March 11 – 17 2017
On the way to creating a fully synthetic genome
An international team of researchers has been able to devise a way to synthesize a large part of yeast’s genetic code. Prior to this announcement, the team had been able to completely synthesize one of yeast’s 16 chromosomes. Now, the team has published a series of papers in the journal Science showing that they have been able to add another five chromosomes, thus bringing their total to six. They say they’re on track to finish the remaining ten chromosomes to form a completely synthetic genome by the end of this year. There’s a lot of things happening in biology this year aren’t there?
The single-celled eukaryotes are used by humans for a wide variety of applications, such as making alcoholic beverages and baking, among others. But now they’re being used to create synthetic organisms that will help us make newer kinds of drugs and more sustainable fuel.
New images of Trappist-1’s Earth-sized planets!
NASA has released new images of the Trappist-1 system. The new photos are a result of three months’ work by the Kepler telescope as a part of its K2 mission.
Though the TRAPPIST-1 system’s discovery was only announced in February, Kepler started examining the system last December 15, 2016 and wrapped up their initial viewing on March 4, 2017. There’s no surprise that TRAPPIST-1 has captured our world’s fascination: three of the seven exoplanets could be orbiting in the dwarf star‘s habitable zone, and on top of that, it looks like the conditions for life are present. For now, scientists have to observe more closely — and the images form Kepler are a great place to start. In the coming months, our ability to study the TRAPPIST-1 system will be greatly enhanced by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is an infrared telescope like Kepler, but equipped with more powerful lenses and mirrors.
There’s more to come. If you liked this and want there to be a Part 2 leave a comment or let me know via the contact page on my site.
Thanks for reading!
Quote of the day:
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance-it is the illusion of knowledge
– Daniel J Boorstin
P.S. Most of this info is from the Futurism and Curiosity pages.