biology

How We Can Use Light To See Inside The Human Body

Human flesh is opaque. As any good dictionary will tell you, that means it has the quality of “not transmitting light; being impenetrable to sight.” Well, forget that: scientists now can use light to see inside objects that were traditionally off-limits to the human eye — including our bodies.


FDA Grants 23andMe Approval To Sell Test For A Rare Genetic Condition

At the end of 2013, 23andme was ordered to stop selling its DNA testing kit by the Food and Drug Administration. Now, the FDA has granted the company approval to sell a single test for the markers of Bloom Syndrome, a rare genetic disease.


A Guide To The Most Destructive Events In The History Of Earth

If you want a little disaster porn this evening, you can watch this How Stuff Works podcast about possible causes of the five mass extinctions that nearly extinguished all life on Earth. After that cheerful topic, I also talk about why scientists believe we’re heading into a sixth mass extinction.


This Video Is The Best Explanation Yet Of How Genomes Really Work

There are 20,000 genes in the human genome, but only a small fraction of them are active in any given cell. This video from Nature explains with beautiful clarity the system that activity, turning genes on and off. It’s called the epigenome, and it’s incredibly important. Now you can understand how it works too.


What Will The Future Of Molecular Manufacturing Really Be Like?

Molecular machines are nano-scale assemblers that construct themselves and their surroundings into ever more complex structures. Sometimes dubbed “nanotech” in the media, these devices are promising — but also widely misunderstood. Here’s what separates the science fact from science fiction.


Massive Forest Fires Could Be Cooling The Earth

Wait, what? A forest fire may not sound like a great way to cool off, but Earth’s climate is a complicated beast. It turns out that some of the world’s fiercest blazes are actually lowering our planet’s temperatures.


All The Reasons Why You Need To Purify Drinking Water

You know you need to filter, treat or boil water you find in the wilderness. But why? Well, there’s a number of answers, starting with words like E. Coli, Hepatitis A, Giardia and Cryptosporidiosis.


Watch How A Real Kidney Grows From Cells Into An Organ

We all grow from small bunch of cells into fully-fledged adults, but rarely do we get to see the process in action. In this video, researchers have peered into a mouse kidney, to watch how cells branch out to form the organ’s internal pipework.


Half The DNA On The NYC Subway Matches No Known Organism 

The results of a massive new DNA sequencing project on the New York City subway have just been published. And yup, there’s a lot of bacteria on the subway — though we know most of it is harmless. What’s really important, though, is what we don’t know about it.


An Eyeball Implant That Makes You Cry

Some of us suffer from dry eyes because we stare at laptop screens for 10 hours a day. But for millions, dry eyes are a result of their lacrimal glands — the water-producing part of the tear ducts — simply not producing enough moisture. Now there is a high-tech fix.