Life science

Whatcha' gonna do with that green gunk?

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Diane Boudreau

Algae is the gunk that collects in your fish tank and makes you slip on rocks while crossing a stream. You probably think of algae as a nuisance, if you even bother to think of it at all. Milt Sommerfeld and Qiang Hu think of algae as one of the most useful things in existence. And they think about it every day.

A safer smallpox vaccine

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Diane Boudreau

smallpox vaccineIt’s easy to see why scientists want to make vaccines for diseases like HIV and pneumonia. These illnesses kill a lot of people. Bert Jacobs, on the other hand, is developing a vaccine for a disease that no one ever catches—smallpox.

Stopping AIDS at the gate

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Diane Boudreau

Twenty-five years after the first AIDS case was reported, there is still no cure or vaccine for this deadly infection. What makes this virus such a tricky target?

Salmonella smoothies?

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Skip Derra

Roy Curtiss has a new idea for giving out vaccines. He wants people to gulp down the food-poisoning-causing bacterium Salmonella. What on Earth is he thinking?

Veggie vaccines

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Diane Boudreau

bananasImagine if you could get a vaccine by eating a banana or tomato. Charles Arntzen is trying to make that possible.

Shaking the tree of life

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Joe Caspermeyer

Sudhir Kumar is trying to answer some of the greatest unanswered questions in biology. How and when did life on Earth evolve? How can scientists identify the genes involved in diseases such as cancer? How does an organism develop from a tiny, fertilized egg into an adult body made up of trillions of cells? Kumar and his team are using new methods and tools to uproot the conventional wisdom of biology. They are giving the tree of life a good shaking.

DNA sequencing on a budget

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Joe Caspermeyer

Want a blueprint of your own personal DNA, including every gene in your body? The good news is that scientists know how to make one, thanks to the Human Genome Project. That bad news is that you probably can’t afford it, unless you have $10 million sitting around in your piggy bank. Scientists are working to make gene sequencing less expensive, which will open up new healthcare options.

Genetics 101

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Conrad Storad

What's in a gene?

A biotechnology glossary

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Conrad Storad

From amino acids to recombinant DNA--here's what all those biotech terms really mean.

No, really, what is DNA?

Friday, August 15, 2008
by Conrad Storad

DNADNA is very important stuff. But what is it, exactly?

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