In a stunning display of self-organisation, a slime mould has managed to conversantly design the tokyo rail network – to a fairly accurate degree too. This feat was accomplished through the design of a clever tokyo model for the slime mould to grow on. Mountains (which are bad for trains) were simulated by lights (which the mould dislikes), similarly food was used to represent urban centres. The mould quickly optimised the ideal distribution network between the nodes of food, matching the Tokyo rail model.
George Church is a significant researcher in the fields of genetics and synthetic biology. In this article from 2010, his background and some of his opinions and goals are expressed. Church is closely involved with the Personalised Genome Project which seeks to push forward personalised genetics and thus medical technology. This project has a number of controversial aspects though and raises questions about what is appropriate as public information and what is not.
The picture above comes from anti-GM protests in the UK in 1999. More than 10 years later there are still anti-GM protests, but it seems like the political landscape has changed. Over the past month a large controversial protest called “Take The Flour Back” has been making headlines with its goal of destroying an open-field experiment of aphid resistant BT-Wheat, developed by scientists at Rothamsted Research. What made this event special however is the way the scientists reacted to the threat of years worth of work being destroyed – and it may have been a turning point for these discussions.
Rayfish Footware is a brand new company, which claims to be able to sell genetically modified (biocustomised) stingray leather shoes to consumers. Their claims are fantastical and to some extent fairly ridiculous. While the company released a full press release last month which has been reported as fact by many news sources, this is very likely a hoax – having a number of tell tale signs.
Find out why it is a hoax and watch a video by the CEO of Rayfish Footware explaining his company after the break.
This is the first “Video of the Week” post. Each week I will be posting one interesting video about genetic engineering, synthetic biology, or anything else relevant to this site. Videos will range vastly in length, content difficulty, etc. – they will include introduction videos, documentaries, public lectures/debates, news reports, or interesting animations. Anything which is a video is eligible. If you think you know an interesting video which we should show, make sure to contact us.
To kick us off we have “Synthetic Biology Explained”, a video by James Hutson of Bridge8 – hosted by TechNyou. It is quite a nicely presented introduction to Synthetic Biology. For this reason it has also been added to the learning page on Synthetic Biology.
Make sure to come back every Tuesday for a new Video of the Week!
The Synthetic Bestiary is a website about Synthetic Biology, Genetic Engineering and the Future. It is a hub of information about these fields and fields related to them. This site aims to inspire as much as it informs, so stick around – you might learn something.
This website was created by Myles O’Neill. The website’s logo includes the artwork ‘Draco Primordialis’ by Kaytara which is used with permission. The views and opinions expressed on this website are soley those of the original authors or interviewees.