Biotechnology and Bioengineering

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

  • 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. […]

  • Cloning thousands of genes for massive protein libraries
    on June 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Discovering the function of a gene requires cloning a DNA sequence and expressing it. Until now, this was performed on a one-gene-at-a-time basis, causing a bottleneck. Scientists have invented a technology to clone thousands of genes simultaneously and create massive libraries of proteins from DNA samples, potentially ushering in a new era of functional genomics. […]

  • Novel viral vectors deliver useful cargo to neurons throughout the brain and body
    on June 26, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    New viral vectors have been develoepd for efficiently delivering genes to neurons throughout the body and across the blood-brain barrier. […]

  • Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Today's soybeans are typically golden yellow, with a tiny blackish mark where they attach to the pod. In a field of millions of beans, nearly all of them will have this look. Occasionally, however, a bean will turn up half-black, with a saddle pattern similar to a black-eyed pea. New research indicates why. […]

  • DNA delivery technology joins battle against drug-resistant bacteria
    on June 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    A new DNA delivery technology has been developed to fight drug-resistant bacteria, report investigators. […]

  • E. coli bacteria's defense secret revealed
    on June 13, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    By tagging a cell's proteins with fluorescent beacons, researchers have found out how E. coli bacteria defend themselves against antibiotics and other poisons. Probably not good news for the bacteria. […]

  • Highly safe biocontainment strategy hopes to encourage greater use of GMOs
    on June 7, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    An extremely safe and practical biocontainment strategy has been born. It is cost and time effective. Additionally, its simplicity means it can be adapted for other microorganisms, making it highly versatile. […]

  • Bio-based p-xylene oxidation into terephthalic acid by engineered E. coli
    on June 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Researchers have established an efficient biocatalytic system to produce terephthalic acid (TPA) from p-xylene (pX). It will allow this industrially important bulk chemical to be made available in a more environmentally-friendly manner. […]

  • Remembrance of things past: Bacterial memory of gut inflammation
    on May 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    A team of scientists has designed a powerful bacterial sensor with a stable gene circuit in a colonizing bacterial strain that can record gut inflammation for six months in mice. This study offers a solution to previous challenges associated with living diagnostics and may bring them closer to use in human patients. […]

  • Scientists borrow from electronics to build circuits in living cells
    on May 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The circuits are the largest ever published to date in eurkaryotic cells and a key step in harnessing the potential of cells as living computers that can respond to disease, efficiently produce biofuels or develop plant-based chemicals. […]

  • Dual-channel biological function generator
    on May 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Bioengineers who specialize in creating tools for synthetic biology have unveiled the latest version of their 'biofunction generator and bioscilloscope,' an optogenetic platform that uses light to activate and study two biological circuits at a time. […]

  • Scientists engineer baker's yeast to produce penicillin molecules
    on May 4, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Scientists have inserted fungus genes into a yeast cell to make it produce penicillin molecules. In laboratory experiments, they were able to demonstrate that this yeast had antibacterial properties against streptococcus bacteria. […]

  • First EPA-approved outdoor field trial for genetically engineered algae
    on May 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Scientists have successfully completed the first outdoor field trial sanctioned by the US Environmental Protection Agency for genetically engineered algae. The researchers tested a genetically engineered strain of algae in outdoor ponds under real-world conditions. The researchers conclude that genetically engineered algae can be successfully cultivated outdoors while maintaining engineered traits, and, most importantly, without adversely impacting native algae populations. […]

  • New capabilities for genome-wide engineering of yeast
    on May 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Researchers describe how their successful integration of several cutting-edge technologies -- creation of standardized genetic components, implementation of customizable genome editing tools, and large-scale automation of molecular biology laboratory tasks -- will enhance our ability to work with yeast. The results of their new method demonstrate its potential to produce valuable novel strains of yeast for industrial use, as well as to reveal a more sophisticated understanding of the yeast genome. […]

  • Insights to redirect leading HIV cure strategy
    on May 2, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    New research has provided the first evidence that viruses and hosts share highly similar regulatory sequences in their promoters -- the initiation sequences of human genes that code for functional proteins. […]

  • Protein 'spy' gains new abilities
    on April 27, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    A method to rapidly trigger the universal tagging of proteins being produced by a cell has now been discovered by researchers. The tagging can be turned on like a switch, which enables researchers to acquire a snapshot of proteins being produced by a cell at a given time. […]

  • New tools visualize where bacterial species live in the gut, control their activity
    on April 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    It is now possible to simultaneously visualize multiple bacterial strains in the gut by making them express unique combinations of fluorescent proteins. This approach allowed the researchers to pinpoint the location of the bacteria in the gut based on the rainbow of colors they emitted. Additionally, these tools also allowed precise control of the activity of bacterial genes in real time and in specific locations. […]

  • New tool can help estimate genetically modified pollen spread
    on April 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Food purists may have cause to celebrate thanks to a recent international study. The study, which evaluated the spread of genetically modified (GM) organisms to non-modified crops, has implications from farm to family. […]

  • Synthetic biologists engineer inflammation-sensing gut bacteria
    on April 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Synthetic biologists have engineered gut bacteria capable of sensing colitis in mice. The research points the way to new experiments for studying how gut bacteria and human hosts interact at a molecular level and could eventually lead to orally ingestible bacteria for monitoring gut health and disease. […]