According to Scientific American, there are some important innovations happening right now -- from an artificial alternative to DNA, oil that cleans water, pacemakers powered by our blood, and more -- that could have a serious impact on our lives.
New Life-Forms, No DNA Required
Artificial organisms based on man-made molecules could thrive and evolve
DNA is passé. Synthetic biologists have invented an array of new molecules called XNAs that boast all the talents of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), as well as some special powers. XNAs could allow scientists to safely create life-forms in the laboratory that do not depend on DNA to survive and evolve.
"Life is inconceivable without a system for genetic information storage and replication, but DNA and RNA are not unique," explains Philipp Holliger of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. "Related polymers -- at least six more -- can do the same function." That the earth's flora and fauna rely only on DNA and RNA, he says, is an "accident from the origin of life."
|If Microsoft Designed the User Interfaces of the Future|
|Everything You Need to Know About Cyborgs|
|Nokia's HumanForm: a Teardrop-Shaped Touch-Activated Flexible Phone|
|Edward Snowden's Message is Clear: US Firms' Cloud Services Cannot be Trusted|
|3D Television Without 3D Glasses|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“Bulgaria is hemorrhaging citizens at a rate of 164 per day.”|
|How to Make a Cheesecake that Looks Like Cheese|
|What Nothing Really Means in Seinfeld|
|“It's not more expensive to build and it's hugely cheaper and more efficient to live in.”|
|iPhone 6, the First Smartphone to Disrupt NSA's Spying|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|“How easy it is for anyone who tracks our digital activities to gain insight into our personalities.”|
|“Social media is the publisher, not just the postman.”|
|“A chain of endlessly recommended YouTube videos made by strangers motivated by advertising dollars.”|
|“The 'last mile' to the home accounts for 50 percent or more of total package delivery costs.”|