Using the labor of dozens of undergraduate students, scientists have built a customized yeast chromosome from scratch.
It's a milestone in the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, where organisms can be tailored for industrial use. In this case, the near-term goal is to understand the genetics of yeast, and eventually the genetics of us.
This was quite an undertaking. Yeast have about 6,000 genes packed in 16 tidy bundles called chromosomes. Each chromosome is an enormous molecule of DNA packed in proteins.
Stormy weather over the southern Indian Ocean today once again squelched the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Bad weather may be a recurring problem there as the Southern Hemisphere edges toward winter. Satellite data points investigators to those remote seas. There have also been satellite images of floating objects. But so far, no debris has been positively identified and the search area is still huge.
Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 2:15 pm
Last week we reported on a new campaign from the Center for Biological Diversity that hopes to persuade Americans to cut back on their meat consumption. Their pitch? Eat less meat and you will help save wildlife.
Following up on his acknowledgement in January that it's problematic to have the National Security Agency collecting and storing massive amounts of information about individuals' phone calls, President Obama announced Thursday that he has decided "the data should remain at the telephone companies."
Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:55 pm
Smartphones are so prevalent in our lives that they're interrupting everything from meals to movies. And engaging with them is sometimes taking precedence over enjoying the real, live human beings seated next to us.
So what should be the norms around smartphone use? Is it completely situational — OK for some places or times, but not others? How does the ubiquity of smartphones affect interpersonal contact?
We are going to trace one simple Internet request. It's one that lots of people have made lately.
Rachel Margolis, a Time Warner cable subscriber in Brooklyn, wants to watch an episode of House of Cards on Netflix.
When Rachel clicks on House of Cards on her TV screen, her request travels out of her apartment on a cable, to a box on the corner, then under the East River to a giant building on the West Side of Manhattan. Think of the Empire State Building, turned on its side.