Bioengineers design long-lasting genetic circuitry for cancer-fighting bacteria using a ‘rock-paper-scissors’ strategy

Over roughly the past twenty years, scientists have been trying to harness the power of nature to solve demanding global health, environmental, and manufacturing problems using synthetic biological circuits — living components inside a cell designed to perform logical functions mimicking those observed in electronic circuits.

But, the functionality of present-day man-made biological circuits inevitably crashes in a matter of days to weeks. This is caused by accumulating damage to the organic computer chips, a major obstacle to applying synthetic biology to worldwide crises and conundrums.

Borrowing from how ecologists view relationships of population size changes in an environmental system…

An image representing attraction and diversity among individuals. [Credit: Francesca Cattaneo]

No ‘gay gene’ or genetic signature for same-sex sexual behavior found in the largest human study of its kind

What determines a person’s sexual orientation? Is it passed down from generation to generation? Or does ‘nurture’ prevail over ‘nature’ with life’s experiences forming our preferred sexual behaviors?

As if the social and political aspects weren’t complicated enough, the hereditary and environmental determinants of sexual orientation have also been the subject of debate for years. This is partly due to hints that sexual preferences may be somewhat genetically hardwired.

Yet, studies trying to pin down the inherited information tied to this have proved to be superficial and insubstantial. …

Jonathan D. Grinstein, PhD

Science writer reporting on brains, genes, and biotechnology.

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