First working synthetic immune organ with controllable antibodies
Promises to lead to better understanding of the immune system, develop new therapies, improve testing of new classes of drugs and toxic chemicals
June 11, 2015
When exposed to a foreign agent, such as an immunogenic protein, B cells in lymphoid organs (such as the spleen) undergo germinal center (immune defense) reactions. The image on the left is an normal immunized mouse spleen with activated B cells (brown) that produce antibodies. At right, top: a scanning electron micrograph of synthetic porous synthetic immune organoids that enable rapid proliferation and activation of B cells into antibody-producing cells. At right, bottom: primary B cell viability and distribution is visible 24 hours following encapsulation of B cells from the mouse lymphoid organ into the synthetic organoids. (credit: Singh Lab)
Transhumanist position on human germline genetic modification
March 22, 2015 by James Hughes
Recently a group of scientists and an industry group have issued statements calling for a moratorium on human heritable or germline genetic modifications (see here, here and here), now that we have the powerful CRISPR technique to pursue such modifications.
These statements have been greeted rapturously by bioconservatives, who want to see a global ban on germline and enhancement genetic therapies.
Of course, transhumanists have been thinking about these things for a long time, and the World Transhumanist Association (now known as Humanity+) adopted a formal position on human germline genetic modification 11 years ago.
Creating DNA-based nanostructures without water
Could lead to complex nanoelectronic chips
June 8, 2015
Three different DNA nanostructures assembled at room temperature in water-free glycholine (left) and in 75 percent glycholine-water mixture (center and right). The structures are (from left to right) a tall rectangle two-dimensional DNA origami, a triangle made of single-stranded tails, and a six-helix bundle three-dimensional DNA origami (credit: Isaac Gállego).
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered an new process for assembling DNA nanostructures in a water-free solvent, which may allow for fabricating more complex nanoscale structures — especially, nanoelectronic chips based on DNA.