Now one research group is reporting a major step toward a touchy-feely prosthetic. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University performed a series of experiments that showed they could send electrical signals directly to the brains of rhesus macaques and that the macaques were able to interpret the signals as touches on different parts of their hands. Another series of experiments showed rhesus macaques could interpret different direct-to-brain signals as touches of varying pressure. A third explored whether direct-to-brain signals work quickly enough to be able to accurately tell macaques when a prosthetic is touching something and when it stops the touch.
A strain of rice genetically engineered to protect against diarrhoeal disease could offer a cost-effective way to protect children in developing countries, according a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation yesterday (8 August).
While conducting cancer research, Daley clipped holes in ears of mice that were genetically engineered with the Lin28a gene so he could quickly tell them apart from the control group. But the holes kept healing. So he clipped their toes, but they grew back. He then waxed their backs, but their fur grew back more quickly than usual. It appeared that Lin28a -- a gene that scientists think regulates the self-renewal of stem cells -- gave the mice special regeneration abilities.
The technique, which is still in experimental stages, takes advantage of a rare mutation that makes one percent of people of European descent resistant to HIV.
Using a new "genome editing" tool, researchers are hoping to be able to insert the mutation into the cells of other people - and they've already proved the basic principles work using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), Peter Aldhous reports for New Scientist.
The new genome editing technique is much more precise than tradition forms of genetic engineering, as it places a sequence of gene into a pre-designated area of the genome, rather than at random locations.
By using this technique, researchers led by Yuet Kan from the University of California, San Francico, have managed to alter the genome of iPSCs, which can turn into any cell in the body. As predicted, when the scientists grew these iPSCs into white blood cells, they were resistant to HIV.