Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Stem cells: Reprogramming in situ : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

"Cellular reprogramming to a stem-cell state has now been achieved in tissues of genetically engineered mice. This work signals a future for regenerative medicine in which tissue fates might be manipulated in living organisms." Full paper @ Nature

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Decisions on the fly in cellular sensory systems

"Cell-signaling pathways are often presumed to convert just the level of an external stimulus to response. However, in contexts such as the immune system or rapidly developing embryos, cells plausibly have to make rapid decisions based on limited information. [...] We show that common genetic circuits have the potential to approach the theoretical optimal performance. [...] The complex but reversible protein modifications that accompany signaling thus have the potential to perform analog computations." Full paper @ PNAS

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Bumblebee flight inspires 'bad weather robot' design

"Scientists are studying the flight of the bumblebee in an effort to work out how the insects manage to remain steady in adverse weather conditions". News article @ BBC News


The amazing diversity of animal life

"The vast majority of animals with which we share our planet go almost unnoticed, eclipsed by the bigger, more charismatic creatures such as the mammals, amphibians and reptiles. A book published this week – Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures by Ross Piper – seeks to redress this imbalance by providing an unbiased tour of the 35 lineages of the animal kingdom in all their bizarre beauty and variety." Photos @ The Observer


Why many cells are better than one

"Researchers from Johns Hopkins have quantified the number of possible decisions that an individual cell can make after receiving a cue from its environment, and surprisingly, it's only two." New article @ ScienceDaily, Full paper @ Science.

Tank you Aaron Schwartz for this link!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


DNA Double Take

"...cientists are finding that it’s quite common for an individual to have multiple genomes. Some people, for example, have groups of cells with mutations that are not found in the rest of the body. Some have genomes that came from other people." Full news article @

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How Robots Can Trick You Into Loving Them

"In the future, more robots will occupy that strange gray zone: doing not only jobs that humans can do but also jobs that require social grace. In the last decade, an interdisciplinary field of research called Human-Robot Interaction has arisen to study the factors that make robots work well with humans, and how humans view their robotic counterparts." Full article @

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Thursday, September 12, 2013


Going Viral

"Bacteriophages shuttle genes between diverse ecosystems. From therapeutics to gene transfer, bacteriophages offer a sustainable and powerful method of controlling microbes." News article @ The Scientist


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Synthesizing cognition in neuromorphic electronic systems

"Neuromorphic emulations express the dynamics of neural systems in analogous electronic circuits, offering a distributed, low-power technology for constructing intelligent systems. However, neuromorphic circuits are inherently imprecise and noisy, and there has been no systematic method for configuring reliable behavioral dynamics on these substrates. We describe such a method, which is able to install simple cognitive behavior on the neuromorphic substrate. Our approach casts light on the general question of how the neuronal circuits of the brain, and also future neuromorphic technologies, could implement cognitive behavior in a principled manner." Full paper @ PNAS

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Monday, September 09, 2013


The Social Life of Genes: Shaping Your Molecular Composition

"Your DNA is not a blueprint. Day by day, week by week, your genes are in a conversation with your surroundings. Your neighbors, your family, your feelings of loneliness: They don’t just get under your skin, they get into the control rooms of your cells. Inside the new social science of genetics." News article @ Pacific Standard

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Synthetic biological networks

"[We] discuss how the rise of a more recent field known as synthetic biology may allow us to more directly test hypotheses regarding the possible design principles of natural biological networks and systems. In particular, this review focuses on synthetic gene regulatory networks engineered to perform specific functions or exhibit particular dynamic behaviors. Advances in synthetic biology may set the stage to uncover the relationship of potential biological principles to those developed in physics." Full article @ Reports on Progress in PhysicsEmail alert RSS feed

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Saturday, September 07, 2013


Unravelling the origins of life with mathematical chemistry

"How life began is one of the most compelling questions humanity has ever asked. Atoms and molecules, driven by nothing more than unthinking chemical processes, somehow became the complex reproductive organisms that we see roaming the Earth today -- somehow, they became us." Full artcle @ Wired UK

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Thursday, September 05, 2013


Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults

"Our ability to multitask and our capacity for cognitive control decline linearly as we age. A new study shows that cognitive training can help repair this decline. In adults aged between 60 and 85, a course of training on NeuroRacer, a custom-designed 3D video game, improved both multitasking and cognitive control." Full article @ Naturep


Mimicry all the way down

"Morphological mimicry among organisms has long been recognized as an adaptive strategy, but mimicry also occurs at the molecular level. One emerging example is microbial pathogens' use of structural mimics that engage host-cell receptors." Full news and article @ Nature


Quantum information: Sharing quantum secrets

"A cost-effective architecture for quantum cryptography has been demonstrated in which a single receiver positioned at a network-hub node is shared by many end users to exchange secret encryption keys". News and article @ Nature

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