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Chinese team genetically modifies human embryo, using CRISPR gene-editing

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 by System Administrator

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Chinese team genetically modifies human embryo, using CRISPR gene-editing technique

Chinese researchers have genetically modified a human embryo using CRISPR/Cas9, the gene editing technique, using embryos that carried an extra set of chromosomes (so they were not viable) — hoping to learn more about the possibility of producing human babies that would be immune to HIV.

The Chinese team reports in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics that they obtained 213 fertilized eggs from a fertility clinic, which had been deemed unsuitable for in vitro therapy.* They used the eggs to study a mutation that causes damage to an immune cell gene called CCR5 (this type of cell, when damaged naturally, has been found to lead to HIV resistance).

Berkeley Lab captures first high-res 3D images of DNA segments

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 by System Administrator

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Berkeley Lab captures first high-res 3D images of DNA segments

DNA segments are targeted to be building blocks for molecular computer memory and electronic devices, nanoscale drug-delivery systems, and as markers for biological research and imaging disease-relevant proteins

April 7, 2016

[+]In a Berkeley Lab-led study, flexible double-helix DNA segments (purple, with green DNA models) connected to gold nanoparticles (yellow) are revealed from the 3D density maps reconstructed from individual samples using a Berkeley Lab-developed technique called individual-particle electron tomography (IPET). Projections of the structures are shown in the green background grid. (credit: Berkeley Lab)

An international research team working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has captured the first high-resolution 3D images of double-helix DNA segments attached at either end to gold nanoparticles — which could act as building blocks for molecular computer memory and electronic devices (see World’s smallest electronic diode made from single DNA molecule), nanoscale drug-delivery systems, and as markers for biological research and for imaging disease-relevant proteins.

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased IBM Research’s supercomputing platform for deep-learning inference, based on 16 IBM TrueNorth neurosynaptic computer chips, to explore deep learning algorithms.

IBM says the scalable platform processing power is the equivalent of 16 million artificial “neurons” and 4 billion “synapses.” The brain-like neural-network design of the IBM Neuromorphic System can process complex cognitive tasks such as pattern recognition and integrated sensory processing far more efficiently than conventional chips, says IBM.

The technology represents a fundamental departure from computer design that has been prevalent for the past 70 years and could be incorporated in next-generation supercomputers able to perform at exascale speeds — 50 times faster than today’s most advanced petaflop (quadrillion floating point operations per second) systems.

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