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Making systems robust: Artificial genetic regulatory network introduced into living cell for the first time

Improving biotech and therapies

24-Jun-2019

Both nature and technology rely on integral feedback mechanisms to ensure that systems resist external perturbations. ETH researchers have now used synthetic biology to design a new mechanism of this sort from scratch. For the first time, they have introduced it into a living cell as an ...

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When sand behaves like oil

08-May-2019

Sand, coffee grounds and rice behave very differently than water or oil, but under certain conditions they will suddenly exhibit astonishing similarities. Scientists have found a way to better understand the behaviour of granular materials. Sand, rice and coffee are all examples of granular ...

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Fleming’s method in miniature

02-May-2019

Scientists in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel have developed a method with which they can quickly test a very large number of molecules for antibiotic effect. With it, they have already successfully discovered new antibiotic candidates produced by ...

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Bacteria reveal strong individuality when navigating a maze

26-Apr-2019

Researchers from ETH Zurich demonstrate that genetically identical cells exhibit differing responses in their motility towards chemical attractants. Average values hide the full picture when it comes to describing the behaviour of bacteria. Although they are considered the simplest of all life ...

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Water that never freezes

12-Apr-2019

Can water reach minus 263 degrees Celsius without turning into ice? Yes it can, say researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, if it is confined in nanometre-scale lipid channels. Making ice cubes is a simple process: you take a plastic ice-cube tray like you’d find in most ...

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First bacterial genome created entirely with a computer

The method has the potential to revolutionise biotechnology

03-Apr-2019

Scientists at ETH Zurich have developed a new method that greatly simplifies the production of large DNA molecules containing many hundreds of genes. With this method, they have built the first genome of a bacterium entirely designed by a computer algorithm. The method has the potential to ...

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A special phenomenon in magnets

A compass pointing West

02-Apr-2019

Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Villigen and the ETH Zurich have discovered a special phenomenon in magnets. This phenomenon takes place at the nanoscale and enables magnets to be assembled in unusual configurations, which could also be useful for computer technology and data ...

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How AI could spur drug development

29-Mar-2019

Using artificial intelligence in drug design would give pharmaceutical research a boost, says Gisbert Schneider. In the medium term, computers could even carry out experiments autonomously. Designing drugs is a complex and challenging task. How do you create effective new medicines without ...

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A social bacterium with versatile habits

25-Mar-2019

Related individuals of a soil bacterial species live in cooperative groups and exhibit astonishing genetic and behavioural diversity. Many living systems share a fundamental capacity for cooperation. Plants and animals are made up of billions of cells that communicate with one another, carry out ...

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Platinum nanoparticles for selective treatment of liver cancer cells

15-Feb-2019

In recent years, the number of targeted cancer drugs has continued to rise. However, conventional chemotherapeutic agents still play an important role in cancer treatment. These include platinum-based cytotoxic agents that attack and kill cancer cells. But these agents also damage healthy tissue ...

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