Ideatrotter: Disruptive 2.0 Intelligence

Genetics Startup Aims to ‘Make 100 the New 60’

J. Craig Venter, the man who helped map the human genome, is at it again. This time, the goal is to better understand aging and age-related diseases and use that information to add decades onto everybody’s lives. The new company, funded by 70 million dollars in venture capital, is called Human Longevity, Inc. 

At the top of its ‘to do’ list is to start sequencing genomes at a rate of 40 thousand per year. That will be made possible with the help of a 10 million dollar machine, which will also lower the cost of individual analysis to a thousand dollars per subject. The first mapping of the human genome racked up a tab of 100 million dollars and took 9 months. 

In this project, the sequencing is only part of the much bigger picture. Once the data is collected, it will be combined with the medical records and target biological information of those who participated. Combined, it’s hoped that enough information will be provided to crack the mystery behind aging and, as their Vice-Chairman said, ‘make 100 the new 60’. 

#video #gene therapy #future #technology #innovation
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A light switch for neurons

Ed Boyden shows how, by inserting genes for light-sensitive proteins into brain cells, he can selectively activate or de-activate specific neurons with fiber-optic implants. With this unprecedented level of control, he’s managed to cure mice of analogs of PTSD and certain forms of blindness. On the horizon: neural prosthetics. 

#video #Health Care #medicine #gene therapy #neural networks
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Students synthesizing bacteria to create islands out of garbage

The ocean is full of crap, and it’s our fault. We’ve been dumping crap into it for centuries, so it’s not surprising that some areas boast 335,000 pieces of floating junk per square km. Cleaning it all up by hand isn’t feasible, so a group of students are trying to engineer synthetic bacteria to do the job instead.

The bacteria will be customized with three genetic ‘modules’: module one is detection, which uses a human oestrogen receptor that binds to different types of plastics. Once the bacteria finds itself some plastic, the aggregation module kicks in, inducing the bacteria to to extrude a sticky substance. Gradually, all of the little tiny bits of sticky plastic will glom on to each other, forming ‘islands' that float up to the surface and can be easily collected and recycled, or stuck to each other to make a giant garbage island that is apparently suitable for habitation by monkeys.

#video #students #design #gene therapy #Environment #water
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Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute Develop DNA Nanorobot to Trigger Targeted Therapeutic Responses

Using the DNA origami method, in which complex three-dimensional shapes and objects are constructed by folding strands of DNA, Shawn Douglas, Ph.D., a Wyss Technology Development Fellow, and Ido Bachelet, Ph.D., a former Wyss Postdoctoral Fellow who is now an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Nano-Center at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, created a nanosized robot in the form of an open barrel whose two halves are connected by a hinge. The DNA barrel, which acts as a container, is held shut by special DNA latches that can recognize and seek out combinations of cell-surface proteins, including disease markers. When the latches find their targets, they reconfigure, causing the two halves of the barrel to swing open and expose its contents, or payload. The container can hold various types of payloads, including specific molecules with encoded instructions that can interact with specific cell surface signaling receptors.

Full Story: Harvard

(Source: emergentfutures)

#Harvard #gene therapy #medicine #Health Care #disruption #gamechanger #innovation
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USB stick sized DNA sequencing device announced.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies has said that it’s disposable gene sequencing device will be available by the end of 2012. Priced under US$900, the MinION device plugs into a computer and delivers results via the USB port.

A minaturized version of the company’s larger GridION device, the MinION uses pores made from bacterial proteins. An electric current flows through the pore. The DNA bases interrupt the current in different ways as they go through.

(Source:, via 8bitfuture)

#gene therapy #Health Care #technology #innovation #electric
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James Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., on Gene Therapy as a Disruptive Technology

Dr. James Wilson is a professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, and the director of the gene therapy program, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the editor of Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. During this interview with GEN, Dr. Wilson discusses his concept of a disruptive technology and explains why he believes gene therapy falls into this category.

In addition to this SKYPE interview, Dr. Wilson further elaborated on his view of gene therapy as a disruptive technology in a column in the January 2012 issue of Human Gene Therapy which can be viewed here:

#University of Pennsylvania #gene therapy #disruption #Health Care #medicine #video #interview