A Florida scientist has developed a "brain" in a glass dish that is capable of flying a virtual fighter plane and could enhance medical understanding of neural disorders such as epilepsy.
The "living computer" was grown from 25,000 neurons extracted from a rat's brain and arranged over a grid of 60 electrodes in a Petri dish.
The brain cells then started to reconnect themselves, forming microscopic interconnections, said Thomas DeMarse, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.
A California biotechnology company has started taking orders for a hypoallergenic cat for pet lovers prone to allergies.
The genetically engineered feline, which is expected to be available from 2007, is the first in a planned series of lifestyle pets, Los Angeles-based Allerca said in a press release.
Allerca hopes to attract customers among the millions of people worldwide who suffer from cat allergies.
Up to 10 percent of the U.S. population alone are believed to be prone to symptoms that can affect the eyes, nose, ears, throat, lungs and skin.
The H5N1 bird flu, whose known human death toll has now reached 32, has made its first foray outside Asia. It turned up at Brussels airport last week in a pair of eagles smuggled from Thailand, and caused one human infection.
Belgian authorities say they have contained the threat, and are now analysing the virus. “We were very, very lucky,” says Rene Snacken, head of flu at Belgium’s Scientific Institute of Public Health in Brussels. “It could have been a bomb for Europe.”
Meanwhile, Toshiba is working on a small fuel cell for portable electronics that could provide 20 hours or more of run time using a technology that relies on methanol.
Panasonic's hydrogen fuel cell system will be sold to Japanese consumers through a local utility company, according to Yoshihiro Kitadeya, a spokesman for Panasonic. At first, most of the systems, which will cost about $10,000, will come to market by being part of a new home.
Scientists in the UK are applying for a licence to create human embryos with three genetic parents. The aim is ultimately to prevent children from inheriting genetic diseases caused by mutations in DNA housed by their mitochondria - components of cells which produce energy.
The research application from Doug Turnbull and Mary Herbert at the University of Newcastle will be decided upon by the UK's regulatory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, over the next few weeks.