The moon has perpetually been a beacon of curiosity to humankind, always in the sky urging us to look up and beyond. In the mid-20th century, this fascination sparked a historic rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, known as the Space Race. This era was marked by extraordinary milestones: satellites orbiting Earth, humans venturing into space and the landmark event of a man setting foot on the moon – a moment etched in history with the phrase, “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was an era where the impossible became possible – though some still question if it was a monumental human achievement or an elaborately crafted façade.Continue reading “SLIM Chances: Upside-down, but not Out on the Lunar Surface”
On Thursday November 9th, 2023, Promega held its 7th Biologics Symposium at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge. For the first time, participants had the option to attend the event either in person or experience it via live stream, creating an inclusive and dynamic environment where the latest breakthroughs and ideas could be showcased. Moreover, the event was organized into a morning and afternoon session, enabling ample time for networking and the exchange of ideas beyond formal presentations.Continue reading “Uniting Diverse Minds, Vibrant Ideas, and Collaborative Spirit at the 2023 Biologics Symposium”
Research studies and novel discoveries continually reshape our understanding of the natural world, often refining—and sometimes contesting—prevailing scientific theories. While this influx of new information is important for expanding knowledge, it can also give rise to myths and misconceptions stemming from biases, media misrepresentations and overgeneralizations. In this blog, we’ll explore misconceptions that blur the lines between fact and fiction, some scientific myths that just won’t go die and theories that scientists can’t stop debating.
Humans Only Use 10% of Their Brain
This myth, frequently perpetuated through movies like Lucy with Scarlett Johansson and Limitless with Bradely Cooper, has ambiguous roots. Some attribute this pseudoscience to Albert Einstein, despite no recorded record of such a claim, while others associate it with a misinterpretation of William James and his “Reserve Energy Theory” (8).Continue reading “Myths, Misconceptions and Debated Theories in Biology”
Insects are a keystone species in the animal kingdom, often providing invaluable benefits to terrestrial ecosystems and useful services to mankind. While many of them are seen as pests (think mosquitos), others are important for pollination, waste management, and even scientific research.
Insect biotechnology, or the use of insect-derived molecules and cells to develop products, is applied in a diverse set of scientific fields including agricultural, industrial, and medical biotechnology. Insect cells have been central to many scientific advances, being utilized in recombinant protein, baculovirus, and vaccine and viral pesticide production, among other applications (5).
Therefore, as the use of insect cells becomes more widespread, understanding how they are produced, their research applications, and the scientific products that can be used with them is crucial to fostering further scientific advancements.
Primary Cell Cultures and Cell Lines
In general, experimentation with individual cells, rather than full animal models, is advantageous due to improved reproducibility, decreased space requirements, less ethical concerns, and a reduction in expense. This makes primary cell cultures and cell lines essential contributors to basic scientific research.Continue reading “Insects and Science: Optimizing Work with Sf9 Insect Cells”
Foodborne disease affects almost 1 in 10 people around the world annually, and continuously presents a serious public health issue (9).
More than 200 diseases have evolved from consuming food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical substances, resulting in extensive increases in global disease and mortality rates (9). With this, foodborne pathogens cause a major strain on health-care systems; as these diseases induce a variety of different illnesses characterized by a multitude of symptoms including gastrointestinal, neurological, gynecological, and immunological (9,2).
But why is food contamination increasing?
New challenges, in addition to established food contamination hazards, only serve to compound and increase food contamination risks. Food is vulnerable to contamination at any point between farm and table—during production, processing, delivery, or preparation. Here are a few possible causes of contamination at each point in the chain (2):
- Production: Infected animal biproducts, acquired toxins from predation and consumption of other sick animals, or pollutants of water, soil, and/or air.
- Processing: Contaminated water for cleaning or ice. Germs on animals or on the production line.
- Delivery: Bacterial growth due to uncontrolled temperatures or unclean mode of transport.
- Preparation: Raw food contamination, cross-contamination, unclean work environments, or sick people near food.
Further emerging challenges include, more complex food movement, a consequence of changes in production and supply of imported food and international trade. This generates more contamination opportunities and transports infected products to other countries and consumers. Conjointly, changes in consumer preferences, and emerging bacteria, toxins, and antimicrobial resistance evolve, and are constantly changing the game for food contamination (1,9).
Hence, versatile tests that can identify foodborne illnesses in a rapid, versatile, and reliable way, are top priority.Continue reading “Have No Fear, qPCR Is Here: How qPCR can help identify food contamination”
Cells, commonly considered the smallest unit of life, provide structure and function for all living things (3).
Because cells contain the fundamental molecules of life, in some situations such as yeast, a single cell can be considered the complete organism. In other situations, for more complex multicellular organisms, a multitude of cells can mature and acquire different, specialized functions (3).
Cells developing specificity are undergoing differentiation, a process where a cell’s genes are either turned “on” or “off” resultant in a more specific cell type. As these differentiated cells start to exhibit their identity, they organize themselves into the tissues, organs, and organ systems integral to the functioning of a multicellular, developing organism. This process in which order and form is created within a developing organism is referred to as morphogenesis (5).Continue reading “Cell Tracking Using HaloTag: Why are Scientists Chasing Cells?”