Research News – 6

Biotech route for rubber: Natural rubber trumps synthetic, petroleum-derived rubber in useful qualities such as elasticity and abrasion resistance. But rubber trees are quite susceptible to disease, leading scientists to search for other sources of natural rubber and to understand the specifics of its biosynthesis. Lettuce plants are a source of natural rubber, and now Qu et al. identify a scaffold protein called CPTL2 that keeps rubber-synthesizing enzymes from bouncing around the cell. Tethered to the cell’s endoplasmic reticulum, CPTL2 anchors a protein important for rubber polymerization in place. Plants with reduced expression of CPTL2 could not synthesize rubber, revealing its essential role.  From the Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2014

10.1074/jbc.M114.616920 (2014).

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Research News – 4

There were many interesting articles published in the last three weeks. Some of them are inspiring in terms of experimental design while others clearly show the steep progress that has been made in synthetic biology.   1. Electric field increases enzyme activity: As reported in science: “Enzymes accelerate chemical processes by coaxing molecules into just the right reactive states. Fried et al. now elucidate the way the … Continue reading Research News – 4

What is life ? A 21st century perspective

Craig Venter: I was asked earlier whether the goal is to dissect what Schrödinger had spoken and written, or to present the new summary, and I always like to be forward-looking, so I won’t give you a history lesson except for very briefly. I will present our findings on first on reading the genetic code, and then learning to synthesize and write the genetic code, … Continue reading What is life ? A 21st century perspective

Scientific Publications

I did a Pubmed search to see the publication trend in a few key areas of scientific research. In all these areas (Synthetic Biology, Cancer, Genetic Circuits), research has been steadily growing as indicated by the number of research papers published, as seen in the right hand side of each picture below. Cancer: 2.6 million articles as of 30 Sep 2012 Synthetic Biology: 15693 articles … Continue reading Scientific Publications

Synthetic life

Source: The New Yorker If the science truly succeeds, it will make it possible to supplant the world created by Darwinian evolution with one created by us. The first time Jay Keasling remembers hearing the word “artemisinin,” about a decade ago, he had no idea what it meant. “Not a clue,” Keasling, a professor of biochemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, recalled. … Continue reading Synthetic life