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Blog Archive for the ‘Genetics’ Category

Your DNA: Library or Thunderdome?

by Catherine Borgeson on October 18th, 02013

Systems biologist Michael White, writing for Pacific Standard, dismisses the narrative that our genetic material is a “highly sophisticated, finely tuned data storage and processing device.” Instead, he says, it is an apocalyptic wasteland “littered with the rubble of ancient and ongoing battles with hordes of viruses, clone armies of genetic parasites, and zombie genes. . .   Read More

Scientists recover 700,000-year-old genome

by Austin Brown on August 13th, 02013

There’s an upper limit to how long DNA can last due to the way it decays – dinosaurs, for instance, lived far too long ago for their DNA to still be readable – but scientists recently recovered and sequenced a genome 10 times older than the previous oldest.

The genetic material comes from a horse that. . .   Read More

Being Human Conference 02013

by Austin Brown on June 21st, 02013

On September 28, 02013, the second Being Human conference will he held at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. With talks by neuroscientists, philosophers, anthropologists and psychologists, this day-long event seeks to probe science’s developing picture of what it means to be human. As the organizers put it,

For most of human history. . .   Read More

Storing Digital Data in DNA

by Laura Welcher on August 16th, 02012

Reported in Science today, scientists George Church, Yuan Gao and Sriram Kosuri report that they have written a 5.27-megabit “book” in DNA – encoding far more digital data in DNA than has ever been achieved.

Writing messages in DNA was first demonstrated in 1988, and the largest amount of data written in DNA previously. . .   Read More

Revive and Restore

by Stewart Brand on July 16th, 02012

UPDATE 2/28/13: Revive & Restore announces TEDxDeExtinction, to be held March 15th 02013:

 

Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan discuss the Revive and Restore project with Walter Isaacson at the 02012 Aspen Environment Forum:

A new initiative within The Long Now Foundation has the goal of “deep ecological enrichment through extinct species revival. . .   Read More

The Expanding Frontiers of Computing

by Alex Mensing on January 5th, 02012

Advances in computing technology have led to increasingly powerful devices – a cell phone can now do what early desktop computers did not even approximate. But these developments have largely been in the form of devices, objects made of silicon and plastic. Stanford bioengineering professor Drew Endy imagines, in a New York Times article, another frontier. . .   Read More

A Thousand Years of Taxonomy to Go?

by Alex Mensing on October 27th, 02011

About ten years ago The Long Now Foundation initiated an effort to document every living organism on the planet within 25 years. The project was called All Species and while it did not make it through the dot com burst, it was continued by initiatives such as the Encyclopedia of Life and the Census of. . .   Read More

Carl Zimmer, “Viral Time”

by Stewart Brand on June 9th, 02011

What’s time to a virus?
A Summary by Stewart Brand

“Everything about viruses is extreme,” Zimmer began. The number of viruses on Earth is estimated to be 1 followed by 31 zeroes. Small as they are, if you stacked them all up, the stack would reach 100 million light years. They are the planet. . .   Read More

Tim Flannery, “Here on Earth”

by Stewart Brand on May 4th, 02011

Wallace beats Darwin
A Summary by Stewart Brand

The great insight of natural selection was published simultaneously by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace in 1858, Flannery pointed out, but their interpretations of the insight then diverged.

Darwin’s harsh view of “survival of the fittest” led too easily to social Darwinism, eugenics societies, neo. . .   Read More

10,000 genome library proposed

by Austin Brown on November 10th, 02009

The Genome 10k Project is currently just getting started, but if 65 scientists get their way, the University of California Santa Cruz could eventually house an extensive database of vertebrate genetic evolution.  The plan is to build an archive of the entire genomes of 10,000 vertebrates.  A library of this sort would assist in. . .   Read More