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PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Cyberporn to be easier to find on Second Life-> 1 1

DanielRavenNest writes: Second Life has plans to separate adult content both geographically and in its internal search engine starting with the 1.23 client software. There will be a new mainland continent on their grid, presently unnamed but jokingly referred to as Pornadelphia, which will be strictly adult map regions. Their search will also include ratings flags and filters to allow search by ratings level (PG, Mature, or Adult). More Detailed summary is here.
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Earth

Submission + - Plants to quantum mechanics->

Kristina at Science News writes: "We all learn about photosynthesis in school: sunlight in, plant food out. Not well understood is how this process achieves its initial and uniquely high efficiency in capturing the energy of a photon. Quantum mechanics may be at work in the electron transfer process inside chloroplast, giving electrons the chance to consider many paths at once before choosing the best one."
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Biotech

Submission + - Cow genome sequenced

Smivs writes: "The BBC are reporting that the genome of a female Hereford cow has been sequenced, which could be a starting point for major improvements in the agricultural industry. The information is likely to have a major impact on livestock breeding. The study, published in the journal Science, was a six-year effort by more than 300 scientists in 25 countries. Cattle now join an elite group of animals to have had their genome sequenced — a group that includes humans, other primates and rodents."

Comment Re:Just around the corner... (Score 1) 139 139

how much scientific effort has been displaced into "finding other ways to make stem cells" that could otherwise have gone into "finding ways to use stem cells to treat medical conditions".

The key difference here is that, ideally, you'd like to be treated with your own stem cells. Think organ transplants -- you could get stem cells from some embryonic source, but your body would likely reject them. I'm not a proponent of recent science-policy regarding stem cells but, in retrospect, these "workarounds" may end up being critical discoveries on the path to cell-based therapy.

Biotech

Submission + - Nanopore DNA Sequencing

treddy writes: Recent advances in DNA sequencing technology have revolutionized genomics and molecular biology. This week, Oxford Nanopore published proof-of-concept of their revolutionary new DNA sequencing technology (video) that uses modified protein nanopores to sequence DNA at a rate of up to 50 nucleotides / second, far faster than currently available techniques. In their approach, DNA nucleotides are cleaved one-by-one, and pass through a nanopore spanning a lipid membrane across which an electrical volatage is applied. As the nucleotide passes through the pore, the identify of the nucleotide is identified based on the current measured across the pore. The technology is the first to eliminate the need for expensive florescent-labeled nucleotides. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the ability to directly sequence 5-methyl cytosine (a.k.a. "the fifth base"), which is crucial to our understanding of development and disease.

Comment Re:Kicks ass on Moore's Law... (Score 1) 239 239

You can also pretty easily show that our ability to sequence DNA is growing much faster than Moore's law. Right now, we seem to be in a nice world where we can process all the DNA we sequence, but we are already getting to the limits of pretty high powered workstations. The next step will probably tax the high powered cluster computers. But, assuming this rate keeps up, we quickly will reach a state where sequencing will be cheap and easy, and computer power will become the rate limiting step.

Comment Single Molecule Sequencing Rocks (Score 1) 239 239

One of the real advances here is the ability to do this on a single molecule. Existing DNA sequencing techniques all depend on an amplification step, known as ploymerase chain reaction (PCR), in which the DNA is iteratively duplicated (this is done by basically hijacking DNA replication machinery from bacteria). However, PCR introduces numerous biases in the final population of DNA molecules: shorter segments and certain sequences are easier to duplicate than others. As a result, what you end up sequencing is always skewed. This may not be too important when it comes to (re)sequencing a genome, but there are a whole cadre of experimental techniques that use sequencing to investigate regulation and modification of DNA, and here that bias can really skew findings and generate many false positives (things that amplify too easily) and negatives (things that don't amplify well at all).

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