Synthetic Biology: Understanding the Science and Its Applications in Medicine, Energy, and Environment

Synthetic Biology: Understanding the Science and Its Applications in Medicine, Energy, and Environment

Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field of science that combines biology and engineering to create novel biological systems and organisms with specific functions. This field has emerged in the last decade and has quickly become an essential tool in modern biotechnology, as it allows researchers to design, build and control complex biological systems.

Understanding the Science of Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology aims to create new biological parts, devices, and systems by engineering biological components such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. These components are designed to work together to create a specific biological function, similar to the way electronic components work together to create a computer. This can be achieved by using the principles of genetics, molecular biology, and computer science to design, build and test synthetic biological systems.

Applications of Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology has many potential applications in various fields such as medicine, energy, and the environment. In medicine, … Read More

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Two Seniors Receive Watson Fellowships and Prepare to Travel the World

Two Seniors Receive Watson Fellowships and Prepare to Travel the World

Two Seniors Receive Watson Fellowships and Prepare to Travel the World

Clara Benadon ’23 and Arturo Linan-Martinez ’23

They are among forty-two college students from across the United States to receive the prestigious award this year.

Watson applicants are supported by Bowdoin’s Office of Student Fellowships and Research. “Each year, I continue to be in awe of the passion, ambition, and originality that our students bring to the table when applying for the Watson Fellowship,” said Associate Director of the Center for Cocurricular Opportunities Corey Colwill.

“Watson seeks truly unique individuals. We seem to have them in spades here at Bowdoin, in the best possible sense! I’m so proud of Clara and Turo for their accomplishments and humbled to be a small part of their Watson journeys. I can’t wait to see where life, and the world, takes them,” Colwill added.

Benadon’s project, “Fiber Farmers and Artists Adapt to Climate Change,” will take her to Peru, France, New Zealand, and the

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Crazy ants’ strange genomes are a biological first

Crazy ants’ strange genomes are a biological first

Crazy ants’ strange genomes are a biological first

Credit: Stephen Belcher/Nature Picture Library

Yellow crazy ants get their name from the helter-skelter movements they make after a disturbance.

But there’s another reason to call these invasive ants crazy: males of the species are a mixture of two warring cell lineages, researchers report in a study1 published on 6 April in Science. Other creatures sometimes form such chimaeras — usually a developmental accident — but yellow crazy ants are the first known animal for which this property is an essential aspect of life.

“It’s a piece of biology that’s unparalleled as far as we know,” says Daniel Kronauer, a biologist at the Rockefeller University in New York City.

Yellow crazy ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes) are a notorious invasive species mainly distributed across southeast Asia and Oceania, threatening invertebrates and even some small mammals. On Christmas Island, an Australian territory south of Java, the ants have decimated

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In Belgium, Subjectivity Triumphs Over Biology

In Belgium, Subjectivity Triumphs Over Biology

In Belgium, Subjectivity Triumphs Over Biology
Photo: Palace of Justice of Brussels, by Paul Hermans, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

We live in an irrational age. Germany allows people to change their gender once a year simply by filing out an official form. And now, Belgium is about to allow people to change gender — apparently, whenever they want.

The Belgian supreme court previously ruled that requiring people to identify as male or female violated the equality of people who don’t see themselves as exclusively either. So, a new law will be passed allowing ongoing fluidity of gender identity which will be officially recognized by submitting a simple form. From the Sudinfo story (Google translation):

The principle of irrevocability as well as the procedure before the family court are abolished, announced the Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne in a press release. . . . This means that people will be allowed to change

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How Ants Took Over the World

How Ants Took Over the World

Ant Close Up

Ants are one of the most prevalent insects on Earth, with over 14,000 species and an estimated population of over four quadrillion. In a recent study, scientists used fossils, DNA, and data on modern ant species to understand how they evolved over the past 60 million years. They found that ants and plants evolved together, and when flowering plants moved out from forests to more arid regions, ants followed. The plants provided food for ants and helped disperse their seeds, shaping the evolution and spread of ants. This study emphasizes the crucial role of plants in shaping ecosystems and how shifts in plant communities can impact other organisms during times of climate and biodiversity crises.

Ants took over the world by following flowering plants out of prehistoric forests.

Ants are pretty much everywhere. There are more than 14,000 different species, spread over every continent except Antarctica, and researchers have

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