Scientific the mother to continue to carry
Scientific Discoveries 2017FIRST HUMAN EMBRYO EDITED Technology that allows alteration of genes in a human embryo has been used for the first time in the United States, according to Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland, which carried out the research. The research, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov, head of OHSU’s Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy, involves a technology known as CRISPR that has opened up new frontiers in genetic medicine because of its ability to modify genes quickly and efficiently. CRISPR works as a type of molecular scissors that can selectively trim away unwanted parts of the genome, and replace it with new stretches of DNA.”Really we didn’t edit anything. Neither did we modify anything,” Mitalipov said. “Our program is toward correcting mutant genes.”SYNTHETIC WOMBScientists made an artificial womb to support premature babies.The researchers created a fluid-filled transparent container to simulate how fetuses float in amniotic fluid inside a mom’s uterus, and attached it to a mechanical placenta that keeps blood oxygenated. According to the research published in the journal Nature, they tested the synthetic womb using extremely premature lambs. The lambs grew normally inside the system for three to four weeks.The hope is that the “biobags” can one day be used to extend normal gestation of a baby when it’s not possible for the mother to continue to carry the child.APOCALYPSE PROOF ANIMALSScientists figured out what will survive the end of the earth.A study, published in the journal Scientific Reports in July, determined that the tardigrade, an eight-legged micro-animal, will outlive us all. “Tardigrades are as close to indestructible as it gets on Earth,” study co-author Rafael Batista, from Oxford University, said in a statement.The only thing that could kill them is if the ocean boiled.TIME CRYSTALSFor the first time ever, researchers created time crystals – a previously hypothetical crystal that can potentially stay in perpetual motion without energy, thanks to a fracture in time’s symmetry. Time crystals repeat in time because they are kicked periodically, sort of like tapping jelly repeatedly to get it to jiggle. The big breakthrough, is less that these particular crystals repeat in time than that they are the first of a large class of new materials that are intrinsically out of equilibrium, unable to settle down to the motionless equilibrium of, for example, a diamond or ruby. Imagined in 2002 by the Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek, these structures were deemed “impossible” by most physicists.LIVING AND BREATHING DRAGONFLY WINGSAdult insect wings have veins running through them, but most of the wing is dried up like a dead leaf. However, a researcher in Germany found tracheal tubes — which carry oxygen to living tissues in insects — inside the “dead” wing parts of a morpho dragonfly. This could mean the insect’s wings are actually alive and equipped with their own unique breathing system. This isn’t 100 per cent confirmed yet, but the potential wing breathing system could explain why these dragonflies have brightly coloured wings (the targeted oxygen could allow for colour complexity).