I have four tips: Curiosity … More curiosity. Even more curiosity. Passion. It’s not enough to be curious.
— Ada Yonath
All of the featured studies this week are preprints, and have not been peer-reviewed.
You’ve probably heard of engineered immune cells being used to treat cancers (think CAR-T), but what about engineered microbes? Some bacteria, it turns out, grow really well near tumors. So why not engineer those bacteria, and coax them into delivering medicines to…
By forces seemingly antagonistic and destructive Nature accomplishes her beneficent designs — now a flood of fire, now a flood of ice, now a flood of water; and again in the fullness of time an outburst of organic life.
— John Muir
Idea: Watermelons that grow on trees. Terrifying.
Some paintings become famous because, being durable, they are viewed by successive generations, in each of which are likely to be found a few appreciative eyes. I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all, except by some wandering deer. It is a river who wields the brush, and it is the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever.
— Aldo Leopold, in “A Sand County Almanac.”
You ask particularly after my health. I suppose that I have not many months to live; but, of course, I know nothing about it. I may add that I am enjoying existence as much as ever, and regret nothing.
— Henry David Thoreau
A machine-learning CRISPR approach for sustainable buildings on Mars. Money.
EX UTERO MICE: For a Nature study, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science grew mice in little bottles, ex utero. The mouse embryos developed up to the hind…
To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy.
All of the featured studies this week are open access.
CRISPR Cuts Pain (in Mice): There are a handful of people that are completely insensitive to pain; about twenty cases have been reported in the scientific literature, according to Medline Plus. One of the ways to be “pain-free” is to have a hereditary mutation in a specific gene, called SCN9A, that encodes a voltage-gated sodium channel called Nav1.7. Scientists have tried for…
I will show you my pigeons! Which is the greatest treat, in my opinion, which can be offered to human beings.
— Charles Darwin, in a letter to Charles Lyell
Cheese, but made from random microbes. What flavors will we unearth?
BLINDNESS CURES: In 2017, Luxturna was the first gene therapy to receive FDA approval for a specific form of inherited blindness, caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene. Now, new blindness therapies could be on the way. Labiotech.eu. Link
Seen in the light of evolution, biology is, perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science. Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts — some of them interesting or curious but making no meaningful picture as a whole.
— Theodosius Dobzhansky
A Light Switch for Gene Editing: I’m a sucker for CRISPR, but it has its drawbacks. The Cas9 protein chomps away at DNA until it is removed, or its guide RNA is destroyed. …
The ideal scientist thinks like a poet and only later works like a bookkeeper.
— E.O. Wilson
Writing these little quips is more painful than you think.
FLY TEST SUBJECTS: A London company, called Vivan Therapeutics, is using genetically-engineered fruit flies to figure out which drugs are most likely to work for cancer patients. “By giving hundreds of thousands of fruit flies the same cancer mutations as in a human patient,” writes Michele Cohen Marill, the company “can run thousands of drug…
The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!
— Charles Darwin (from a letter to Asa Gray)
Data Stored in Yeast Chromosome: A couple weeks ago, researchers at Tianjin University, in China, dropped a paper that I completely missed. I was scrolling through Twitter — doomscrolling, you might say — when I saw a tweet from Tom Ellis about data stored on an artificial yeast chromosome. I thought it was intriguing, and decided…
Be prepared mentally for some amount of chaos and failure. Waste and frustration often attend the earliest stages. — E.O. Wilson in “Letters to a Young Scientist”.
FERRET CLONE: The biggest news this week: A black-footed ferret, named Elizabeth Ann, is the first endangered North American species to be cloned. It’s a move that could signal hope for other endangered animals. Future Human. …