The Grow connected planter is the ultimate no-fuss gardening kit

Horticulturalists looking to go high-tech will find no shortage of smart sensors to stick in their soil, sending data to their phones on particulars like water level, temperature and soil pH. However, even systems that hold your hand as much as possi…
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Apple to grow and revamp Century City store in LA with mall’s $1B expansion

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Apple is reportedly taking advantage of a $ 1 billion overhaul at Los Angeles’s Westfield Century City mall on Santa Monica Boulevard to launch a new, much larger store in the facility.
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A New Gene Engineering Method Could Allow Us to Grow Organs for Transplants

A Chemical Approach

Making an organism’s genome — its entire genetic structure, from scratch — is already possible, but so far it’s only been successful in tiny bacterial genomes and in a portion of a yeast genome. Several researchers are working on synthesizing the entire human genome, but our current methods are limited because of their dependence on enzymes.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of Southampton in the U.K., working with colleagues from the University of Oxford and DNA synthesis firm ATDBio (based in Southampton and Oxford), propose a new method that could surpass these limitations.

In a study published in the journal Nature Chemistry, the researchers showcased a purely chemical technique for gene assembly. It uses an efficient and rapid-acting chemical reaction called click chemistry that puts together multiple modified DNA fragments into a gene — a process called click DNA ligation.

Image Credit: US Department of Energy

“Our approach is a significant breakthrough in gene synthesis,” University of Southampton Chemical Biology Professor and Lead Researcher Ali Tavassoli said in a press release. “Not only have we demonstrated assembly of a gene using click-chemistry, we have also shown that the resulting strand of DNA is fully functional in bacteria, despite the scars formed by joining fragments.”

Human Genome Synthesis

Although plans to synthesize the human genome from scratch have been received with mixed feelings and ethical considerations, its appeal comes from the possibilities it has to offer. According to GP-write, an international effort working on engineering large genomes, applications of DNA synthesis include growing transplantable human organs from scratch, engineering viral immunity and cancer resistance, and even allowing for more efficient and cost-effective drug development and testing.

Ethical quandaries notwithstanding, synthetic DNA is promising. With it, we could be looking at better ways to treat DNA-based diseases, or edit them out altogether — ultimately, extending human life or even potentially creating it from scratch, so to speak. “Genome synthesis will play an increasingly important role in scientific research,” Tavassoli explained. He believes their approach will make it more possible.

A shortcoming of current methods involves the extensive use of enzymes, which can’t be incorporated into certain sites that control the expression (i.e., the switching “on” or “off”) of genes. This so-called epigenetic information can be crucial to better understand biological processes, e.g., cancer, which couldn’t be cured too soon.

“The synthesis of chemically modified genes, which we have achieved by a radical new approach, will become ever more important as the effects of epigenetically modified DNA on gene expression become clear,” study co-author Tom Brown said in the press release.

Furthermore, the chemical method could also greatly accelerate the synthesis of larger DNA strands, producing larger quantities of a single gene. “We believe our purely chemical approach has the potential to significantly accelerate efforts in this vitally important area, and ultimately lead to a better understanding of biological systems,” Tavassoli added.

The post A New Gene Engineering Method Could Allow Us to Grow Organs for Transplants appeared first on Futurism.


These Clothes Grow with Your Child and Are a Step Towards Sustainable Fashion

Fashion-Forward Infants

Each year, college students and recent graduates submit their creations to the James Dyson Awards to be recognized for achievement in design and engineering. National winners were recently announced and included a cup for Parkinson’s sufferers, a smart pill bottle to help fight opioid addiction, and a novel new way to clothe kids.

The Future of Fashion: 3D Printed Clothing
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The latter was designed by Ryan Yasin from London. Yasin has a degree in aeronautical engineering and used the principles he learned during his studies to create a material that grows with kids as they mature. His clothing can help save parents some of the thousands of dollars they spend prividing clothes for their children within the first three years of their lives.

The clothing is made from a waterproof, machine-washable fabric that is specially pleated to unfold as the child grows. Yasin has dubbed his line Petit Pli. So far, he has developed over 500 prototypes and will use his prize money to help his business also expand.

Image credit: Petit Pli
Image credit: Petit Pli

Novel Solutions

While this one product can’t have a gigantic impact on increasing sustainability in the textile and clothing industries, Yasin is determined to make a stand with his company. The material used in the clothing is recyclable and is also aiming to price his products to be able to ethically pay everyone along the supply chain.

Children grow out of their clothing at a much faster rate before they reach their third year. Children’s clothing makers and retailers capitalize on this and often charge parents prices similar to what they may pay for their own or older siblings’ clothing, but get much less utility as the kids rapidly outgrow them. Yasin’s products could help reduce the amount of waste produced from kids’ clothes, to say nothing of the recyclable-value of his materials.

The post These Clothes Grow with Your Child and Are a Step Towards Sustainable Fashion appeared first on Futurism.