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Algal Magnetism

For years, researchers have been trying to find ways to turn algae into biofuel. Popular Science's Clay Dillow reports that researchers at Los Alamos National Lab have come up with a new method for harvesting algae that could reduce the cost of biofuel production — and possibly provide engineers with hours of fun. The team genetically engineered the algae to make it magnetic, Dillow says. They took a gene from a magnetotactic bacterium, and inserted it into the algae. "When expressed, the gene causes the production of magnetic nanoparticles in the algae just as it does in the bacteria. Those in turn can be used to manipulate the algae," he adds. So now to extract the biofuel-producing algae from water and then extract the lipids containing the necessary hydrocarbons from the algae, all that's needed is a magnet.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.