At a recent Kavli Futures Symposium, 19 experts from a diverse range of fields discussed the promise of using the lab to understand and exploit the evolution of organisms -- progress that may one day lead to new vaccines or other biotechnology products.
Now, three of the participants have joined in a discussion of the issues and topics raised during the meeting: Michael Brenner, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and member of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology, Harvard University; Stephen Quake, Professor of Applied Physics and Bioengineering at Stanford University and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Mark Martindale, Director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii.
In the dialogue, the researchers discuss how investigators in several different scientific fields are now exploring how organisms evolve new functions in a much more detailed way. They also discuss how new experimental methods and tools are expected to greatly aid those explorations by enabling the quick, inexpensive and complex analyses that are needed for laboratory investigations of evolution.
The hope is that the synergy of all these fields can one day lead to a better understanding of how complex new structures, such as the eye or even the entire nervous system, evolved and enabled new functions. These findings are likely to further advances in directed evolution, with such practical applications as improved vaccines or bacteria engineered to produce oil from sugar, or to carry out other useful new functions. "All of the same principles and concepts that apply to studying evolution over the hundred-million-year time scale should also describe what goes on in your immune system over the course of much briefer periods -- years, months, weeks," said Quake. "I'm very excited about trying to take general concepts and apply them to areas that haven't previously been explored as evolutionary models."
Brenner concurred on this point. "Every method people have for thinking about how to combat disease or anything else is developed under an intellectual paradigm. If one could invent new concepts for how evolutionary change occurs, then they could really change the way you think about those problems."
Read story: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/kavli-futures-symposium-evolution-new-functions-main
James Cohen | EurekAlert!
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine