Data stored in DNA? Self Healing Wires?

Time again for your weekly headlines from across the scientific world:

  • Can human beings use DNA as a long-term data storage device? Scientists from the UK’s European Bioinformatics Institute have developed a technique to store data in DNA with a 99.9% accuracy. Some of the first items stored: Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Watson and Crick’s paper describing the structure of DNA.
  • Ever wonder what happens in the brain while you read silently? A new study in Journal of Neuroscience shows that the areas of the brain associated with voice are activated when a person silently reads, and is evidence that different areas of the brain (visual and auditory) work together to communicate.
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from a recent JoVE article

  • Researchers from IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore have worked together to create special antimicrobial hydrogels. These water soluble, biodegradable gels disrupt biofilm production to kill even drug resistant bacteria.
  • Have your headphones ever stopped working because the wire breaks? There may be a solution. Chemical and molecular biologists from North Carolina State University have made new wires that are elastic and self-repairing thanks to self-healing polymers and liquid conductive wires.
  • Stem cell biologists at Kyoto University have developed kidney tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells. This is an important first step towards developing functional kidney replacements, which could save the lives of the more than 4500 people who die waiting for a kidney transplant every year.
  • Make sure to check back next week for more headlines from the scientific community, and check out all of the cutting edge research from JoVE, the world’s first peer-reviewed, pub-med indexed video methods journal.

    Five Notable JoVE Articles

    The countdown to the fifth anniversary of the first issue of JoVE continues with a list of five notable articles!

    1. Layers of Symbiosis – Visualizing the Termite Hindgut Microbial Community. This article was filmed by Content Director, Dr. Aaron Kolski-Andreaco the day after he defended his thesis. Talk about work ethic. It’s not a peer reviewed article, but that doesn’t make it any less informative. Dr. Jared Leadbetter takes viewers on a guided tour of the termite hindgut, a place over 250 different species call home.
    2. Microdissection of Black Widow Spider Silk-producing Glands. This video shows the dissection of a black widow spider and the extraction of its silk glands. It was featured in Scientific American, along with an article explaining how important these glands are to scientific research, since spider silk is stronger than steel.

      Image: Felicia Jeffery, Coby La Mattina, Tiffany Tuton-Blasingame, Yang Hsia, Eric Gnesa, Craig Vierra

    3. Reverse Total Shoulder Arthoplasty. Though articles about surgical techniques have to be filmed documentary-style (surgeons don’t like it if you tell them to move their hands a little to the left so you can get a better shot), JoVE gets the hang of it in this shoulder surgery article. Expect JoVE Clinical and Translational Medicine to have more surgical techniques in the future!
    4. A Procedure for Lung Engineering. This article from Yale University was JoVE’s 1,000th published article and showcases the remarkable progress that has been made in regenerative medicine. It was also featured on CNN.
    5. Generating iPS Cells from MEFS through Forced Expression of Sox-2, Oct-4, c-Myc and Klf4. This article came out shortly after the first articles on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) were published. iPS cells potentially overcome a lot of the ethical objections of stem cell research, making their discovery an important leap forward in scientific research. This article is JoVE’s most watched article, with over 85,000 views.