science
Scientists Engineered Bacteria to Make Picture of Super Mario

Bacteria have had some pretty great PR, recently. Thanks to lots of new research about their importance to our bodies, they’re not really seen as soulless microscopic murderers anymore. They’re colorful, misunderstood beings living together outside the spotlight, freeloading in our guts in exchange for favours. In other words, they’re artists. Read More >>

science
Scientists Just Took a Major Step Toward the First Complex Artificial Life

In 2008, researchers built the first artificial genome, a wonder of synthetic biology in which scientists generated all 582,970 base pairs of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium’s genome entirely from scratch. It was an unparalleled scientific achievement, requiring scientists to carefully design 101 unique DNA fragments so that their codes would overlap and stick together, then bind those fragments piece by piece. It was also small potatoes, one of many steps along the way to eventually creating a synthetic eukaryotic organism. Read More >>

science
Scientists Have Created the First Artificial Embryo Without Using an Egg or Sperm

Using stem cells in grown-on 3D scaffolding in a laboratory petri dish, scientists have for the first time created an embryo made entirely from stem cells. Read More >>

science
Why Humans Will Never Live Off Sunlight

Imagine if we could be like plants, lying outside all day soaking up sweet, sweet energy from the sun. Doesn’t sound like a bad life, does it? So why aren’t the world’s best minds figuring out how to hack photosynthesis into humans? Read More >>

science
How Scientists Plan to Grow Cities Out of Living Organisms

Imagine a future where there is no need to cut down a tree and and reshape that raw material into a chair or table. Instead, we could grow our furniture by custom-engineering moss or mushrooms. Perhaps glowing bacteria will light our cities, and we’ll be able to bring back extinct species, or wipe out Lyme disease—or maybe even terraform Mars. Synthetic biology could help us accomplish all that, and more. Read More >>

science
New Details Emerge About the Plan to Build an Artificial Human Genome

Last month, a group of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered in secret to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome from scratch. Details of the plan have finally been made public, and it’s as ambitious as it sounds. But critics say they founders of the new project are avoiding the tough ethical questions. Read More >>

science
Mad Scientists Created Synthetic Bacteria With Only 473 Genes

Behold syn3.0, a synthetic bacterial genome that’s smaller than anything found in nature. Biologists hope it will further our understanding of the fundamentals of life and inspire the creation of new synthetic life. Read More >>

science
This Biotech Start-Up Wants to Brew Yeast That Smells Like Perfume

Yeast labs have a distinctive smell: a bready scent familiar to bakers and brewers. But the frozen test tube of yeast I held at Ginkgo Bioworks had a fragrance crisp and pear-like. It was definitely yeast, but it had been genetically engineered to smell like no yeast has ever smelled. Read More >>

science
A Perfume That Smells Like Roses – But is Actually Made from Yeast

A rose is a rose is a rose, except when it's actually yeast. A company called Gingko BioWorks is partnering with French fragrance company Robertet to create a genetically modified yeast that makes the rose oil used in perfumes. Read More >>

drugs
Future Painkillers Might be Made From Yeast, Not Poppies

Ever since humans first noticed the mind-altering effects of poppies, we've planted vast fields of the flowers to make drugs that range from the legal (morphine) to the illegal (heroin). Our strongest legitimate painkillers still originate in these large, unwieldy, and pesky-to-regulate poppy fields. But what if we could just brew vats of morphine-making yeast? Read More >>

science
Scientists Have Created “Alien” DNA

After 15 years of work, scientists have successfully created a living cell that contains two unnatural DNA building blocks. The breakthrough brings us one step closer to being able to synthesize cells that can produce drugs on demand. It even opens the door to a future where we could create life that's unlike anything ever found on Earth. Read More >>