This tag is associated with 8 posts

Making Glowing Plants

Can you imagine using a plant instead of a light bulb to light up a room? Or a tree to light up a street instead of a lamp post? These inspiring, sustainability-focused ideas were what the Glowing Plant Project used to raise public support in creating plants that glow. And not just simply glow — … Continue reading »

The Science of ALS and the Irony of the Ice Bucket Challenge

With the ALS ice bucket challenge going viral, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been getting a lot of attention. But what exactly is ALS? It is essentially a poorly understood neurodegenerative disease that kills relatively quickly — with people usually dying within 3–5 years after onset of the first symptoms — and is responsible for … Continue reading »

Using Silkworms to Make More than Silk

We have a long history with the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which was native throughout Asia and thought to have been domesticated more than 5,000 years ago in China to make silk. Silkworms today are biological silk-producing machines, the products of thousands of years of careful breeding. Silk production is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with … Continue reading »

The Chikungunya Virus is in the U.S.: Get to Know the Virus

Have you heard of the chikungunya virus? The virus (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) was discovered in 1952 in Africa, and has been slowly making its way around the world… although the pace has been quickened in recent years. The first U.S. case was reported just earlier this month, on July 17, 2014, and a second case soon … Continue reading »

Alzheimer’s Updates: Why It’s Important to Eat Healthy and Other Findings

In the past six months, several interesting and promising studies have been published on Alzheimer’s disease. They’ve ranged from how what we eat might affect our odds of developing it, to discovering the underlying mechanisms. Taken together, researchers are definitely making progress in developing treatments — and preventative measures — for Alzheimer’s. For those of … Continue reading »

Citizen Biology

Are you not a scientist by training but you’d like to help scientists do real research? Or maybe you are a scientist and would like to aid others in doing more investigations in your spare time. Whatever your background, there are actually many ways that you can now do real scientific research in your spare … Continue reading »

Building a Genome: The First Synthetic Yeast Chromosome

When you were a kid, did you ever dream up fantastical creatures, like cats with wings or super-intelligent dogs that could speak? While we’re nowhere near making such animals, we’re definitely becoming increasingly better at genetically modifying the organisms around us. One amazing recent breakthrough is the creation of a synthetic yeast chromosome. This is … Continue reading »

Tracking Human History through Our Genes

When a child is born, its DNA is a mixture of its parents. Those parents continue to have their DNA passed down in the generations that follow, although less and less is passed down each time. Scientists can used this pattern to figure out how two distantly related people might be related, and, interestingly, to … Continue reading »