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  • A multidisciplinary forum for machine intelligence
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffNow open for submissions, Nature Machine Intelligence will study all aspects of intelligent machines by exploring a broad spectrum of topics across artificial Intelligence and robotics, as well as their connections with other fields. We will publish original research, Reviews, Perspectives, Comments, News Features, and News & Views articles.  Read more
  • A new approach for DNA synthesis
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffOrdering synthetic oligos or genes online is now commonplace and an essential resource to scientists across disciplines. But the phosphoramidite chemistry currently used to synthesize DNA is limited to direct synthesis of about 200 nucleotides, with longer stretches requiring assembly. The capacity to synthesize long stretches of DNA is important for a variety of applications, including DNA storage, DNA origami, and to synthesize DNA containing regions with repeats, which are difficult to put together. In a paper published recently in Nature Biotechnology, Jay Keasling and colleagues report a promising new approach to DNA synthesis. Using a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) conjugated to a single deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (dNTP), they tether the primer to TdT after extending it by one nucleotide.  Read more
  • Want to find investors for your research idea? Change the way you pitch
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffMany scientists hope to translate their discoveries into something useful and financially profitable. A biologist, for example, might hope to create a new line of health care products. Many use special grants or family resources to establish small companies. However, given the enormous challenges in the healthcare market, virtually every nascent enterprise needs outside funding; whether from wealthy “angel investors,” venture capital, or investment from large pharmaceutical and device developers.  Read more
  • The story behind the story: Going back for Hitler
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffThis week, Futures takes a trip back in time with George Nikolopoulos in an attempt to change the course of history. In Going back for Hitler, George ponders the problems of messing with the past. You can find out more about George‘s work at his website or by following him on Twitter. Here, he reveals the inspiration behind his latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.  Read more
  • Frugal innovation: India, France can lead the way
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffIn this guest post, Navi Radjou draws from his experience at a hands-on education and problem-solving school in Mumbai. He points out that France’s strong science and engineering capabilities, combined with the Indian concept of jugaad, or frugal ingenuity, could help solve problems that threaten all of humanity.  Read more
  • Hunting connections between cell types and cytokines
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffCytokines are small proteins that mediate signalling among immune and non-immune cells, and they trigger a range of cellular activity, such as proliferation, activation and killing. Over many decades, immunologists have described countless associations between cell types and the cytokines they produce or sense, but many of these findings, although published, are difficult to access. Associations may have been discovered in a particular disease context or cell type, or uncovered as part of a larger study and thus not corroborated or expanded. Work from Shai Shen-Orr and colleagues, published in Nature Biotechnology, aims to unearth these connections and provide a useful resource for enabling new discoveries.  Read more
  • The million-dollar question every scientist should be asking
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffI recently had a phone call with a frustrated colleague looking for some advice. She had two key pressure points, both common in the field of science communication.  Read more
  • Will the EU deregulate gene-edited plants?
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffAt the beginning of the year, the advocate general of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued an opinion that plants created using new plant breeding techniques, including gene-editing platforms like CRISPR, TALENs and the like, are eligible for the so-called mutagenesis exemption. This exemption relates to rules the European Union uses to regulate the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which are outlined in Directive (2001/18/EC), originally drafted in 2001. The exemption covers any plants considered ‘safe’ or produced using techniques that have a history of safety, including plants derived from traditional mutagenesis (hence the mutagenesis exemption).  Read more
  • How to mentor undergraduates as a postgraduate, and why it’s important
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffThere’s a difference between mentoring and doling out to-do lists. This is something I’ve learned over the past year, my first as a mentor. Mentoring undergrads became part of my job only recently – in the past, research came first. Most advisors value research outcomes over mentoring, and departments certainly place more value on publications. Before this past year, I was used to just a single undergrad working in my lab, and I thought of them as worker bees, not as future colleagues.  Read more
  • The story behind the story: Further laws of robotics
    Originally posted on - blogs by NPG staffThis week, Futures is delighted to welcome Josh Pearce with his story Further laws of robotics. An assistant editor at Locus magazine, you can find out more about Josh’s work at his website or by following him on Twitter. Here, he reveals what sparked his latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.  Read more