This week’s video of the week comes from the 2007 BBC TV documentary series, “Visions of the Future”. In this episode, The Biotech Revolution, host Michio Kaku goes through a wide variety of technologies changing or emerging due to our recent advances in biology. The documentary covers the technologies as well as ethical considerations behind each. Check it out after the break.
‘Glowing Plants‘ is a kickstarter project which is set to create the first publicly available bioluminescent plants. To do this, they will be adding the luciferase-luciferin gene system into the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Expanding on previous work done by the State University of New York and the University of Cambridge iGEM team, this synthetic biology project is truly exciting. What makes this project different is how widespread these plants will be disseminated, with over 5000 backers already. This project is the most successful biological crowdfunded campaign ever, and is setting a precedent for future projects which might seek funding this way.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Antony Evans the project manager of Glowing Plants. Check out the kickstarter video for glowing plants and our exclusive interview after the break.
Mark Lyans used to be one of the most steadfast opponents to GM technology. In a striking talk he explains why he has changed his mind, looked into the science behind the issue and decided to come out in support of GM technology.
The risk today is not that anyone will be harmed by GM food, but that millions will be harmed by not having enough food, because a vocal minority of people in rich countries want their meals to be what they consider natural.
Check out the video after the break.
The brains of two rats on different continents have been made to act in tandem. When the first, in Brazil, uses its whiskers to choose between two stimuli, an implant records its brain activity and signals to a similar device in the brain of a rat in the United States. The US rat then usually makes the same choice on the same task.
Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says that this system allows one rat to use the senses of another, incorporating information from its far-away partner into its own representation of the world. “It’s not telepathy. It’s not the Borg,” he says. “But we created a new central nervous system made of two brains.”
Read more at Nature magazine. And check out a video of the rats after the break.
For this week’s video of the week we have a short “scinemation” which visually explains the basics of Synthetic Biology. This video was produced by RiAUS, a non-profit Australian science-outreach organisation. Check it out after the break!