Datoos, or DNA tattoos are an idea conceived by Frog Design. The idea is simple, a temporary printable tattoo which has an interactive display which can also monitor your health through various input. Essentially they are an idea for a more artistic way to replace and improve on current smartphones. Sadly frog design hasn’t moved forward with the idea, but there are still a number of articles on the design which are worth a read (Gizmag, bit rebels, technovelgy). The concept however is still a very good one and one which I think will definitely be pushed forward, in one way or another in the future.
The key idea I think behind this technology is the idea of internal health monitoring through devices. With more sophisticated nano-technology/synthetic biology we will be able to create more machines which can exist within the body and interact/control them externally. There is also a lot of potential for interfaces which can draw power from the body itself – saving on costly and bulky batteries.
‘Murder’ is a short animation about a scientist’s pursuit of cloning. It touches upon some of the potential philosophical and ethical problems with such a technology. Although we shouldn’t confuse it with modern cloning which works in quite a different fashion. Nonetheless, an interesting piece to watch! Watch the film after the break.
Bioinformatics is the study of data generated from biological experiments. With the advent of high-throughput sequencing and many other rapidly improving technologies Biologists are often producing far more data than they can properly analyze. With data being so easy to produce we have massive amounts of data, much of it publicly available – which could hold the keys to new medicines, cures, of breakthroughs. This data just needs someone to look through it. Using data mining software bioinformaticians look though data to find interesting patterns or to find answers to questions. But just like DIY Biology, bioinformatics isn’t restricted to professionals. Given that all you need to do bioinformatics is a computer and some spare time, anyone can do it.
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have published a study which suggests that expanding the genetic alphabet may be easier than previously thought. Check out their press release on the topic here , or the original scientific article here.
“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!