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Scientists Remove Extra Chromosome From Down Syndrome Line

University of Washington scientists have successfully removed the extra copy of chromosome 21 from a culture of cells taken from a person with Down syndrome, opening possibilities for new treatments. 

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers at the University of Washington have used a new medical procedure to remove the extra copy of chromosome 21 in cell cultures derived from a person affected by Down syndrome. The new technique is remarkable in its ability to completely remove the chromosome without affecting portions of the genetic code. "Gene therapy researchers have to be careful that their approaches do not cause gene toxicity," said Dr. David W. Russell. "This means, for example, that removal of a chromosome must not break or rearrange the remaining genetic code. This method shouldn't do that." 

What's the Big Idea?

Down syndrome is a genetic abnormality caused by a trisomy, or the triplication of a chromosome. Researchers hope that by removing the extra copy of chromosome 21 from cell cultures, new cell therapies will emerge for some of the blood-forming disorders that accompany Down syndrome. "Researcher could [also] contrast, for example, how the two cell lines formed brain nerve cells, to learn the effects of trisomy 21 on neuron development, which might offer insights into the lifelong cognitive impairments and adulthood mental decline of Down syndrome."

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Hulu's original movie "Palm Springs" is the comedy we needed this summer

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.

Gear
  • Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
  • As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
  • The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
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Map of the World's Countries Rearranged by Population

China moves to Russia and India takes over Canada. The Swiss get Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi India. And the U.S.? It stays where it is. 

Strange Maps

What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

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Dinosaurs suffered from cancer, study confirms

A recent analysis of a 76-million-year-old Centrosaurus apertus fibula confirmed that dinosaurs suffered from cancer, too.

A Centrosaurus reconstruction

Surprising Science
  • The fibula was originally discovered in 1989, though at the time scientists believed the damaged bone had been fractured.
  • After reanalyzing the bone, and comparing it with fibulas from a human and another dinosaur, a team of scientists confirmed that the dinosaur suffered from the bone cancer osteosarcoma.
  • The study shows how modern techniques can help scientists learn about the ancient origins of diseases.
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David Epstein: Thinking tools for 'wicked' problems

Join the lauded author of Range in conversation with best-selling author and poker pro Maria Konnikova!

Big Think LIVE

UPDATE: Unfortunately, Malcolm Gladwell was not able to make the live stream due to scheduling issues. Fortunately, David Epstein was able to jump in at a moment's notice. We hope you enjoy this great yet unexpected episode of Big Think Live. Our thanks to David and Maria for helping us deliver a show, it is much appreciated.


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