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New Green Revolution

Can an innocuous aquatic plant manufacture disease-curing proteins? Drug companies already use genetically engineered bacteria to produce therapeutic proteins such as Factor IX, a blood component that hemophiliacs lack. Others are trying to insert genes into the cells of animals so that the animals can produce specific proteins in their milk.

Anne-Marie Stomp, a professor of forestry at North Carolina State University, says humble duckweed could best both bugs and beasts. The tiny plant may top animals because it is “clonal”-it buds off copies of itself-which means genetic changes will stay intact in succeeding generations. The fast-growing plant can produce more sophisticated proteins than bacteria, says Stomp, and can thrive in an industrial setting. Stomp has started a company, Biolex, to teach the plants to secrete proteins for easy collection.

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still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

pig kidney transplant surgery
pig kidney transplant surgery

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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