Digital Genetics

Tag: Technology

Researchers build Life-like cells made of metal

by on Sep.16, 2011, under cool, science, technology

Katherine Sanderson from NewScientist writes:

He has managed to build cell-like bubbles from giant metal-containing molecules and has given them some life-like properties. He now hopes to induce them to evolve into fully inorganic self-replicating entities.

“I am 100 per cent positive that we can get evolution to work outside organic biology,” says Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow. His building blocks are large “polyoxometalates” made of a range of metal atoms – most recently tungsten – linked to oxygen and phosphorus. By simply mixing them in solution, he can get them to self-assemble into cell-like spheres.

This research certainly pushes our understanding of life into fascinating areas, whilst also raising some interesting debate. I personally am fascinated by the prospect and possible application of this technology in the realm of robotics.

To read the full article, visit:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20906-lifelike-cells-are-made-of-metal.html

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Moving forward?

by on Jan.24, 2011, under Environment, nature, Society, technology

According to a recent article posted on the Globe and mail website:

In September, a privately held and highly secretive U.S. biotech company named Joule Unlimited received a patent for “a proprietary organism” – a genetically engineered cyanobacterium that produces liquid hydrocarbons: diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline. This breakthrough technology, the company says, will deliver renewable supplies of liquid fossil fuel almost anywhere on Earth, in essentially unlimited quantity and at an energy-cost equivalent of $30 (U.S.) a barrel of crude oil. It will deliver, the company says, “fossil fuels on demand.”

Whilst it is an obvious step forward in terms of technology and zero dependence of raw materials, agricultural land, crops (ie. ethanol) or fresh water, i’m not convinced this is a step in a positive environment-oriented direction. It is essentially (as the globe and mail suggested) liquid hydrocarbons on demand.

For the full article, go to:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/a-brave-new-world-of-fossil-fuels-on-demand/article1871149/

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