If you're going to make a name for yourself in the field of biotechnology or even if you're just interviewing for a low level job at a biotechnology firm, you'll need to know something about biotechnology. The best day to do this is to keep an eye on the news. More and more biotechnologists are making great strides in understanding that often show up in the news. Read on to find out about some of the biotechnology stories in the news right now.
Pain Gene Common to Mice, Flies and Humans
If you've ever banged your thumb with a hammer you know that pain is no fun. Well, scientists from the Children's Hospital in Boston working on the source of chronic pain have discovered that the gene that makes us susceptible to pain is also present in mice and fruit flies! That means a variation in the gene could cause not only people who experienced chronic pain, but also fruit flies and mice too. The eventual goal is to learn how to relieve the pain of chronic sufferers.
Autistic Neuron Created in Lab
Autism is a big concern right now, especially among parents who fear its rising rates. For many researchers, working on autism has gotten them some pretty large grants. International coalitions of scientists at the Salk Institute have successfully created human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells with Rett Syndrome (an Autism Spectrum Disorder) in the laboratory, which will help them in the future study of this disease by showing them how the brains of people with autism work differently from normal brains.
How Jellyfish Fight Terrorism
When you think of the soldiers in the war on terror, I bet you don't think of jellyfish, but actually jellyfish are helping to protect your country from medical attacks. Scientists at MIT have developed a unique biosensor that can detect airborne bacteria and viruses in only two minutes. How does it accomplish this? By incorporating jellyfish DNA. The jellyfish DNA allows the cells in the device to glow if they detect a pathogen. The sensor detects the light and alerts anyone who may be around to the danger.
Genetically Engineered Fast-Growing Plants
One of the biggest problems with the biofuel supply is the length of time it takes plants to mature. Now, researchers at the Duke Institute are aiming to fix that problem by tweaking a gene in perennial grasses that helps them to set down roots faster. If you planted some in front of your home, instead of the first harvest at 3 years they hope it would come much sooner.