Synthetic Biology Promises Risk and Reward

In May 2010, researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute announced the creation of the world's first synthetic organism—a bacterial host cell whose self-replicating genome was human-made. This momentous achievement raises questions regarding the potential risks and benefits of synthesizing genomes, and eventually, organisms. According to proponents, synthetic biology offers great promise. Some scientists suggest that the emerging field could lead to advancements in individualized medicine, more efficient vaccine and drug production, new renewable energy sources, higher-yielding and more sustainable crops, and organisms that can remediate harmful chemicals in the environment. Synthetic biology is also widely acknowledged to have the potential to adversely affect human health, the environment, and national security. The possibility for unintended environmental effects concerns Allison Snow, a professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University. Uncontrolled escape of synthetic organisms and the rise of new invasive species are a few of the threats, according to Snow. Given the risks, synthetic organisms will need to be thoroughly evaluated before they are moved outside contained facilities. "Ecological research takes time and funding," Snow said during a public presentation on synthetic biology in July 2010. "This is why risk assessment research shouldn't be left for the last minute. It should go in tandem...
Source: Washington Watch - Category: Biology Authors: Source Type: news

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Authors: Hallmann-Szelińska E, Łuniewska K, Szymański K, Kowalczyk D, Sałamatin R, Masny A, Brydak LB Abstract The World Health Organization estimates that influenza virus infects 3-5 million people worldwide every year, of whom 290,000 to 650,000 die. In the 2016/2017 epidemic season in Poland, the incidence of influenza was 1,692 per 100,000 population. The influenza A virus, subtype A/H3N2/, was the predominant one in that season. However, in the most recent 2017/2018 epidemic season, the incidence exceeded 1,782 per 100,000 already by August of 2018. In this season, influenza B virus predominated, while the...
Source: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology - Category: Research Tags: Adv Exp Med Biol Source Type: research
In this study, we isolated a wild-type FIPV HRB-17 epidemic strain from the blood sample of household pet cat exhibiting the characteristic wet-form FIP symptoms, which has been confirmed further by animal infection. Further, we developed an EvaGreen-based real-time RT-PCR assay for the accurate detection of FCoV based on the amplification of the highly conserved FIPV N gene. Then, using a combination of the real-time RT-PCR approach and a serum chemistry assay, we performed an epidemiological survey of FIPV infection in cats living in Harbin City, Northeast China. The results indicated that the EvaGreen-based real-time RT...
Source: Molecular and Cellular Probes - Category: Molecular Biology Source Type: research
In this study, rfbD gene deleted mutant S19 was developed. The mutant strain designated S19ΔR displayed rough LPS phenotype, which was confirmed by acriflavine dye-agglutination and LPS-SDS-PAGE analysis. The virulence was amply reduced as suggested by increased sensitivity to complement killing; reduction in splenic-bacterial load and the recovery time RT50 as validated in mice model. Anti-brucella humoral response was significantly lower as compared to S19 immunization. The minimal induction of Brucella specific IgG1, IgG2a &IgG2b, and IgG3 resulted in no apparent reactivity to RBPT antigen. S19ΔR showed ...
Source: Biologicals - Category: Biology Source Type: research
Publication date: Available online 14 December 2019Source: Reactive and Functional PolymersAuthor(s): Sevda Şenel
Source: Reactive and Functional Polymers - Category: Chemistry Source Type: research
Authors: Nowlan M, Murfitt D, Turner N Abstract Presented is a synopsis of the 5th New Zealand Influenza Symposium, which focused on both uptake of the influenza vaccine and the long-term consequences of influenza. Particularly highlighted were the advantages of influenza vaccination for older adults in reducing declines in cognitive and physical health. Research findings from influenza surveillance, future of influenza vaccines and the influenza promotional campaign presented at the symposium are summarised. PMID: 31830020 [PubMed - in process]
Source: New Zealand Medical Journal - Category: General Medicine Tags: N Z Med J Source Type: research
CONCLUSIONS: The reduction in birth rates in New Zealand in 1918 and especially 1919 are consistent with international data associated with the 1918 influenza pandemic. The relatively higher natality loss for Māori for 1919 is also consistent with other epidemiological data on the unequal burden from this pandemic. Pandemic planning needs to consider ways to prevent such future burdens and associated inequalities. There is also a need to improve on the current low level of routine influenza vaccination in pregnancy so as to minimise fetal loss from seasonal influenza infection. PMID: 31830017 [PubMed - in process]
Source: New Zealand Medical Journal - Category: General Medicine Tags: N Z Med J Source Type: research
Vaccination rates for the illness have stagnated worldwide for nearly 10 years, the World Health Organization says.
Source: Washington Post: To Your Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Source Type: news
The South Pacific island nation of Samoa on Saturday extended a state of emergency due to a measles outbreak which has killed 72 people, mostly infants, as New Zealand announced NZ$1 million ($640,700) to help combat measles in the Pacific.
Source: Reuters: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Tags: healthNews Source Type: news
Conclusions: Our study showed that HDACi enhanced recognition of glioma cell by immune cells and sensitivity of tumor immunotherapy, and improved the anti-tumor effect of tumor lysate vaccine through activating CTL immune response. These pharmacological molecular mechanisms of increasing immune recognition suggest that epigenetic modulation is a promising strategy for sensitizing immunotherapy for glioma treatment.
Source: Journal of Cancer - Category: Cancer & Oncology Authors: Tags: Research Paper Source Type: research
Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most prevalent hematological malignancy. In spite of the remarkable progress in understanding the biology and therapy of MM, curing this disease remains difficult, which calls for more effective treatment strategies. As vital communicators between different cells, exosomes have been verified to be crucial to cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Exosomes in MM patients show a different expression profile compared with those in healthy individuals. In this review, we summarize potential therapy roles exosomes may play in MM. The specific expression of certain components in exosomes ...
Source: Journal of Cancer - Category: Cancer & Oncology Authors: Tags: Review Source Type: research
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