When you hear the word “CRISPR”, you may think of a new technology that allows scientists to quickly and easily edit genomes. However, CRISPR doesn’t stop there—a new version of CRISPR was recently identified that targets RNA—rather than DNA—expanding possibilities for new applications in medicine and biotechnology.
In a recent lecture on Mars colonization, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors said, “I think that Mars is gonna be a great place to go. It will be the planet of opportunity.” Mankind’s first mission to Mars is getting ever closer — SpaceX hopes to get there by 2022. Extraterrestrial colonization is a challenge worth rising to, but getting to Mars is only a small part of the equation. The bigger problem to solve is how will we survive once we get there? In theory, surviving on Mars will be possible – and thanks to a fervor of recent research, many of the challenges we will face may be helped by engineered biological systems. It’s time we talk about synthetic biology in space!
We recently caught up with Dr. James Collins, Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to discuss his team’s recent invention of a rapid and inexpensive field-based diagnostic test for the Zika virus using synthetic biology tools.