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World’s First Fully Synthetic Life Form

4 Jun

Back in May, researchers at the J Craig Venter Institute announced the creation of the “first synthetic life form”. Many have shown excitement at such a jump in technology; others have shown concern; others have cautioned us to not get our hopes up too high—these new cells may not be as miraculous as we think.

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A New Link Suggested Between Autism, Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder

2 Mar

by Sarah Williams

For many years it has been known that certain psychiatric disorders and symptoms tend to occur more frequently in families than within the general population and the evidence that genetics has a part to play in this is unquestionable.

Genetic studies of autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder show that the risk of developing the disease is related to the amount of genetic information shared with an affected individual.  The likelihood of inheriting these disorders is at least 80%.  This value is equivalent to the value for Type I diabetes and greater than that for breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease.  However, it is important to realise these statistics only indicate the risk and that there are many genetic and environmental influences in these diseases.

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Could you withstand a nuclear fall out?

2 Mar

by Amberley Stephens

Humans couldn’t, a cockroach couldn’t, however Deinococcus radiodurans can.  It has been named one of the world’s toughest bacteria. Humans are killed by around 400-1000 rads of ionising radiation, a cockroach would be killed after 4000-10000 rads (radiation absorbed dose)  and would not survive nuclear fall out, contrary to popular belief. D.radiodurans can happily live and replicate through 1.5million rads of ionising radiation and survive up to 3million rads.

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