Cells can be programmed into living devices: Here’s how

Synthetic biologists at Harvard University have programmed microbial cells into living devices that can produce drugs, fine chemicals and biofuels and detect disease-causing agents. A team of biologists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering fit cells with artificial molecular machinery that could sense stimuli like toxins in the environment, metabolite levels and inflammatory

23andMe is back: FDA allows marketing of genetic health risk tests

FDA this month allowed genetic testing company 23andMe to market genetic health risk tests for 10 diseases and conditions including Parkinson’s disease and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The de novo premarket review authorization, announced April 6, also included celiac disease, which results in the inability to digest gluten; alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which raises the risk of

These computers can identify diseases in your fecal matter

San Diego–area researchers have successfully trained computers to recognize whether microbiomes in the gut are healthy or unhealthy, based on their genetics. The research out of UC San Diego and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) offers promise for non-invasive diagnostic tools by taking the genetic sequencing of fecal samples as opposed to blood sampling. There

New PET scan tracer allows first imaging of the epigenetics of the human brain

A novel PET radiotracer developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is able for the first time to reveal epigenetic activity – the process that determines whether or not genes are expressed – within the human brain. In their report published in Science Translational Medicine, a team of MGH/Martinos Center investigators reports how

Mutation protects against heart disease

According to new international research, just less than 1% of the population is naturally protected against developing chronic coronary artery diseases. The New England Journal of Medicine, a renowned health journals, has just published the results of international genetic research collaborations. Researchers from Iceland’s deCode Genetics headed the project, which involved 292,000 participants of European origin, of

Pluriomics uses human stem-cell technology to increase efficiency of drug discovery

Current late-stage attrition models are not predictive enough for selection of safe and effective drug candidates. To prevent issues, a lot of work is required late in the clinical development stage. Because of this, Pluriomics wants to use human stem-cell technology in biopharmaceutical research and development. Human stem-cell technology could increase the efficiency of drug

Agilent Technologies introduces 4200 TapeStation System for next-generation sequencing

Agilent Technologies Inc. introduced the 4200 TapeStation system, a fully automated instrument that enables scientists to rapidly analyze up to 96 DNA samples at a time. “We designed the new instrument —the successor to our popular 2200 TapeStation system—to address the need for both higher throughput and higher quality in next-generation sequencing labs,” said Knut