Scientists in China have successfully cloned monkeys

January 25, 2018 by  
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In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai have successfully cloned long-tailed macaque monkeys . This is the first instance in which scientists have cloned primates and may open the door to cloning humans in the future. “Humans are primates. So (for) the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken,” cloning program supervisor Muming Poo told reporters . However, Poo insisted that the cloning of primates was intended to serve research purposes, particularly for medicine and human health. The famous primate clones , two identical long-tailed macaques that were born two weeks apart, have been named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua. At less than two months old, the young monkeys are growing normally and are expected to be soon joined by additional macaque clones born within months. Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were created through a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), in which the nucleus of a cell, with its contained genetic information, is transferred into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. This technique has been used to successfully clone over 20 species of animals, including dogs, cows, and pigs. Perhaps the most famously cloned species is the sheep, which became the first mammal species to be cloned from an adult somatic cell in 1996 when Dolly the sheep was born in Scotland . Related: China to break ground on world’s largest animal cloning factory next year Previous attempts to use SCNT to clone primates had failed. Even the recent success was the result of repeated failure; 127 eggs were used to produce the two live macaque births. “It remains a very inefficient and hazardous procedure,” Robin Lovell-Badge, a cloning expert at the Francis Crick Institute in London and unaffiliated with the primate cloning in China , told Reuters . “The work in this paper is not a stepping-stone to establishing methods for obtaining live born human clones. This clearly remains a very foolish thing to attempt.” Via Reuters Images via Chinese Academy of Sciences/Reuters and Depositphotos

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Scientists in China have successfully cloned monkeys

New strain of algae produces five times more hydrogen fuel

September 8, 2016 by  
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Scientists have long known that Algae releases hydrogen during photosynthesis – but only minute quantities for small amounts of time. Now a team of scientists at Tel Aviv University has developed a new strain of super algae that emits five times more hydrogen than normal. The development could have huge implications for the shift to clean energy , as automotive giants like Hyundai and Toyota release hydrogen-powered vehicles . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIftwhtMd-Y&feature=youtu.be Iftach Yacoby ‘s team showed that micro-algae actually releases hydrogen during the day. Algae creates hydrogen with the assistance of the enzyme hydrogenase, which is broken down when oxygen is present. The scientists found three effective mechanisms that remove oxygen so hydrogenase can keep producing hydrogen. According to Yacoby, the discovery of the mechanisms “makes it clear that algae have a huge underutilized potential for the production of hydrogen fuel.” Related: Scientists Convert Algae into Crude Oil in Less than One Hour The team didn’t stop there. To make the algae even more efficient, Yacoby and his team genetically altered algae with the goal of making the organism produce more hydrogenase. They were able to engineer a micro-algae that generates 400 percent more of the enzyme than regular algae. What’s next? Yacoby said their goal is to domesticate wild species of micro-algae that could be cultivated to create hydrogen for hydrogen fuel cells in cars. He said someday the energy produced via the algae could even be used to “drive the wheels of industry.” Yacoby told The Jerusalem Post , “Twenty thousand years ago, the agricultural revolution took place. Man ceased being a hunter-gatherer. He domesticated plant species from nature and began to grow his own food. But when it comes to energy, we are still collecting from what nature gives us – so far mainly polluting fossil fuels, whose supplies are dwindling rapidly.” + Iftach Yacoby Lab Via The Jerusalem Post Images via Tel Aviv University and PublicDomainPictures.net

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Scientists reprogram E. coli bacteria to attack tumor cells

August 8, 2016 by  
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Scientists at MIT and the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have re-engineered E. Coli bacteria to create a helpful super-microbe that attacks tumor cells. Researchers programmed human-safe  E. Coli as bombers in the war against cancer , dropping toxic cocktails in affected areas. When combined with traditional cancer treatment, the altered bacteria shrank aggressive liver tumors in mice far quicker than either treatment separately. “Tumors can be friendly environments for bacteria to grow, and we’re taking advantage of that,” says Sangeeta Bhatia, researcher at MIT and senior co-author of the recent paper that documented these findings. Boosted by a suppressed immune system, bacteria naturally gathers in areas affected by disease. Some bacteria is well adapted to a low-oxygen environment, such as that of a tumor. Harmless E. Coli fits right into this microecosystem and possesses three different mechanisms, provided by artificial genetic circuits, for attacking tumors. One circuit in the altered bacteria creates hemolysin, which damages the cell membranes of tumor cells. Another conjures a drug that tells the tumor cells to self-destruct, while the third delivers a protein which encourages the body’s immune system to attack the tumor. Related: Hacking living cells just got so much easier In addition, the altered E. Coli  possesses a genetic circuit that allows it to sense the nearby population of bacteria through a process called quorum sensing. If the population of helpful  E. Coli  exceeds a certain limit, bacteria are programmed to self-destruct until there is only a small population remaining. “That allows us to maintain the burden of the bacteria in the whole organism at a low level and to keep pumping the drugs only into the tumor,” says Bhatia. The research collaborators are now working to program bacteria to use other weapons against dangerous cells while refining their cancer hunting  E. Coli to suit different forms of cancer. Via MIT News Images via NIAID

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MAPAs prefab house can be installed and disassembled with minimal environmental harm

August 8, 2016 by  
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The Retreat in Finca Aguy was prefabricated offsite in a factory near Montevideo in a process that minimizes construction waste and saves on costs. The compact structure comprises two identical blocky modules , each measuring around 12.5 meters (41 feet) in length. A truck transported the completed modules 200 kilometers (124 miles) to Pueblo Edén, where they were lowered into place and joined together atop two intersecting stone walls. The architects also installed additional structural elements, hidden from view, to ensure the home’s stability. Related: MAPA Architects’ Tiny MINIMOD House is a LED-Lit Prefab Home for Off-Grid Living Set within an olive grove overlooking beautiful rural views, the house is fortified against the elements with its corrugated metal facade. Full-height glazing is installed into the two long sides of the home but can be shielded from view with movable timber louvers. The interior matches the facade’s material palette, with timber lining the walls, floors, and ceilings, while handsome black furnishings and countertops provide contrast. “In landscapes of high natural value, it is fundamental to respect their original condition and so a reversibility condition is essential,” said the architects to Dezeen . “Prefabrication allows us to work with industrialised materials that enable high-precision processes, thus reducing the impact of construction on the ground, minimising waste, staff in-situ and displacement.” + MAPA Architects Via Dezeen

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MAPAs prefab house can be installed and disassembled with minimal environmental harm

Rooftop garden of 25,000 LED roses light up for love in China

August 8, 2016 by  
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The garden comprises 25,000 waterproof white roses and two customized pink ones-25 roses every 32 square feet-arranged to create a sea of light illuminating the area against the city skyline. It was designed and curated in collaboration between creative agencies AllRightsReserved, PANCOM , and Amherst Inc . Related: World’s largest candy carpet made from 13 tonnes of sweets pops up in Chengdu, China The project started its world tour in Seoul and has recently debuted in Chengdu, its first destination on the Chinese mainland. In Hong Kong , the temporary installation attracted over 500,000 visitors over nine days. The exhibition in Chengdu, the first-ever rooftop light rose garden, will coincide with Chinese Valentine’s Day, Mid-autumn festival and National Day, and become part of various love-themed activities. It will be open to the public between August 5 and October 9, 2016. + Light Rose Garden + AllRightsReserved + PANCOM + Amherst Inc.

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Rooftop garden of 25,000 LED roses light up for love in China

Monsanto Drops Bid to Grow GMO Crops in Europe

July 22, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock It’s no secret that European countries are less welcoming of genetically-modified crops than the US is; several European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, have even placed bans on GMO foods. Now, in a sign of just how difficult it has become for GMOs to gain a foothold on the continent, Monsanto recently revealed that it has withdrawn nearly all of its pending applications with the European Commission, basically giving up on selling GMOs in Europe . Read the rest of Monsanto Drops Bid to Grow GMO Crops in Europe Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , biotech , corn , Europe , genetic engineering , genetically modified organisms , GM corn , GMO crops , GMO farming , MON810 , Monsanto , Monsanto crops        

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US Military Drops Four Bombs on the Great Barrier Reef

July 22, 2013 by  
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The US military dropped four bombs weighing a total of 4,000 pounds on the Great Barrier Reef as part of a training exercise last week. The bombs, which were unarmed, were supposed to be jettisoned over the nearby Townshend Island , but that mission was aborted when it was reported that hazards made it unsafe to follow through as planned. Instead, the pilots of four AV-8B Harrier jets unloaded their bombs over the World Heritage Site because they were low on fuel and could not land with the heavy load. Read the rest of US Military Drops Four Bombs on the Great Barrier Reef Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: australia , Environment , Great Barrier Reef , natural resources , Nature , News , queensland , UNESCO world heritage site , US drops bombs on Great Barrier reef , us military , US Navy , world’s largest marine reserve        

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US Military Drops Four Bombs on the Great Barrier Reef

Monsanto Executive Awarded World Food Prize

June 20, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock In announcement that is sure to rile non-GMO activists and organic food supporters, a Monsanto executive and two other biotechnology scientists were awarded the World Food Prize this week. The prize, which has been called the “Nobel Prize of food,” has been widely criticized for its cozy relationship with big agribusiness and biotech companies, many of which donate money to the World Food Prize Foundation—including Monsanto. This year’s award surely won’t do anything to temper those criticisms. This year’s award will be shared by Monsanto vice president Robert T. Fraley, and scientists Marc Van Montagu of Belgium and Mary-Dell Chilton. Read the rest of Monsanto Executive Awarded World Food Prize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Agri-biotech , agribusiness , biotech , genetic engineering , GMO , industrial agriculture , Marc Van Montagu , Mary-Dell Chilton , Monsanto , norman borlaug , Robert T. Fraley , World Food Prize , World Food Prize Foundation        

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Can Technology Save the World?

May 15, 2013 by  
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Can technology save the world? In short: No, not by itself. A sweeping set of changes in the way we interact with the planet is needed to stabilize our rapidly deteriorating biosphere and avert a bleak future. Technology is simply a tool to help us achieve these changes. A dangerous argument, however, is when decision-makers and influencers say our impact on the planet is not a concern, and changes in our behavior are not needed in the near future, or ever, because technology will save us. Sounds ridiculous, but various forms of this argument are commonly invoked in government and international forums, particularly when profits and votes come into play. Read the rest of Can Technology Save the World? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: can tech save the world , drones , eco-innovations , environmental damage , genetic engineering , global issues , life saving inventions , recycling , tech solutions for a changing world , technology and climate change , technology and global warming , water issues        

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DIY: How to Plant a Personal Garden In a Small Urban Space

May 15, 2013 by  
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Many people bemoan the fact that they can’t grow their own food (or even flowers) because they lack any kind of garden space, but guess what? You can actually grow more than you realize in really small areas as long as they get a bit of direct sun. Hell, you can even grow things indoors under a lamp, but there’s something special about plucking your own food from a stalk that’s been sitting in summer sunshine all day. In any case, whether you have a little concrete slab behind your house, a fire escape outside your window, or even a tiny balcony, your urban garden can be a veritable Eden of fresh, healthy, home-grown vegetables, and herbs. Read the rest of DIY: How to Plant a Personal Garden In a Small Urban Space Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: balcony garden , companion planting , food , herbs , Organic vegetables , patio garden , patio gardening , self sufficiency , tomatoes , urban food gardening , urban food solution , urban garden , urban gardening , vegetables        

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