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Category: Chemical Engineering

Genome-editing tool TALEN outperforms CRISPR-Cas9 in tightly packed DNA — ScienceDaily

Researchers used single-molecule imaging to compare the genome-editing tools CRISPR-Cas9 and TALEN. Their experiments revealed that TALEN is up to five times more efficient than CRISPR-Cas9 in parts of the genome, called heterochromatin, that are densely packed. Fragile X syndrome, sickle cell anemia, beta-thalassemia and other diseases are the result of genetic defects in the heterochromatin. The researchers report their findings in the journal Nature Communications. The study adds to the evidence that a broader selection of genome-editing tools is…

New technique builds super-hard metals from nanoparticles — ScienceDaily

Metallurgists have all kinds of ways to make a chunk of metal harder. They can bend it, twist it, run it between two rollers or pound it with a hammer. These methods work by breaking up the metal’s grain structure — the microscopic crystalline domains that form a bulk piece of metal. Smaller grains make for harder metals. Now, a group of Brown University researchers has found a way to customize metallic grain structures from the bottom up. In a…

Degradable sugar-based polymers may store and release useful molecular freight — ScienceDaily

Degradable, bio-based polymers offer options for chemical recycling, and they can be a tool to store and release useful molecules. Scientists have developed a class of sugar-based polymers that are degradable through acid hydrolysis. The researchers also integrated “cargo” molecules in the polymer, which are designed to split off after polymer degradation. Degradable, cargo-bearing polymers are important for medical and sensor applications, says the study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Most plastics resist natural degradation processes. Consequently, increasing contamination…

Conductive nature in crystal structures revealed at magnification of 10 million times — ScienceDaily

In groundbreaking materials research, a team led by University of Minnesota Professor K. Andre Mkhoyan has made a discovery that blends the best of two sought-after qualities for touchscreens and smart windows — transparency and conductivity. The researchers are the first to observe metallic lines in a perovskite crystal. Perovskites abound in the Earth’s center, and barium stannate (BaSnO3) is one such crystal. However, it has not been studied extensively for metallic properties because of the prevalence of more conductive…

Combination treatment for methamphetamine use disorder shows promise — ScienceDaily

A combination of two medications, injectable naltrexone and oral bupropion, was safe and effective in treating adults with moderate or severe methamphetamine use disorder in a double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial. The findings suggest this combination therapy may be a promising addition to current approaches to treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency management interventions, for a very serious condition that remains difficult to treat and overcome. The research, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine,…

Researchers create a highly sensitive biohybrid olfactory sensor

Schematic diagrams showing the network of tubes and channels that make up the VOC sensor. Credit: © 2020 AAAS/Takeuchi et al. A keen sense of smell is a powerful ability shared by many organisms. However, it has proven difficult to replicate by artificial means. Researchers combined biological and engineered elements to create what is known as a biohybrid component. Their volatile organic compound sensor can effectively detect odors in gaseous form. They hope to refine the concept for use in…

It converts from sheets to tubes and back in a controllable fashion — ScienceDaily

Chemists have developed a nanomaterial that they can trigger to shape shift — from flat sheets to tubes and back to sheets again — in a controllable fashion. The Journal of the American Chemical Society published a description of the nanomaterial, which was developed at Emory University and holds potential for a range of biomedical applications, from controlled-release drug delivery to tissue engineering. The nanomaterial, which in sheet form is 10,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair,…

Modern microbes provide window into ancient ocean — ScienceDaily

Step into your new, microscopic time machine. Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered that a type of single-celled organism living in modern-day oceans may have a lot in common with life forms that existed billions of years ago — and that fundamentally transformed the planet. The new research, which will appear Jan. 6 in the journal Science Advances, is the latest to probe the lives of what may be nature’s hardest working microbes: cyanobacteria. These single-celled, photosynthetic…

Desalination breakthrough could lead to cheaper water filtration — ScienceDaily

Producing clean water at a lower cost could be on the horizon after researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State solved a complex problem that has baffled scientists for decades, until now. Desalination membranes remove salt and other chemicals from water, a process critical to the health of society, cleaning billions of gallons of water for agriculture, energy production and drinking. The idea seems simple — push salty water through and clean water comes out the…

How climate change is disrupting ecosystems — ScienceDaily

The world is getting warmer and warmer — and many organisms native to lower latitudes or elevations are moving higher. However, novel organisms moving into a new habitat could disturb the ecological balance which has been established over a long period. Plants and herbivores are characterised by long-term co-evolution, shaping both their geographic distribution and the characteristics that they display in their occupied sites. At higher elevations, this is seen in insect herbivores being generally less abundant and plants in…