Monday, August 29, 2016

The Bionic Leaf

This new invention of the bionic leaf, is one of the many way scientists from different fields are coming together to achieve a universal goal. In this case, biologists and technologists are coming together to not only try to make a cleaner alternative fuel to oil and oil products, more readily available, but also trying to clean up the earths air while doing it. This new bionic leaf is using solar energy to split oxygen and hydrogen from water, and turning it into energy, creating an artificial photosynthesis.
This new and improved photosynthesis is ten times fast than traditional photosynthesis, and instead of the process creation oxygen, it creates fuel. The bionic leaf creates alcohol fuels which can be burned and turned into energy. The interesting this about this invention is that it could potentially bring power to places of the world that do not have it. Considering all the leaf requires is sunlight to funtion, the leaf could be brought to remote areas and power could be established. While a power plant where the alcohol products could be turned into energy would require building, it would create jobs and be more cost effective then trying to either ship oil products to remote locations, or trying to run power lines from the closest powered town out to where people are living with out power.
According to Harvard University, where this product was founded, the next step for the bionic leaf is make building it most cost effective in order to make it readily available as a power source across the world.
If this technology does become attainable by the average person it could not only solve our constant battle of finding oil, but take some of the Co2, causing our climate change, out of the air, while providing a power source that would not then harm the environment more. If more studies show that this a reliable, healthier, and inexpensive fuel source, I think it could give big oil companies a run for their money.


Other Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160602151837.htm

Sunday, August 21, 2016

CRISPR Trials

Cancer is one of the leading killers of the human race. Despite billions of dollars and countless hours of the best and brightest scientists lives are spent trying to cure this wretched disease, no method has yet proved 100% successful. They only methods we have come up with to combat this disease is to either try and hack out the tumors or to poison the person to the point where not only cancer cells die, but also healthy ones; and even them some cases are labeled too far gone. However with new technology comes new hope.
Chinese scientists are now about to start clinical trials to combat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, with their new gene altering technique. The idea of extracting cells from a person, genetically altering them and then putting them back into a person is commonly referred to as gene therapy and is experimental no matter what the treatment is used for. This gene therapy involves altering T-cells with CRISPR-Cas 9 technology and resultingly changing the gene to only attack cancerous cells, protecting the healthy ones. Like any treatment their are risks, and they are even higher with this treatment being experimental, the gene alteration could potentially make the situation worse and the t-calls could begin to attack all cells, even healthy ones. However, the scientist on this project will be monitoring patients closely and do not believe that this will happen. Risky or not this treatment could be one of the biggest scientific break through's of the modern day. This treatment not only gives new hope for those who have not seen success in chemotherapy or radiation, but also for a potential new and improved cancer treatment. One that is not as harsh on the body. If this trail is successful it may also open a door for other people to study other gene editing techniques and cure other genetic diseases.  
I wonder if, as gene editing technology progresses, we will be able cure genetic disorders like down syndrome, or cystic fibrosis. I also wonder if with how early some of theses genetic disorders are detected, if a child could be cured of them while they are still in utero. I hope that this study succeeds in helping their patients become cancer free, and that their success will open up the doors for many scientists using gene editing to cure other conditions.