Category: Neuroscience

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New DNA Synthesis Method Could Soon Build a Genome in a Day

New DNA Synthesis Method Could Soon Build a Genome in a Day Synthetic biologists are the computer programmers of biology. Their code? DNA. The whole enterprise sounds fantastical: you insert new snippets of DNA code—in the form of a chain of A, T, C, G letters—into an organism, and bam! Suddenly you have bacteria that…
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Transdifferentiation Can Create An Endless Supply of Brain Cells—And Fast

Transdifferentiation Can Create An Endless Supply of Brain Cells—And Fast Cellular reprogramming is like the fairytale of spinning straw into gold: you take an abundant, mundane cell type, dose it with a cocktail of chemicals, and voilà—now you have an unlimited supply of therapeutic cells ready for action. You’ve probably heard of the superstar in…
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Neurons Made From Blood Cells—A New Tool for Understanding Brain Diseases

Neurons Made From Blood Cells—A New Tool for Understanding Brain Diseases Our team at Stanford University has just figured out the recipe for converting blood cells from adults directly into nerve cells, or neurons. You may be wondering why anyone would want to convert blood into brain cells. Researchers like myself would like to gain…
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Robots Will Be Able to Feel Touch With This Artificial Nerve

Robots Will Be Able to Feel Touch With This Artificial Nerve When the disembodied cockroach leg twitched, Yeongin Kim knew he had finally made it. A graduate student at Stanford, Kim had been working with an international team of neuroengineers on a crazy project: an artificial nerve that acts like the real thing. Like sensory…
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A Quarter Million Gamers Helped Build This Incredibly Detailed Map of the Brain

A Quarter Million Gamers Helped Build This Incredibly Detailed Map of the Brain EyeWire, neuroscience’s most audacious experiment, just opened up a digital museum. Constructed with the help of a quarter million gamers, EyeWire Museum is one-of-a-kind: the 3D interactive playground showcases neurons in a mouse’s retina in exquisite detail, down to every bend and…
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Living Neanderthal ‘Mini-Brains’ May Reveal What Makes Our Brains Special

Living Neanderthal ‘Mini-Brains’ May Reveal What Makes Our Brains Special He isolated DNA from Egyptian mummies. He discovered the Denisovans, an extinct ancient human species, by sequencing DNA from a tiny bone fragment. He led a massive study that reconstructed the Neanderthal genome—and found traces of their genes still lurking within some of us today.…
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This DeepMind AI Spontaneously Developed Navigation Neurons Like Ours

This DeepMind AI Spontaneously Developed Navigation Neurons Like Ours When Google DeepMind researchers trained a neural network to tackle a virtual maze, it spontaneously developed digital equivalents to the specialized neurons called grid cells that mammals use to navigate. Not only did the resulting AI system have superhuman navigation capabilities, the research could provide insight…
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Holograms Can Now Program Brain Activity—Are Fake Experiences Next?

Holograms Can Now Program Brain Activity—Are Fake Experiences Next? Optogenetics, neuroscience’s hottest mind-control tool, just got a major update. Projecting 3D-light holograms—yes, holograms!—directly onto a mouse’s cortex, engineers at UC Berkeley instantaneously gained control of dozens of neurons at once. That’s not the impressive part. What’s incredible is that those neurons belonged to different networks,…
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Mini-Brains Just Grew Their Own Blood Vessels—Here’s Why That’s Great News

Mini-Brains Just Grew Their Own Blood Vessels—Here’s Why That’s Great News If you ever put a brain through a Picasso filter, you’d probably get something close to a brain ball. When brain balls first hit the neuroscience scene in 2013, they were just a curious oddity. Each smaller than a grain of sand, brain balls…
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How Will Merging Minds and Machines Change Our Conscious Experience?

How Will Merging Minds and Machines Change Our Conscious Experience? One of the most exciting and frightening outcomes of technological advancement is the potential to merge our minds with machines. If achieved, this would profoundly boost our cognitive capabilities. More importantly, however, it could be a revolution in human identity, emotion, spirituality, and self-awareness. Brain-machine…
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