to fight cancer, influenza, and other serious conditions -- thanks to a breakthrough in synthetic biology. […]

  • This one goes up to 11: Researchers crack code for genetic 'control dials'
    on September 6, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Scientists have developed a new technique to crack the underlying DNA code for the 'control dials' that determine levels of gene activity in bacteria. The discovery has important implications for biotechnology, because genetically engineered bacteria and other organisms are used to produce useful molecules such as new materials and drugs. […]

  • CRISPR technology used to change flower color
    on September 5, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    In a world-first, scientists have used the revolutionary CRISPR, or CRISPR/Cas9, genome-editing tool to change flower color in an ornamental plant. […]

  • Gut bacteria that 'talk' to human cells may lead to new treatments
    on August 30, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Scientists developed a method to genetically engineer gut bacteria to produce molecules that have the potential to treat certain disorders by altering human metabolism. […]

  • Identifying vulnerabilities posed by synthetic biology
    on August 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Given the possible security vulnerabilities related to developments in synthetic biology -- a field that uses technologies to modify or create organisms or biological components -- a new report proposes a framework to identify and prioritize potential areas of concern associated with the field. […]

  • Spider silk protein may be useful for engineering artificial cardiac tissue
    on August 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac muscle cells due to disease, especially ischemic diseases such as cardiac infarction. There is still no treatment to reverse damage of this nature. Research is ongoing to develop methods of repairing such damage to normalize cardiac function. A promising approach: cardiac muscle tissue made of spider silk. […]

  • How a nutrient, glutamine, can control gene programs in cells
    on August 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Researchers show that an intracellular metabolite of glutamine, alpha-ketoglutarate, plays a role in regulating cellular differentiation programs by changing the DNA-binding patterns of the transcription factor CTCF and by altering genome interactions. As an added level of gene program control complexity, they have found that the genome's context near the binding sites -- such as epigenetic changes or altered genome topology -- affects whether the binding turns on or turns off gene programs. […]

  • New methods for analyzing gene function
    on August 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Scientists have developed new methods to produce and analyze genetic mosaics. In these mosaics, tissues contain various groups of cells with different known genotypes, permitting study of the differences that these genotypes generate in cell behavior. […]

  • Safely releasing genetically modified genes into the wild
    on August 1, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    So, you've genetically engineered a malaria-resistant mosquito. Now what? How many mosquitoes would you need to replace the disease-carrying wild type? What is the most effective distribution pattern? How could you stop a premature release of the engineered mosquitoes? Applied mathematicians and physicists used mathematical modeling to guide the design and distribution of genetically modified genes that can both effectively replace wild mosquitoes and be safely controlled. […]

  • Unjustified delays in approving biotech crops take thousands of lives, say researchers
    on July 28, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Uncertainty and confusion on genetic engineering of main food crops in Africa have delayed the acceptance and application of these crops by smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, say researchers. Model calculations reveal that the costs of a one year delay in approving the pod-borer resistant cow-pea in Nigeria will cost the country 33 -- 46 million dollars, and more disastrously, will take theoretically 100 to 3000 lives, the team reports. […]

  • Crops that kill pests by shutting off their genes
    on July 27, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Plants are among many eukaryotes that can 'turn off' one or more of their genes by using a process called RNA interference to block protein translation. Researchers are now weaponizing this by engineering crops to produce specific RNA fragments that, upon ingestion by insects, initiate RNA interference to shut down a target gene essential for life or reproduction, killing or sterilizing the insects. […]

  • How CRISPR proteins find their target
    on July 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    In addition to the Cas9 protein that bacteria use to bind and snip DNA, bacteria have other Cas proteins that know where to insert that viral DNA into the CRISPR region to remember which viruses have attacked and mount a defense. A research team has discovered how these proteins -- Cas1 and Cas2 -- locate and insert the viral DNA, and it relies on the flexibility of these enzymes and the shape of the DNA. […]

  • A super-algae to save our seas? Genetic engineering species to save corals
    on July 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Solutions to climate change, and particularly its effects on the ocean, are needed now more than ever. Coral bleaching caused by climate change is a huge threat to coral reefs. Recent extreme bleaching events have already killed corals worldwide and permanent destruction of reefs is projected within the century if immediate action is not taken. However, genetically engineering a group of microalgae found in corals may enhance their stress tolerance to ocean warming and save coral reefs. […]

  • New bacterial defense mechanism of the CRISPR-Cas system uncovered
    on July 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Researchers have found an unprecedented defense mechanism by which bacteria defend themselves against invading viruses. When the bacterial immune system gets overwhelmed, the CRISPR-Cas system produces a chemical signal that activates a second enzyme which helps in degrading the invaders' genetic material. This process is very similar to an antiviral mechanism of the human innate immune system. […]

  • Bringing bacteria's defense into focus
    on July 5, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    By taking a series of near-atomic resolution snapshots, scientists have observed step-by-step how bacteria defend against foreign invaders such as bacteriophage, a virus that infects bacteria. […]

  • Variation at a central metabolic gene influences male fruit fly lifespan
    on June 29, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    The overexpression of an important gene that regulates energy metabolism can cause a severe shortening of lifespan in male fruit flies but has only a small negative effect on lifespans of female fruit flies, according to new research. […]

  • Genetic engineering tool generates antioxidant-rich purple rice
    on June 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Researchers in China have developed a genetic engineering approach capable of delivering many genes at once and used it to make rice endosperm -- seed tissue that provides nutrients to the developing plant embryo -- produce high levels of antioxidant-boosting pigments called anthocyanins. The resulting purple endosperm rice holds potential for decreasing the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic disorders. […]