October 28, 2011 |
The X Prize Foundation, which offers monetary awards for solutions to pressing scientific challenges, has tackled space travel, moon missions and oil spill cleanups. Now it's taking on the human genome. The Archon Genomics X Prize presented by Medco is challenging teams to accurately sequence the DNA of 100 centenarians within 30 days at $1,000 or less per genome. The first team to complete the task successfully will receive $10 million, and the sequenced genomes will be published for use in research.
June 14, 2012 |
There has been lots of excitement this week as a horde of scientists released their first looks at the trillions of microbes that live in (or on) our bodies. As well as the two main papers published in Nature, a slate of reports was published in other journals, containing all kinds of tidbits. One week earlier, another slate of “microbiome” papers was published in the journal Science. We already covered the nuts and bolts of the Human Micriobiome Project report.
August 4, 2010 |
Fuel may be a messy business now, as the oil spill fouling the gulf reminds us. But it might not always have to be. Scientists envision facilities that churn out black gold by enlisting engineered bacteria, yeast and algae to do all the dirty work. Recently, scientists reported a significant step toward that futuristic goal: an engineered strain of the gut bacterium Escherichia coli that can make a diesel-like mixture of hydrocarbons. The researchers, at South San Francisco-based biotech company LS9 Inc., created their biological hydrocarbon factory using genes from water-dwelling blue-green algae that naturally make tiny amounts of the fuel.
January 18, 2013 |
Scouring information available to anyone with an Internet connection, a team of genetic sleuths deduced the names of dozens of supposedly anonymous people who had their DNA analyzed for scientific and medical research. The snooping feat, which took advantage of genealogy websites that let people compare their DNA to search for relatives, was in full compliance with federal privacy regulations. Experts said it underscored a stark reality about genetic privacy in the age of social media: Don't count on it. "Nobody can promise privacy," said Mildred Cho, who heads up Stanford University's Center for Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics, and wasn't involved with the study.
January 7, 2007 |
EVERY YEAR SINCE 1996, the online salon Edge has e-mailed a question to scientists and thinkers about the state of the world. This year's question was: "What are you optimistic about?" Below are excerpts of some of the responses. For full responses (and those of other contributors), go to www.edge.org.
May 30, 2011 |
Instead of sending its employees to space, NASA is building them an office of the future closer to home. The curvy, space-age building at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley incorporates technology used by astronauts and will be one of a few structures in the state that can generate more electricity than it consumes. Construction won't be complete until mid-July, but the federal government is already calling the $20-million facility its green building of the year. It has a name only government officials could love — the Sustainability Base — but it is generating a lot of buzz among businesses and government agencies trying to be more green.
December 13, 2000 |
Leaders of the publicly led drive to crack the human genetic code have quietly refused to submit the research paper describing their findings to the same scientific journal as their private-sector rivals, puncturing a truce announced with great fanfare in June by President Clinton. The move revives one of the fiercest rivalries of modern science, which pits the publicly led Human Genome Project against biotech upstart Celera Genomics.
June 27, 2000 |
Everybody has a particular way of entering a room. Francis Collins' is to come in quietly behind controversial figures. In 1992, Collins took charge of the publicly led Human Genome Project after James D. Watson, the voluble co-discoverer of DNA's structure, quit in a spat with his government superiors. He was pushed farther into the limelight when J. Craig Venter, the mercurial president of Celera Genomics, announced his determination to beat Collins' team to cracking the genetic code.
December 8, 2000 |
The prestigious journal Science is on the verge of striking an unusual bargain: In return for the right to publish a path-breaking paper on the human genetic code, it would allow the paper's biotech company authors to make their supporting data accessible only to those who promise not to use them for commercial or certain other purposes.
April 5, 2000 |
Monsanto Co. said Tuesday that it has completed "a working draft" of the genetic code of the rice plant--paving the way for improved nutrition, crop yields and drought tolerance, traits needed to feed a growing world population. It is the first plant genome to reach this advanced stage of completion, and scientists say it is especially significant because almost half of the world's people, most of them in Asia, depend on rice as the main staple in their diet.