New horizon for synthetic life: create a cell with less than 500 genes.

Researchers (Craig Venter and his team) have created in a petri dish synthetic bacteria with a record number of less then 500 genes. This new cell is known as Syn 3.0 and, as you can understand from his name, it is not the first attempt of create a life organism with as few functional genes as possible. In reality this is not completely true and not all the 473 genes that characterised this bacteria are essential: however, the fucntion of some of them is not yet known. But as the synthetic biologist Chris Voigt of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge said: “It’s an important step to creating a living cell where the genome is fully 
defined”.

Now we are only waiting for the next step of synthetic life.

Cell

The beauty of evolution: comb jellies don’t poop from their mouth.

Sometimes the evolution plays with us and after year of define theory and study of animals and evolution we found out that we were wrong.

Yes, you are not reading some crazy idea or theory but something that it is real. It was found, by a deeper analysis of comb jellies that they eat and poop from different hole and not from the only one as their similar.

This new discovery (made by evolutionary biologist William Browne of the University of Miami in Florida) it was possible thanks to new video technology of two species of comb jellies keep in captivity where you can see that they eat from their mouth but they defecate by pores located in the rear side of the animal. There are conducting now further study to understand the evolution branch of this jellies but it seems that “We have all these traditional notions of a ladderlike view of evolution, and it keeps getting shaken,” says Kevin Kocot, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Alabama.

jelly

The sun is not always a friend, it may be “cooking” us.

Often the Earth is hit by solar flares from the sun with high Energy particles that can cause from the Aurora Borealis to disruption of the power networks.

But there is a small and “terrifying ”chance that the sun could blast a solar flare with an energy more powerful that we know and fry the atmosphere and the life on the Earth. Likely other stars produce these flares, so scientists are trying to understand how solar flares are created studying this process other stars. Interestingly, it has been reported that they need a magnetic field that it is much stronger of the one from the sun.So the possibility is really remote but, maybe, it is better to observe more carefully and more often our “lovely” star, the sun.

Written by: Federico Donà

Sun