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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Microsoft Goes Bio
13 March 2007 (All day)
Microsoft is adding synthetic biology to its universe. Today, the software giant announced $570,000 in grants to six teams of academic researchers exploring new ways to meld biology with computer science, math, and engineering.
"The reason we're in this area is there is a lot of potential," said Microsoft official Simon Mercer earlier this year in an interview with Science. "We may never be a biotech company, but ... we want to see growth of a set of tools that support synthetic biology activities." Synthetic biology uses mathematical modeling and other computational tools to devise new biological functions.
Grantees include researchers from schools such as the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and Harvard University. The scientists are involved in building the next generation of cloning methods and creating computer code to help them fold DNA into more complex shapes. One of the awardees, chemist David Green, an expert on protein design at Stony Brook University in New York, is exploring studies in protein and gene design aimed at making transgenic organisms that keep their new traits longer. That's an early challenge to synthetic biologists in a variety of areas.
"One advantage of having industry involved is to make sure that there is a focus on useful applications as opposed to simply proof of principle kind of projects," says Green. He hopes the $90,000 in seed money from Microsoft will help him do early modeling studies, providing preliminary results useful to winning more funds for broader work later.