Category Archives: Genetics and biology

Regenesis (book review)

My father was in his mid-thirties before DNA was decoded by Crick and Watson. A generation later, genetics was still largely theoretical, understood in principle but not practical – like flying cars or space lasers. Not anymore. Today teams of high-school students modify organisms for the iGEM competition; a library of over 20,000 biological parts made of DNA sequences (promoters, translators, ends, spacers, vectors, receivers, measurement) are listed on a public site; the ability to both read and write DNA is speeding up ten times per year, and the first proof of concept has been done to resurrect an extinct species. Synthetic biology is quickly coming of age. Continue reading

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To Be Human

Is the person sitting next to you a human being? The question hardly makes sense; how could she not be human? Yet in the coming years the question will become commonplace, even urgent. Continue reading

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The Human Microbiome

We are on the verge of a step forward in our symbiosis with bacteria that will make the discovery and use of antibiotics seem barbaric. It will change the practice of medicine as surely as the discovery of anesthetics, blood types, or the stethoscope. Continue reading

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Bioelectronics and the e-Body

Topics which seemed like science fiction a few years ago (such as integrating devices into the body) are now outlined in respectable 1,000-page textbooks. Research proceeds apace on the details of the possibility of merging human and machine… Continue reading

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