Monday, 16 February 2015

News Round-up

It's coffee and catch-up time again with the best of last week's news. Pull up a chair and procrastinate.

[caption id="attachment_265" align="alignright" width="232"]On electrophoresis: cDNA. cDNA run. Run DNA, run! DNA double helix - data storage of the future? Image credit: ynse, CC2.0.[/caption]

DNA computer storage

DNA is an extremely durable complex molecule. Animal DNA can be preserved for hundreds of thousands of years, even millions, without suffering too much degradation. It can also be used to store information - not just the information to build proteins - but all of human knowledge. Scientists now want to build a "time capsule" containing all of human knowledge using DNA as a stable, compact data storage system. Read more on New Scientist.

"Smart" insulin that activates in sugar

In type 1 diabetes, patients must inject appropriate amounts of insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels. Too much insulin may lead to hypoglycemia - low blood sugar - and too little may lead to hyperglycemia - too much blood sugar. Each can be bad for the patient. Scientists have created a long-lasting insulin molecule that only activates in high blood-sugar levels. The researchers think it can be used to treat type 1 diabetes, as one injection works over 14 hours. Read more on Science Daily.

Beaver tooth enamel stronger than most

The tooth enamel of beavers has been found to be stronger than most other animals. Beaver enamel structure is supplemented with iron and other minerals making it stronger than even fluoride-treated enamel. The findings may lead to a better understanding of tooth decay in humans. More on IFLScience.

Bonus: Interview with Charles Darwin over on Science.

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