Synthetic Biology: Microbes defy rules of DNA

virusRecoding could stop synthetic organisms from sharing their modified DNA,
as happens when a virus (red) infects a bacterium (green).

The instructions encoded into DNA are thought to follow a universal set of rules across all domains of life. But researchers report today in Science that organisms routinely break these rules.

The finding has implications for the design of synthetic life: by designing organisms that break the rules, researchers may be able to make novel life forms resistant to viral infection. Making these organisms also been proposed as a way to stop synthetic life forms from infecting unintended hosts. Widespread exceptions to these rules, however, could make it difficult to engineer organisms that will not pass on their DNA to those in the wild.

Source: Nature News.

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Situation Report #1: Gene Therapy, EU elections and tension in China, Vietnam

Enjoy this week news roundup on the current situation:

dna-repairBreakthrough shows how DNA is ‘edited’ to correct genetic diseases
Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and the Lithuanian Institute of Biotechnology has made a major step forward in our understanding of how enzymes ‘edit’ genes, paving the way for correcting genetic diseases in patients.
Source: PhysOrg

Ukraine crisis: Dozens killed in Donetsk clashes
Ukraine forces fight seperatists for a second day in eastern city Donetsk after new leader Petro Poroshenko vows to put down ‘terrorist’ revolt.
Source: Telegraph

European elections 2014: Party leaders to set out response to Ukip victory
UK party leaders are expected to set out their response to Ukip’s “political earthquake”, after victory in EU parliament elections.
Source: The Independent

Vietnam, China trade accusations after Vietnamese fishing boat sinks
Tension rise as Chinese sink a Vietnamese fishing boat not far from where China has placed an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea.
Source: Reuters

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A sample of previous posts on Plausible Futures Newsletter:

5GW and Norwegian Terrorism (co-published in Interesting Times Magazine)

The Perfect Storm and Black Swan Theory

Why you already live in a cyberpunk future (co-published in Interesting Times Magazine)

The Men Who Stare in Peace: An Interview with Dr. David Leffler

Nanowar Scenarios and the Future of Warfare: An Interview with Edwin Thomas, Director of MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies.

Undesirable World Futures: Things That Could, But Shouldn’t, Happen

The Future of Designer Babies

30 Years Beyond the Limits – an interview with Jørgen Randers, co-published in Futurology, Forecasts and Initiatives.

View all previous posts on the retired Plausible Futures installation.

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