Pills containing live bacteria on the horizon Taking a pill full of live bacteria does not sound like a medicine that your doctor would, or could, prescribe – but it might soon be. In the last decade, gut microbiome research has drawn a lot of attention and funding, but it was not clear whether any therapies would come out of it any time soon. Synlogic, Inc in Cambridge, MA developed a live bacterial therapy to treat phenylketonuria,
Scientists work together to create more effective medicines Advances continue to progress personalised medicine, a field in which drugs are tailored to patients’ needs based on their genetic information. Historically, simply screening patients’ genomes enabled this trend but more recently, synthetic nucleotide-based medicines have taken this a step further. Nucleotide-based medicines use artificial DNA and RNA (nucleotides) to target cellular genetic information directly, shutting off genetic diseases at their source.
Esther Pilla reports on a discovery in evolution It is very rare for scientists to catch examples of parallel, convergent evolution, but earlier in March Professor Rosemary G. Gillespie and her colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley, published a study that highlighted parallel evolution in Hawaiian stick spiders. The group analysed a genus of spider, Ariamnes, whose ancestor probably first arrived on the oldest Hawaiian islands and later spread to
Esther Pilla reports on the state of water research On Earth, water can exist as solid, liquid and gas. These phase transitions are important because they occur within a range of temperatures compatible with human life (or, in the case of boiling water, temperatures that allow cooking). This March, a team from Arizona State University and the University of Amsterdam demonstrated for the first time that water can transition from