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virtual philosopher: Julian Savulescu discussing Craig Venter's synthetic bacterium Craig Venter has created a synthetic bacterium in the laboratory (there are many links about this on the Nature blog). What are the implications of this breakthrough? I asked Julian Savulescu, Director of Oxford University's Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Click on the button below to listen to the interview which is 11 minutes 16 seconds long. It may take a few seconds before it starts to play. Julian Savulescu on Craig Venter's synthetic bacterium

NOVA The 100-Year-Old Idea That Could Change Flight Inspired by birds, bats, and the Wright brothers, engineers are building the next breakthrough in aviation. From NOVA Next | Feb 22, 2017 Key Brain Regions Found To Be Smaller in People With ADHD In the largest study of its kind, research shows people with ADHD have smaller brain regions—including the amygdala, which is responsible for regulating emotions. From NOVA Next | Feb 17, 2017

First monkeys with customized mutations born Niu et al., Cell Twin cynomolgus monkeys born in China are the first with mutations in specific target genes. The ultimate potential of precision gene-editing techniques is beginning to be realised. Today, researchers in China report the first monkeys engineered with targeted mutations1, an achievement that could be a stepping stone to making more realistic research models of human diseases. Xingxu Huang, a geneticist at the Model Animal Research Center of Nanjing University in China, and his colleagues successfully engineered twin cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) with two targeted mutations using the CRISPR/Cas9 system — a technology that has taken the field of genetic engineering by storm in the past year.

Top 25 Biotech Companies of 2016 A year after biotech stocks began trending down, as investors retreated from the markets based on fears that public anger over rising drug costs would lead to price curbs imposed by Washington, the results can be seen in this year’s GEN list of Top 25 Biotech Companies. The total market capitalization of the 25 companies on this year’s list has slid 14.5%, to 1.047 trillion, from $1.225 trillion last year. Yet this year’s total is still 5.6% above the combined $990.89 billion market cap of the Top 25 Biotech Companies of 2014, so investors who stuck out the volatile biotech market of the past year have something to show for their endurance. Following is a list of 25 biotech companies, ranked by their market cap as of September 6 as furnished by the exchanges on which they trade their shares, or by other publicly available sources.

Top 7 in Molecular Biology A snapshot of the most highly ranked articles in molecular biology and related areas, from Faculty of 1000 1. Lighting up RNA A novel technique for tagging and following RNA processes in live cells promises to illuminate RNA biology the way green fluorescent protein (GFP) did for the study of proteins.

Chromosome Mapping: Human Genome Research in Progress The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. One of the key research areas was Chromosome Mapping. This page details that research. Mapping is the construction of a series of chromosome descriptions that depict the position and spacing of unique, identifiable biochemical landmarks, including some genes, that occur on the DNA of chromosomes. In 1990, DOE initiated projects to enrich the developing chromosome maps with markers for genes. In 1993 this effort led to the establishment of the Integrated Molecular Analysis of Gene Expression (IMAGE) Consortium.

Scientific collections The DNA Bank of Senckenberg and BiK-F Molecular data, particularly DNA sequences, are increasingly important for biosystematics, ecology and nature conservation. DNA sequences and fingerprints is routinely generated by many research groups because some of the most interesting questions about the evolution of life or the interactions between organisms in ecosystems cannot be answered without such data. The Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum (SGN) houses millions of collections that form a huge archive for basic research in this field. At room temperature, DNA slowly degrades. It is technically difficult to isolate intact DNA from old museum collections.

Top 7 in Cancer Biology A snapshot of the most highly ranked articles in cancer biology and related areas, from Faculty of 1000 Newt lung cells in early anaphaseNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH 1. Signaling cell division Researchers uncovered the pulses of external signaling factors that push resting cells to divide. Jeffrey M. Smith Biography The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices, Jeffrey Smith's meticulous research documents how biotech companies continue to mislead legislators and safety officials to put the health of society at risk and the environment in peril. His work expertly summarizes why the safety assessments conducted by the FDA and regulators worldwide teeter on a foundation of outdated science and false assumptions, and why genetically engineered foods must urgently become our nation's top food safety priority. Mr. Smith’s feature-length documentary Genetic Roulette — The Gamble of Our Lives was awarded the 2012 Movie of the Year (Solari Report) and the Transformational Film of the Year (AwareGuide).