The top three news stories of the week, as chosen by our resident students. This week’s top stories are mice womb-tanks, DNA data storage, and 3D manufacturing.

Article written by Federico Donà.

New “Dolly” era

20 years ago, Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be successfully cloned. The work was groundbreaking and news of the success was exciting and surprising. Fast forward to today and scientists from Cambridge have managed to create the first artificial mouse embryo that can grow outside the body. So far, the researchers have managed to grow the embryo to one-third of a normal pregnancy (paper found here).  The goal of the scientists is not to create a new life in an artificial environment, but to use this new discovery to better understand the developmental process of embryos. This work could hopefully ensure women avoid miscarriages.


Photograph: Redmond Durrell/Alamy

Find the full story here.


DNA: the new storage space

Data storage is becoming an ever increasing problem. Every minute, hour, month, and year, humanity generates a huge amount of data that requires storage. When will we reach maximum capacity? This is the basic question.

Now, researchers have come up with an innovative and “crazy” idea to store all the information that we are producing in DNA. Amazingly, the new DNA system could store around 215 petabytes (215 million gigabytes) in a single gram of DNA. But as ever, the financial cost of such a storage system is a significant hurdle.

For DNA storage to become commonplace may take a while, however, who knows what the big companies (such as Amazon) are investing in behind-the-scenes.


Photograph: Novi Elisa/Shutterstock

Read the full story here.


New material based on nature

Developing materials or generating ideas based on nature is not new to science and advancements in 3D printing have enabled researchers to come up with new, cool and fancy ideas. Scientists from Washington State University believe that their research (found here) could be described as a “ground-breaking advance”. The researchers believe that novel uses of 3D printing could quickly produce material with minimal waste and on a large scale.


 Image from the Saleh et a., 2017.

Read the full story here.

Article written by Federico Donà.