Technology Tuesday: December 1
This week: The worlds largest cloning facility, a historic rocket landing, lab grown liver cells, the water bear’s foreign genes, and manipulating the genes for long life.
Giant Animal Cloning Facility Under Construction in China
Scientists from China have announced that they will establish a commercial animal cloning center in the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA), a government-sponsored business development park. Here, they will clone various animals, including dogs, cattle, and horses.
The purpose of this project isn’t strictly scientific. Indeed, a large part of the rationale is to provide for China’s ever increasing food demands, thanks to the burgeoning population. When completed, it is slated to cost approximately $500 million, and will include a research laboratory, a gene bank, and also a museum.
New Shepherd Completes a Successful Vertical Landing
History was made today – we took a great leap towards reusable spaceflight. Earlier this afternoon, Blue Origin announced that its reusable rocket successfully completed a vertical landing on earth. Yes, a vertical landing.
The company’s craft, New Shepard, launched to the edge of space before successfully landing back on its landing site in West Texas. Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos called the it “the rarest of beasts—a used rocket.” New Shepard reportedly flew a “flawless mission,” reaching an altitude of 100,534 meters (329,839 feet) and then executing a gentle, controlled landing only a few feet off of the center of pad.
Scientists Grow Functional Liver Cells In A Lab
The liver is the largest internal organ in the human body, but more importantly, it is an essential component in metabolism, especially when we are talking about drugs. Human hepatocytes (the predominant cell type in the liver, which make up 80% of the organ’s total mass) are widely used in research.
Researchers have discovered a technique to proliferate functional human hepatocytes (liver cells). This could greatly assist us in our efforts to study and fight cancer.
The Tardigrade’s Sequenced Genes are 17.5% Foreign
Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are known to be amazingly durable organisms. In fact, they are heralded as the most resilient organism that we’ve ever encountered—the most extreme of the extremophiles.
The amazingly durable tardigrade’s DNA has now been sequenced, and it reveals that it has 6,000 genes that come from other organisms. That is or 17.5% of its DNA.
Scientists Discover Genes For a Longer, Healthier Life
Driven by the quest for eternal youth, humankind has spent centuries obsessed with the question of how it is exactly that we age. With advancements in molecular genetic methods in recent decades, the search for the genes involved in the aging process has greatly accelerated.
A team of scientists has discovered genes that are involved in physical aging. By influencing only one of these genes, the healthy lifespan of laboratory animals is extended – and possibly that of humans, too.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!
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