A tailings pond at an oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta., in July 2012. The estimated cost of reclaiming oilsands mines is almost $31 billion.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Solutions to some of the globe’s most daunting environmental challenges may be closer than you think. Scientists are harnessing nature to clean up toxic chemicals and mining waste.
A block of sand particles held together by living cells.
The University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science
Researchers are turning microbes into microscopic construction crews by altering their DNA to make them produce building materials. The work could lead to more sustainable buildings.
Synthetic biology can help agriculture adapt to a changing world.
Synthetic biology lets us explore places where evolution has never gone, to help meet humanity’s food needs in a future shaped by climate change.
Synthetic biology has the potential to change how we do agriculture – but will the public accept it?
Synthetic biology is highly promising – but if we don’t get the regulation and engagement right, we risk alienating members of the public, and may even close doors for potentially fruitful research.
Clinical trials using immune cells engineered through synthetic biology have been shown to push some patients into remission from blood cancer.
Right now, you’re living in a kind of industrial revolution – where biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing and automation all come together to form synthetic biology.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world.
Julio C. Valencia, NCI Center for Cancer Research
Synthetic biology allows us to engineer biological cells. This could help us tackle cancer in remarkable ways.
Victor Frankenstein’s mistakes serve as cautionary lessons.
If Mary Shelley wrote the book today, Victor would surely be a synthetic biologist. But those fiddling with living things in 2018 have hopefully learned from her cautionary tale.
Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy.
Invitation image created by Kstudio
One big challenge for gene therapies is delivering DNA or RNA safely to cells inside patients’ bodies. New nanoparticles could be an improvement over the current standard – repurposed viruses.
Modern advances come with new liabilities.
Biologists’ growing reliance on computers advances the field – but comes with new risks. The first step toward improved cyberbiosecurity is increasing awareness of possible threats.
What can mating yeast tell us about new drugs?
By exploiting the way yeast cells mate, researchers have figured out a quicker, easier way to identify on- and off-target drug interactions.
Will your cellphone be able to communicate with bacteria in your body?
Bacteria image via www.shutterstock.com.
New research works out how to translate between the language of biology – molecules – and the language of microelectronics – electrons. It could open the door to new kinds of biosensors and therapeutics.
Some bacteria can to survive inside the oxygen-deprived environment of a tumour.
Scientists are working on a new method to cure cancer and have shown they can genetically program certain bacteria to invade the tumour cells of cancerous mice.
People get suspicious when ethically fraught science is discussed behind closed doors.
DNA image via www.shutterstock.com.
A recent closed meeting about building synthetic genomes raised suspicions about just what scientists were planning, away from the public eye.
Sorting pupae of genetically modified mosquitoes before release to the wild.
Insecticides and mosquito nets only get you so far. Synthetic biologists are ready to take the battle against mosquito-borne disease to the level of DNA – which might spell the insects’ ultimate doom.
Building yeast chromosomes – cheers to that!
Australia is to play a significant role in the quest for artificial life as it joins an international project to create the world’s first synthetic yeast, we can announce today. Under the leadership of…
Advances in gene programming herald exciting possibliities.
Z33 Arts Centre
Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline, but paradoxically it is not particularly new. Since the mid-1970s we have been developing ways of instructing pieces of biology to perform useful tasks in an…
It won’t look quite like that, though.
Scientists in the US have developed a calculator from living cells, using old-fashioned analog programming. Their hope is that the technology could be used in the future to program cells to kill cancer…