What is new in Biotech

Repairing the photosynthetic enzyme Rubisco

23.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

The enzyme Rubisco catalyzes the assimilation of CO2 from the atmosphere into organic matter. This is the central step in photosynthesis that generates sugar molecules for the production of essentially all biomass. Despite its pivotal role, Rubisco works relatively slowly and is easily inhibited by sugar products. By improving the function of...

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CRISPR meets Pac-Man: New DNA cut-and-paste tool enables bigger gene edits

21.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Gene editing for the development of new treatments, and for studying disease as well as normal function in humans and other organisms, may advance more quickly with a new tool for cutting larger pieces of DNA out of a cell's genome, according to a new study by UC San Francisco scientists. The already renowned CRISPR-Cas9 ensemble is like a...

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Plant genetic engineering to fight hidden hunger
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Plant genetic engineering to fight hidden hunger

19.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

More than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from micronutrient malnutrition due to deficiencies in minerals and vitamins. Poor people in developing countries are most affected, because their diets are typically dominated by starchy staple foods, which are inexpensive sources of calories but contain low amounts of micronutrients. Often, the people...

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Calcium bursts kill drug-resistant tumor cells

16.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Multidrug resistance (MDR) – a process in which tumors become resistant to multiple medicines – is the main cause of failure of cancer chemotherapy. Tumor cells often acquire MDR by boosting their production of proteins that pump drugs out of the cell, rendering the chemotherapies ineffective. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Nano Letters have...

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CRISPRing trees for a climate-friendly economy
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CRISPRing trees for a climate-friendly economy

14.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Researchers led by prof. Wout Boerjan (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) have discovered a way to stably finetune the amount of lignin in poplar by applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Lignin is one of the main structural substances in plants and it makes processing wood into, for example, paper difficult. This study is an important...

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A hydrogel that could help repair damaged nerves
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A hydrogel that could help repair damaged nerves

12.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Injuries to peripheral nerves – tissues that transmit bioelectrical signals from the brain to the rest of the body – often result in chronic pain, neurologic disorders, paralysis or disability. Now, researchers have developed a stretchable conductive hydrogel that could someday be used to repair these types of nerves when there's damage. A...

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Argentina becomes first country to approve genetically modified wheat
Credit: VHolcova

Argentina becomes first country to approve genetically modified wheat

9.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Argentina has become the first country to approve the growth and consumption of genetically modified wheat, the country's agriculture ministry announced Thursday. The ministry's scientific commission said in a statement released in Buenos Aires that it had approved a drought-resistant variety of wheat in the world's fourth-largest exporter of...

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Nanoparticles can turn off genes in bone marrow cells
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Nanoparticles can turn off genes in bone marrow cells

7.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to turn off specific genes in cells of the bone marrow, which play an important role in producing blood cells. These particles could be tailored to help treat heart disease or to boost the yield of stem cells in patients who need stem cell transplants, the researchers say. This...

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Virus turns deadly fungus from foe to friend in plants
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Virus turns deadly fungus from foe to friend in plants

5.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Researchers have discovered that a fungal virus (also called a mycovirus) can convert deadly fungal pathogens into beneficial fungus in rapeseed plants. Once transformed, the fungus boosts the plant's immune system, making the plant healthier and more resistant to diseases. These findings, published on September 29 in the journal Molecular...

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Synthetic DNA locks up drugs in the body – and only cancer has the key

2.10.2020   |   Press monitoring

Currently our best treatments for cancer are radiation and chemotherapy, but both have the unfortunate downside of not being particularly selective towards tumors. The radiation and chemicals damage and kill healthy cells throughout the body, leading to a range of unwanted health side effects like fatigue, nausea, and hair loss. In response, many...

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