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Ed Yong
470,748 followers -
Science writer, geek, husband
Science writer, geek, husband

470,748 followers
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This post is written in a font made from DNA (and there's a link at the bottom that explains how it works)

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In an act of transformation worthy of any magician, scientists have converted scar tissue in the hearts of living mice into beating heart cells. If the same trick works in humans (and we’re still several years away from a trial), it could lead us to a long-sought prize of medicine – a way to mend a broken heart.

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Out of all the possible molecules in the world, just two form the basis of life’s grand variety: DNA and RNA. They encode the stuff of every whale, ant, flower, tree and bacterium.

But scientists have now developed six alternative polymers called XNAs that can also store genetic information and evolve through natural selection. None of them are found in nature. They are part of a dawning era of “synthetic genetics”, which expands the chemistry of life in new uncharted directions.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/04/19/synthetic-xna-molecules-can-evolve-and-store-genetic-information-just-like-dna/

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Today I learned that kangaroos have three vaginas. Click on the link to find out more (SFW).

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Scientists have found bacteria that have been living underground for as long as modern humans have existed, but that still resist our antibiotics. Find out why http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/04/13/isolated-for-millions-of-years-cave-bacteria-resist-modern-antibiotics/

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‘Wasp’ is an English word, but ‘telk’ is not. You and I know this because we speak English. But in a French laboratory, six baboons have also learned to tell the difference between genuine English words, and nonsense ones. They can sort their wasps from their telks, even though they have no idea that the former means a stinging insect and the latter means nothing. They don’t understand the language, but can ‘read’ nonetheless.
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