How do human cells sing when they are “drunk,” why cross live organisms and robots, and how does the brain make decisions? What in our head is responsible for pleasure while eating ice cream or playing Playamo live casino online website? The answers to these questions are given by new scientific trends that have appeared relatively recently. We present to your attention 8 of the most promising and important of them.
1. Synthetic Biology
This is one of the newer trends in genetic engineering. The idea is to construct new genomes and corresponding living organisms which either never existed in nature or have died because they could not cope with the evolutionary competition with those living on Earth today.
A revolutionary breakthrough in this field occurred on May 10, 2010. On that day, the first living cell capable of reproduction was created based on an artificially synthesized genome at the Craig Venter Institute. This method promises a huge range of applications, from the creation of new crops to bacteria that will be able to rid the Earth of the greenhouse effect by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a gigantic scale.
Synthetic biology is of unprecedented interest not only to scientists but also to artists working in the direction of “science art. One of the most poetic projects was realized a couple of years ago by an art group from the Bangalore School of Art and Science (India). It is based on the idea that true love smells like rain (and it falls over the land of the artists’ hometown of Bangalore) – “the smell of Indian soil after a monsoon downpour”. The creators have constructed bacteria that recreate this scent. “Modern art has to smell like love,” said group leader Avni Sethi, “or else what’s the point of doing it?”
The concept of “nano” is already firmly embedded in all areas of life. Most of us know that it refers to technologies for working with very small objects: atoms and molecules. One nanometer is a billion times smaller than a meter. To visualize this ratio, compare a soccer ball to the entire globe! It is believed that the era of nanotechnology began in 1959 with Richard Feynman’s famous lecture “There’s a lot of room down there”. The word “down there” in the title of the lecture meant “a world of very small dimensions. Today, scientists believe that in the 21st-century nanotechnology will be the basis of the technological revolution. They will be used to make materials, medicines, and various devices.
Even such a trend as nanosychology has appeared in science! It studies the ability of nanoparticles (nano screens, nanochips) to influence mental processes and the human brain. A nanochip does not have to be surgically implanted into the brain, because it is so small that a person can simply breathe it in and the microscopic device will find its way to the brain. The most serious mental disorders, memory disorders – even Alzheimer’s disease – can be treated this way! But is it possible to control people on a mass scale via a global radio network with nanochips in their brains? These studies promise a highly controversial prospect.
Bionics draws its inspiration from the natural world – from biological processes, the physiology of organisms, and their behavior. It is nature that gives scientists ideas for new products. The motto of bionics is: “Living prototypes are the key to new technology. The term was first used by Major Jack Steely in 1960 at the US Air Force Congress. Today, bionics plays an important role in the development of medicine of the future: scientists combine biological and artificial materials, turning them into full-fledged organs.
More recently, a group of scientists and engineers has developed a bionic eye that will help restore sight to blind people. The eye was implanted in a group of patients, and many of them saw light and the outlines of people for the first time in decades.
A new branch of biomedicine, regenerative medicine, is also actively developing. It is based on the principles of restoring the functions or structures of tissues and organs. The most interesting direction is bioprinting. Scientists are working to start printing organs on an “ordinary” printer. Watch the video, and you will understand how this amazing process happens in every sense.
4. Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics
Nutrigenomics is the science of how food interacts with our bodies. Nutrigenetics studies the genes responsible for the metabolism and digestibility of food. Each person has an individual set of genes: some have dark hair, some have red hair. Differences are determined by small differences in DNA, and this phenomenon is called polymorphism. It makes each person unique, and each person’s body digests food differently. One person processes fatty foods or carbohydrates well, for example, and another person processes them much worse.
Nutrigenetics did not emerge from anything. Its emergence was prepared by advances in nutrition science. The latter has created a tremendous platform by detailing the nutrient content (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, etc.) in virtually every food item. Equally important is the knowledge of the influence of genes on the breakdown and absorption of these foods.
That’s why many clinics today offer genetic testing to determine which diet is right for you.
All of us are born with a “gift set” of genes and memes. Genes are what we all know and understand. Memes are a kind of repository of cultural codes, like computer chips. The word “memetics” itself is not accidentally consonant with the term “genetics,” which we know, because it refers to the transmission of information, only not biological, but cultural.
For the first time, the term “meme” was used to describe the processes of storage and dissemination of certain cultural elements. It was introduced by the famous British scientist and popularizer of science Richard Dawkins. Science studies the origins of memes, people’s susceptibility to them, and their dissemination.
Recombinant memetics also emerged not so long ago. It is based on the study of patterns of behavior of recombinant DNA, that is, DNA molecules constructed by humans in vitro from heterogeneous fragments that never exist together in nature. These analogies help investigate how memes, ideas passed from person to person, can be corrected and combined with other memes. Scientists believe this is useful for “social therapeutic” purposes. For example, to combat the spread of radical and extremist ideologies.
The science of how “the brain makes decisions.” The struggle of manufacturers for the wallets of buyers is becoming more and more scientifically grounded. Now not only psychologists but also neurophysiologists are involved at the stage of product development. They take pictures and analyze indicators of the brain activity of potential buyers. And it is no longer so important what the person himself says. After all, the key role is played by the processes that take place in their subconscious.
Neuroeconomic studies have shown that there is a zone of rational decision-making, the “zone of self-control”, in the prefrontal frontal cortex. In those who can control themselves well, it actively works on emotional background. But such people are rare. A new science – neuroeconomics – is also aimed at helping to correct such decisions. It is especially important for clinical shopaholics, patients with certain disorders who can squander all the money in an hour.
Scientists hope that they will be able to synthesize a drug that changes the brain chemistry in the area of the cortex responsible for risk-taking. In this way, they will learn to regulate impulsive decision-making processes.
This is a new field of biological research that studies how human cells sound! During its life, each cell emits some kind of wave spectrum, which with some processing can be transformed into sound impulses. It turns out that when a cell dies, its impulses can be transformed into a kind of muffled muttering at low frequencies. Under the influence of alcohol, cells literally “scream” at the highest tones. The sound from the genetically modified cells is comparable to the noise produced by a radio receiver catching a wave.
For the first time, James Jimzewski of the University of California decided to “listen” to the cells.
Researchers hope that shortly, their findings will help create fundamentally new diagnostic methods. The “sound” cells will likely make it possible to recognize cancer in its earliest stages when the disease is not yet so dangerous.
Scientists also dream of creating a “catalog of sounds” that cells of different organs make at different stages of life and in different states.
How to “relocate the human psyche” from its mortal biological brain to the immortal artificial “neurocomputer brain”? The answer to this question is found in the field of settleretics. And this is almost the last step to human immortality.
Settleretics is trying to solve two main problems:
- How to extract information from the brain (uploading);
- How to download information into an artificial medium (downloading).
Settleretics is looking for new carriers of human consciousness (downloading) and offers a whole range of technologies: from implanting chips in different parts of the brain and regenerating nerve cells to controlling paralyzed muscles with neuro-implants.
The boldest dreams are to relocate a person’s personality from an aging organism into a young bio clone. It is also actively discussed to transfer the personality into a computer and make it permanently exist in the virtual world.