Reverse Engineering Stem Cells, Memories and Eye Colour | The Wanderer Science


If you’ve always associated stem cell research with the ethical debate of abortion, you may want to reconsider that link. Researchers at John Hopkins are using plasmids  to turn back the hand of time on adult blood cells,  converting them into embryonic stem cells at a fifty to sixty percent success rate. The research, which as it progresses should wipe out the social stigmas of stem cell research, will also give other scientists clues on cell mutation and cancer development. A link to John Hopkins’ release of their research can be found here.


Have you ever wanted to relive a memory? Nostalgic individuals can rejoice, as scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have developed techniques to recreate the original audiovisual stimuli individuals experience, through advanced computer tech and the analysis of an individual’s fMRI scans. While this may induce paranoia in those who are afraid of having their mind read, it could have tremendous benefits, say, in giving credibility to witness accounts in judicial affairs. Speaking of which…


Life on the lam is going to get even tougher for criminals. A forensic test has been developed that can quite accurately predict hair and eye colour from Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). The test, which is still undergoing calibration, has an accuracy rating ranging from roughly seventy to eighty-eight percent. Currently, DNA is mostly used in forensics in a direct matching process, where criminology lab analysts look for exact matches of crime scene DNA with on file DNA pulled from an existing database. However, for first time offenders, DNA is often not on file, and this type of test will help narrow the search for perpetrators.



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