A biochip is an invention by Stephen Quake which uses microfluids to vastly improves the ability of biologists to do research. By automating and streamlining otherwise tedious tasks, biochips speed up tasks and save valuable human time. They also, in doing so, allow previously unfeasible experiments to be done – broadening the reach of science. Stephen Quake’s group isn’t the only one working on chips like these, but he did just win the Lemelson-MIT prize (the “oscar for inventors”) for his work. This sort of technology will contribute significantly to the progress of the genetic revolution, rapidly speeding up the work of biologists everywhere. Singularity Hub ran an article on Stephen Quakes work here. Also check out his TEDxCaltech talk on his work from 2011 after the break.
“Creating Synthetic Life” is a documentary which premiered on the Science Channel in 2010. It follows the story of Craig Venter and his team in creating Synthia (or Mycoplasma laboratorium), an organism which has been declared by some to be “the first synthetic organism”. The documentary has a few flaws, something not unexpected given its very general target audience. Nonetheless it has a very high production quality and is definitely worth watching. You can purchase the DVD of the program here, or you can watch a version which has been uploaded to youtube below.
“If we can get this new base pair to replicate with high efficiency and fidelity in vivo, we’ll have a semi-synthetic organism,” Romesberg said. “The things that one could do with that are pretty mind blowing.”
In our first instalment of DIY Biology Instructions, we’re going to be looking at extracting DNA. This series of instructions will cover a number of interesting and easy biology/biotechnology techniques that you can do yourself – often with quite minimal amounts of lab equipment. Rather than reinvent the wheel, these articles seek to find and link you to all the best relevant instructions on the web. DIY Biology is fun and great for teaching science to anyone who is interested. If you enjoy DIY biology, then find or found a public group near you!
Find out how to extract DNA from any living thing 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.