Hacking DNA. No, really.

Last year a new genetic engineering technology called CRISPR - Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats - showed up on my radar at a local conference. Long story short, CRISPR is a highly precise technique for editing DNA in situ which follows from the discovery of short sequences of DNA which allow for precise location of individual genes. It's a fascinating technology; there are even tutorials (archived copy, just in case) online for developing your own guide RNA to implement CRISPR/Cas9. What you might not have known is that CRISPR/Cas9 is being actively studied as a theraputic technique in humans …

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Genetic drift always keeps life interesting.

H1N1, the disease that's kept supplies of vaccine low, doctors' offices and emergency rooms packed, and way too many people feeling like crap this season has thrown the medical community a curveball in recent weeks. Beginning early last spring Tamiflu-resistant strains of the virus started appearing around the country, most notably in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington state. The antiviral compound Tamiflu is one of those administered to the sickest of patients, and this means that physicians will have to figure out another drug or combination of drugs because their best treatment thus far is likely to become less effective as …

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Just when you thought biotech couldn't get any more fascinating.

Biology and medicine have long known that more advanced forms of life emit various forms of energy as they go about their business. Mammals emit heat as a byproduct of their metabolisms, and the electrical activity of the musculature, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems may be picked up by sensitive instruments and used for diagnostic purposes. Recently, researchers in Japan have discovered that human bodies also emit light in the visble spectrum, albeit in a fashion that most sensors cannot detect. In fact, most lifeforms emit visible light in some fashion though the mechanism behind it isn’t understood. This …

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They're experimenting with what?

Here's a cloud to find a silver lining in - research into technically nonlethal virobiological weapons. Technically - known side effects were coma and death from brain swelling, but at least some of the time the usual effects were similiar to that of a bad case of the flu. This research never got off the ground because of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972, but serious work was still done at the time.

From the information security community to the end-users at home: Just like the hard drives you're getting rid of, wipe your solid state storage media before you …

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