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Application of synthetic biology in cyanobacteria and algae

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Wang B, Wang J, Zhang W, Meldrum DR.

"Cyanobacteria and algae are becoming increasingly attractive cell factories for producing renewable biofuels and chemicals due to their ability to capture solar energy and CO(2) and their relatively simple genetic background for genetic manipulation. Increasing research efforts from the synthetic biology approach have been made in recent years to modify cyanobacteria and algae for various biotechnological applications. In this article, we critically review recent progresses in developing genetic tools for characterizing or manipulating cyanobacteria and algae, the applications of genetically modified strains for synthesizing renewable products such as biofuels and chemicals. In addition, the emergent challenges in the development and application of synthetic biology for cyanobacteria and algae are also discussed."

http://1.usa.gov/RiujLW


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Cell Reports - Direct Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells into Haploid Spermatogenic Cells

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Charles A. Easley, Bart T. Phillips, Megan M. McGuire, Jennifer M. Barringer, Hanna Valli, Brian P. Hermann, Calvin R. Simerly, Aleksander Rajkovic, Toshio Miki, Kyle E. Orwig, Gerald P. Schatten

"Highlights
In vitro culture induces germ cell differentiation of hPSCs
hPSCs differentiate into spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and haploid spermatids
Haploid spermatids have uniparental imprints similar to fertile human sperm
Summary

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have been shown to differentiate into primordial germ cells (PGCs) but not into spermatogonia, haploid spermatocytes, or spermatids. Here, we show that hESCs and hiPSCs differentiate directly into advanced male germ cell lineages, including postmeiotic, spermatid-like cells, in vitro without genetic manipulation. Furthermore, our procedure mirrors spermatogenesis in vivo by differentiating PSCs into UTF1-, PLZF-, and CDH1-positive spermatogonia-like cells; HIWI- and HILI-positive spermatocyte-like cells; and haploid cells expressing acrosin, transition protein 1, and protamine 1 (proteins that are uniquely found in spermatids and/or sperm). These spermatids show uniparental genomic imprints similar to those of human sperm on two loci: H19 and IGF2. These results demonstrate that male PSCs have the ability to differentiate directly into advanced germ cell lineages and may represent a novel strategy for studying spermatogenesis in vitro."
http://bit.ly/TOIGh5


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“Years, Not Decades” to Growing New, Improved Tissue From Your Own Stem Cells | 80beats | Discover Magazine

“Years, Not Decades” to Growing New, Improved Tissue From Your Own Stem Cells | 80beats | Discover Magazine | Frontiers | Scoop.it

"George Church, the geneticist behind the Personal Genome Project, is envisioning a package deal: get your genome sequenced, and he and his collaborators will develop a line of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) from your tissue, so in the future, you’ll be able upgrade your system with organs and tissues bearing both your genes and special extras like genes from centenarians. It’s combining stem cells with gene therapy. In an interview with Church, David Ewing Duncan over at Technology Review asks him to elaborate. Why does he think this science fiction scenario is in our near future?

I don’t think people have fully appreciated how quickly adult stem cells and sequencing and synthetic biology have progressed. They have progressed by orders of magnitude since we got [induced pluripotent stem cells]…
Let’s use stem cells in bone marrow as an example. They are easy to use and to get to work when you implant them in bone marrow. You might one day have three choices. You can have bone marrow [1] from someone else that is matched to you, or [2] that is from you, or [3] bone marrow that is matched to you and comes to you, but is better than you. This better bone marrow might be [engineered to be] resistant to one virus, or to all viruses. It could have a bunch of alleles that you picked out of super centenarians, alleles that you have reason to believe are at least harmless and possibly helpful…And you will be able to do that for almost every stem cell population. Some of them are a little bit harder to replace, though.
IPS cells have already been used to grow an entire mouse from nearly scratch, he points out, and many crucial experiments have already been performed in rodents, so for human testing, “we’re talking about years, not decades,” he says. “It’s shorter than the Human Genome Project [which took 13 years], not less expensive, but definitely shorter.”...."
http://bit.ly/T6b0oG


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Beacons light up stem cell transformation - Space Daily

Beacons light up stem cell transformation - Space Daily | Frontiers | Scoop.it
Beacons light up stem cell transformationSpace DailyA novel set of custom-designed "molecular beacons" allows scientists to monitor gene expression in living populations of stem cells as they turn into a specific tissue in real-time.
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Team:NRP-UEA-Norwich/Quanticare - 2012.igem.org

Team:NRP-UEA-Norwich/Quanticare - 2012.igem.org | Frontiers | Scoop.it

Have a look to this great presentation of how the future with Synthetic Biology might look.

*Body monitoring Tattoo*

http://bit.ly/SRJdIr


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ROSALIND: an addictive bioinformatics learning site | Byte Size Biology

ROSALIND: an addictive bioinformatics learning site | Byte Size Biology | Frontiers | Scoop.it

OOoh - DIY bioinformatics - this looks like a great teaching and learning resource!

 

"Mission statement: We hope that Rosalind will inspire a new generation of bioinformatics students by attracting biologists who want to develop vital programming skills at their own pace in a unique environment as well as programmers who have never been exposed to some of the stimulating computational problems generated by molecular biology."

http://rosalind.info/

 

http://mechanicalmooc.org/

A Gentle Introduction to Python could be useful...!


Via Mary Williams, David Gifford, Gerd Moe-Behrens
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Tracking stem cell reprogramming - MIT News

Tracking stem cell reprogramming - MIT News | Frontiers | Scoop.it
Science CodexTracking stem cell reprogrammingMIT NewsSeveral years ago, biologists discovered that regular body cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — cells with the ability to become any other type of cell.
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X-ray Microscope: Seeing Cells in 3-D | KQED QUEST

X-ray Microscope: Seeing Cells in 3-D | KQED QUEST | Frontiers | Scoop.it

At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scientists are using a cutting-edge microscope, the first of its kind in the world, to image whole cells in 3-D with the penetrating power of x-rays.


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