GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MONKEY

GLOWS IN THE DARK??

Oregon researchers have created the first genetically modified monkey. ANDi, a playful, coffee-colored rhesus monkey born on October 2nd 2000, has been engineered to carry a gene from another species. The work demonstrates that a foreign gene can be delivered and inserted into a primate chromosome. The researchers anticipate that gene insertions in the monkey will lead to primate models of human diseases—like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease and obesity—that will offer a more robust testing ground for new drugs, gene therapy and modified stem cells.

ANDi (DNA inserted spelled backward)

is the first transgenic monkey.

“Our ultimate goal is to produce human disease models. Primates show human pathology better than mice, which, in many cases, are the only systems we have for modeling human diseases,” says Anthony Chan, of the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, in Beaverton. The report is published in this week’s issue of Science.

Chan’s goal was to show that a foreign gene can be inserted into a monkey’s chromosome and produce a functional protein. The GFP gene was chosen because the protein it produces emits a fluorescent green glow that can easily be seen through a microscope. Eventually scientists want to insert human disease genes and study disease progression in monkeys, says Chan.

Tissue samples taken from ANDi’s cheek, hair, umbilical cord and placenta confirm that the cells contain the GFP gene and corresponding mRNA; the molecule that bridges the gap between DNA and protein. However, when the tissue was examined under the microscope, no green protein could be seen.

“Maybe the quantity of protein is too small to be seen or maybe the mRNA is not being translated,” says Chan.

The team will continue to monitor ANDi for GFP;

Some transgenic animals do not produce any foreign protein until after the first year.


(LEFT)Virus particles carrying the GFP gene are injected into the unfertilized egg. The gene (white) is released from the virus and incorporated into the chromosome. (RIGHT)About 6 hours after introducing the virus scientists artificially fertilize the egg by injecting a sperm from a male rhesus. The fertilized egg then begins to grow and divide. Two to three days later when the egg has divided twice and become a four-celled embryo it is implanted into a surrogate mother.

  • Introducing ANDi: The first genetically modified monkey
    Oregon researchers have created the first genetically modified monkey. ANDi, a playful, coffee-colored rhesus monkey born on October 2nd 2000, …
    www.genomenewsnetwork.org/articles/01_01/ANDi.shtml

  • Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 29th May 2009
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Claim to save hugely in heating bills

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WEST AUSTRALINA INVENTOR..!

WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE BEHIND THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT?

When the combustion process is improved more value is then gained from the wood used. Excessive smoke is unburnt fuel. SmartBurn enables this fuel (smoke) to be burnt in the fire instead of being released into the atmosphere.    SmartBurn reduces Carbon emissions (as soot and sap).

Chimney Before SmartBurn Chimney After SmartBurn Before  SmartBurn After SmartBurn

Each SmartBurn prevents approximately 15 kg of smoke haze and      particulate emissions from entering the atmosphere.

SmartBurn contains a mixture of non-toxic natural ingredients and for best results SmartBurn should be replaced every 3 months.

SmartBurn is also effective in lounge open fireplaces and kitchen stoves.

SmartBurn is proudly Australian Invented, Manufactured and Owned.

This exciting technology has been Internationally Patented and the name SmartBurn has been Trademarked.

FIND OUT MORE HERE > http://www.smartburn.com.au/

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 29th May 2009

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NEW SCIENTIST EUREKA PRIZE [Australian Museum]

for science photography

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CALL FOR ENTRIES

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The new sceintist $10,000 Eureka  prize for science photography recognizes and rewards outstanding science photography.

The definition of ‘science’, for the purpose of this prize,is a comprehensive one. It includes all asp[ects of science [such as nature, technology, health] as well as work that addresses the social or economical aspects of science.

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Entries are invited from both amateur and professional photographers aged 18 years or over.

Enter now and view past entries >

http://www.austmus.gov.au/eureka

Sourced and Published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd May 2009

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Scientists create liquid lens on a chip

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve created tunable fluidic micro lenses that can focus light at will while remaining stationary and can be fabricated on a chip.

The Pennsylvania State University research engineers said such fluidic lenses can be used for many applications, such as counting cells, evaluating molecules or creating on-chip optical tweezers. The lenses might also provide imaging in medical devices, eliminating the necessity of moving the tip of a probe, they added.

The researchers, led by Assistant Professor Tony Jun Huang, said conventional, fixed focal length lenses can focus light at only one distance and the entire lens must move to focus on an object or to change the direction of the light. Fluidic lenses, however, can change focal length or direction in less than a second while remaining in the same place.

“We use water and a calcium chloride solution because they are readily available and safe and their optical properties have been well characterized,” said Huang.
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The research that included graduate students Sz-Chin Lin, Michael Lapsley, Jinjie Shi, Bala Juluri and Xiaole Mao was reported in a recent issue of the journal Lab on a Chip.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 18th May 2009

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EPA bans carbofuran in food crops

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revoked all regulations permitting small amounts of the residue of carbofuran in food.

The EPA’s Monday decision was hailed by the American Bird Conservancy as marking “a huge victory for wildlife and the environment.”

The action involves a pesticide sold under the name “Furadan” by the FMC Corp. The EPA said the toxic insecticide does not meet current U.S. food safety standards. The EPA said its ruling will eliminate residues of carbofuran in food, including imports. Ultimately, the federal agency said, it will remove the pesticide from the market.

The conservancy said the agency’s announcement confirms a proposed action first announced in July. FMC Corp. will have 90 days to challenge the decision. Once the rule becomes final, the EPA will proceed with the cancellation of registration for all uses of the pesticide.
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“Carbofuran causes neurological damage in humans, and one of the most deadly pesticides to birds left on the market,” said George Fenwick, president of the conservancy. “It is responsible for the deaths of millions of wild birds since its introduction in 1967, including Bald and Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and migratory songbirds. This EPA decision marks a huge victory for wildlife and the environment.”
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The EPA said it was encouraging growers to “switch to safer pesticides or other environmentally preferable pest control strategies.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 18thn May 2009

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Scientists find source of carbon lava

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ALBUQUERQUE (UPI) — U.S. and French scientists say they have discovered the origin of carbon-based lavas erupting from a Tanzanian volcano.

The researchers, led by the University of New Mexico, analyzed gas samples collected from inside the active crater of Tanzania’s Oldoinyo Lengai volcano — the only volcano that is actively producing carbon-based lavas. The geochemical analyses revealed a very small degree of partial melting of minerals in the Earth’s upper mantle is the source of the rare carbon-derived lava.

Although carbon-based lavas, known as carbonatites, are common, the Oldoinyo Lengai volcano, located in the East African Rift in northern Tanzania, is the only place on Earth where they are actively erupting. The researchers said the lava expelled from the volcano is highly unusual in that it contains nearly no silica and greater than 50 percent carbonate minerals. Typically lavas contain high levels of silica, which increases their melting point to above 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit. The lavas of the Oldoinyo Lengai volcano erupt as a liquid at approximately 1,004 degrees Fahrenheit.

The research by the scientists from the University of New Mexico, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego and the Research Center for Petrographics and Geochemicals in Nancy, France, appears in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 18th May 2009

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Flesh eating robot on wheels


Chew Chew

Chew Chew the gastrobot (Pic: New Scientist)

At last, a robot that is powered by food – but watch out, this gastrobot’s ideal food is flesh!

According to this week’s New Scientist, a researcher at the University of South Florida has developed a 12-wheeled monster called Chew Chew, with a microbial fuel cell stomach that uses E. coli bacteria to break down food and convert chemical energy into electricity.

“Turning food into electricity isn’t unique,” says Wilkinson. “What I’ve done is make it small enough to fit into a robot”.

The microbes produce enzymes that break down carbohydrates, releasing electrons which are harnessed to charge a battery by a reduction and oxidation reaction.

Wilkinson says this is analogous to blood supply and respiration in a mammal – but delivering electrons instead of oxygen.

Gastrobot consists of three 1-metre long wheeled wagons complete with pumps for redox solution, battery bank, oesophagus, ultrasonic eyes, mouth, DC motor and E.coli powered stomach.

Unfortunately, the microbial fuel cell doesn’t produce enough power to actually move Chew Chew. Instead, the electricity is used to charge the batteries and only when these are fully charged does can the robot move. When the batteries are drained, the cycle must then be repeated.

According to New Scientist, early applications for gastrobots are likely to include mowing lawns – grazing on grass clippings for fuel.

The ideal fuel in terms of energy gain is meat, says inventor Stuart Wilkinson, but at the moment Chew Chew lives on sugar cubes.

Catching meat would require the robot to produce more energy and besides Wilkinson isn’t so sure it’s good to give gastrobots a taste for meat.

Conversion to eat carion flesh or decaying corpses is another option.

“Otherwise they’ll notice there’s an awful lot of humans running around and try to eat them,” he warns.

Tags: science-and-technology

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 13th May 2009

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Robots clear bombs the

wireless way


Robot

Dr Jun Jo controls his robots with his mobile phone (Image: Griffith University)

A robot controlled by wireless technology could be used to control bomb disposal and security reconnaissance vehicles, its Australian creator says.

Dr Jun Jo, a senior lecturer at Griffith University, created the prototype of a ‘bomb removal car’ with postgraduate students.

The robotic car is controlled by Bluetooth wireless networking technology, which potentially allows an operator to stay at a safe distance while sending the vehicle into a hazardous situation.

A video camera mounted onto the front of the robot streams images back to the operator.

The operator can then direct the robot to a particular location, identify a suspicious package and scoop it up with an in-built shovel.

“Through a camera I can see what the robot sees and with Bluetooth I can control it within 100 metres,” says Jo.

At 20 centimetres long, the robotic vehicle is about the size of a child’s model car.

“It looks like a toy at this stage, but I want to build a larger one,” he says.

Linking technology

Bluetooth networking is commonly used to link computers and mobiles to peripheral devices. But Jo says there are also many potential applications for Bluetooth and robotics, not just in dangerous situations.

“I am looking at applications in both the security industry and in entertainment,” says Jo, who also runs the university’s robotics and games research laboratory.

“Robotics and games share many qualities in their control methods and algorithms,” he says. “I feel in the near future there will be more
applications for robots in the games industry.”

Robotic football, for example, is a concept that enthusiasts already explore using teams of four-legged players: Sony Aibo robot dogs.

Meanwhile, mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson is exploring using Bluetooth applications for fun, such as a tiny toy car that can be controlled easily by mobile phone.

Recently the company also unveiled a remote-controlled digital camera on wheels called ROB-1. The camera can be steered from a mobile and sends a video stream back to handset, so the owner can decide what pictures to shoot.

Problems with video

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There are limitations to the quality of video people can expect from Bluetooth, says Jo.

“One of the drawbacks of Bluetooth is that it is a medium transmission speed. It’s not bad for five frames per second, which would allow you to work out where an object is.”

Jo’s prototype is based on Bluetooth for now, but could be adapted to other current or future networking standards.

“At the moment Bluetooth is one of the most advanced mobile networking technologies, but others will come in time and they could be easily added to such a system,” he says.

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The robotic car could be expanded to work with Australia’s 3G or GPRS mobile data networks, which he says could make control possible from distant locations.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 13th May 2009

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Flying robots may be the new

terrorists


Flying robot

Flying robots, like this fictional robotic dragonfly, could bypass radar to deliver explosives or bioweapons, experts say (Image: iStockphoto)

It may sound like science fiction, but flying robots could make suicide bombers and hijackers redundant, experts say.

The technology for remote-controlled light aircraft is now highly advanced, widely available, and experts say virtually unstoppable.

Models with a wingspan of 5 metres, capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms, remain undetectable by radar.

And thanks to satellite positioning systems, they can now be programmed to hit targets some distance away within a few metres of their target.

Security services the world over have been considering the problem for several years, but no one has yet come up with a solution.

“We are observing an increasing threat from such things as remote-controlled aircraft used as small flying bombs against soft targets,” the head of the Canadian secret services, Michel Gauthier, said at a conference in Calgary recently.

According to Gauthier, “ultra-light aircraft, powered hang gliders or powered paragliders have also been purchased by terrorist groups to circumvent ground-based countermeasures”.

Defence on alert

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On 1 May the US website Defensetech published an article by military technology specialist David Hambling, entitled “Terrorists’ unmanned air force”.

“While billions have been spent on ballistic missile defense, little attention has been given to the more imminent threat posed by unmanned air vehicles in the hands of terrorists or rogue states,” writes Hambling.

Armed militant groups have already tried to use unmanned aircraft, according to a number of studies by institutions including the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, and the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies in Moscow.

In August 2002, for example, the Colombian military reported finding nine small remote-controlled planes at a base it had taken from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

On 11 April 2005 the Lebanese Shiite militia group, Hezbollah, flew a pilotless drone over Israeli territory, on what it called a surveillance mission.

The Israeli military confirmed this and responded by flying warplanes over southern Lebanon.

Easy to buy or make

Remote-control planes are not hard to get hold of, according to Jean-Christian Delessert, who runs a specialist model aeroplane shop near Geneva.

“Putting together a large-scale model is not difficult. All you need is a few materials and a decent electronics technician,” he says.

In his view, “if terrorists get hold of that, it will be impossible to do anything about it. We did some tests with a friend who works at a military radar base: they never detected us … If the radar picks anything up, it thinks it is a flock of birds and automatically wipes it.”

Japanese company Yamaha, meanwhile, has produced a 95 kilogram robot helicopter that is 3.6 metres long and has a 256 cc engine.

It flies close to the ground at about 20 kilometres per hour and is already on the market.

Bruce Simpson, an engineer from New Zealand, managed to produce an even more dangerous contraption in his own garage: a mini-cruise missile.

He made it out of readily available materials at a cost of less than US$5000 (about A$6500).

According to Simpson’s website, the New Zealand authorities forced him to shut down the project, though only once he had already finished making the missile, under pressure from the US.

Take them seriously

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Dr Eugene Miasnikov, of the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies in Moscow, says these kinds of threats must be taken more seriously.

“To many people UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] may seem too exotic, demanding substantial efforts and cost compared with the methods terrorists frequently use,” he says.

“But science and technology is developing so fast that we often fail to recognise how much the world has changed.”

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 13th May 2009

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Banned toiletries could make

bomb


Toiletries

Bomb-making ingredients could be hidden in small bottles and carried on planes. Alternatively, toiletries themselves could be used to make explosives (Image: iStockphoto)

Hair gels and lotions may have been banned from carry-on luggage as they could be assembled on board a plane to make a bomb, a US criminologist says.

Professor Alfred Blumstein from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped write a government report on threats to airlines from explosives, was speaking after UK police say they had foiled a plot to blow up aircraft flying to the US.

This prompted authorities to ban liquids, including drinks, hair gels and lotions, from carry-on baggage.

“My hunch is that the reason they are prohibiting this stuff is that it does obviously have the potential of being assembled on board so that it doesn’t look like a bomb going through the x-ray machine,” says Blumstein.

Such mundane items as nail polish remover, disinfectants and hair colouring contain chemicals that can be combined to make an explosion and are not detectable by “sniffing” machines, which detect plastic explosives but are not used with all baggage.

Explosive ingredients can be concealed in bottles or other innocent-looking containers that would pass through x-ray machines.

That does not mean they are easy to make into bombs, cautioned Dr Neal Langerman, a San Diego consultant who is former chair of the American Chemical Society‘s Division of Chemical Health and Safety.

“Many of the ingredients like acetone are household chemicals,” Langerman says.

But some kind of expertise is usually needed to buy peroxide that is concentrated enough to work in an explosive, he says.

Bombers who attacked London Underground trains and a bus in July 2005 used homemade peroxide-based explosives carried in backpacks.

On-board explosives

People have tried several times to use such easily concealed explosives on aircraft.

UK-born Richard Reid was tackled by passengers in December 2001 while trying to detonate explosives stuffed in his shoes in an aircraft lavatory.

In 1994, Islamic fundamentalists set off liquid explosives on a Japan-bound Philippine Airlines plane, killing a Japanese passenger and injuring 10 others.

Dr Mark Ensalaco, an international terrorism expert at the University of Dayton in Ohio, says Thursday’s foiled operation appears to be identical to the Japan attack.

I stress identical with the explosives in liquids

Sourced and published by Henry Sap[iecha 13th MAY 2009

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