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Newly Sequenced Giant Squid Genome Raises as Many Questions as It Answers

Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)One the most intriguing and mysterious creatures on the planet—the giant squid—has finally had its genome fully sequenced. But while the genome is helping to explain many of its distinguishing features, including its large size and big brain, we still have much to learn about this near-mythical beast.“A genome is a…

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The fascinating biology behind how breast milk is made

The fascinating biology behind how breast milk is made

In theory, men could also produce breast milk. Marlon Lopez MMG1 Design/Shutterstock The hormone progesterone triggers the production of early milk during pregnancy, while the hormone prolactin is responsible for the production of mature milk after your baby is born.Milk is produced and stored in the breasts by little cavities in the breast tissue called…

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Ginkgo Bioworks: Organism Engineering at Scale

Ginkgo Bioworks: Organism Engineering at Scale

ORGANISM ENGINEERING AT SCALEWe’re making biology easier to engineer.We believe biology is the best manufacturing technology on the planet. But it’s hard to engineer biology well—evolution is four billion years ahead of us, after all.  At Ginkgo we’ve built our foundries and codebase so that we can better learn from and design with biology.FOUNDRIES ARE…

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IBM’s biologically-inspired AI generates hash codes faster than classical approaches

IBM’s biologically-inspired AI generates hash codes faster than classical approaches

Ever heard of FlyHash? It’s an algorithm inspired by fruit flies’ olfactory circuits that’s been shown to generate hash codes — numeric representations of objects — with performance superior to classical algorithms. Unfortunately, because FlyHash uses random projections, it can’t learn from data. To overcome this limitation, researchers at Princeton, the University of San Diego,…

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How to Grow (Almost) Anything

How to Grow (Almost) Anything

An off-shoot of the infamous “How to Make (Almost) Anything” course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “How to Grow (Almost) Anything” tackles the core concepts behind designing with biology – prototyping biomolecules, engineering biological computers, and 3D printing biomaterials. The material touches elements of synthetic biology, ethics of biotechnology, protein design, microfluidic fabrication, microbiome…

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Pathways to Cellular Supremacy in Biocomputing

Pathways to Cellular Supremacy in Biocomputing

AbstractSynthetic biology uses living cells as the substrate for performing human-defined computations. Many current implementations of cellular computing are based on the “genetic circuit” metaphor, an approximation of the operation of silicon-based computers. Although this conceptual mapping has been relatively successful, we argue that it fundamentally limits the types of computation that may be engineered…

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Common chemical disrupts reproductive biology

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the New York State Department of Health have discovered how a common plasticizer associated with human reproductive abnormalities likely does its damage at the molecular level. For years, scientists have linked exposure to DEHP, short for di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate — a chemical added to many plastics to make them flexible…

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