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Pompeu Fabra University

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addictions, Alzheimer's, big data, bioethics, climate change, cancer, behavioural sciences, climate, pollution, covid-19, embryonic development, diabetes, gene editing, education, energy, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, rare diseases, ageing, epidemiology, immunology, artificial intelligence, language, mathematics, microbiology, nanoscience, neuroscience, chemistry, robotics, mental health, sociology, supercomputing, transgenics
Marta Vila Cejudo
Communication and dissemination in biomedicine and health
689 20 47 61

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SMC participants

ICREA research professor senior and researcher in Bioengineering Systems-MELIS at Pompeu Fabra University

Postdoctoral researcher at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC- Universitat Pompeu Fabra).


Professor of Systems Biology at the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona

Researcher at ISGlobal and Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona

Coordinator of the Translational Synthetic Biology research group and full professor at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF)

Head of the Microbiome Research Group, Department of Medicine and Life Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University

Head of the Biomedical Cancer Genomics group at IRB Barcelona, ICREA research professor at IRB Barcelona and associate professor at Pompeu Fabra University

Contents related to this centre

Epigenetic editing is a technique that aims to alter gene expression without the need to modify the DNA sequence, as gene editing techniques do. In this way, Italian researchers have succeeded in silencing the PCSK9 gene in mice, thereby reducing cholesterol levels by half for at least a year. According to the authors, and assuming further evaluation is needed, their platform "could lay the foundations for the development of this type of therapy". The results are published in the journal Nature.


A Chinese research team has reported the birth of a crab-eating macaque that is a chimera: an animal generated from the mixing of embryonic cells from two different individuals; in this case, from the same species, according to the journal Cell. Until now, this type of chimera had only been developed with rodents. This is the first time it has been achieved in non-human primates.


A team of researchers has managed to combine more than seven synthetic chromosomes made in the laboratory in a single yeast cell. This involves developing for the first time a eukaryotic cell with more than 50% synthetic DNA, which survives and replicates in a similar way to wild yeast strains. The results, which are part of the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project (Sc2.0), are published in the journal Cell.

hormigas de fuego

One of the world's most invasive species is Solenopsis invicta, an ant native to South America with a painful sting. In an article published in Current Biology, experts confirm the first official sighting of this species in Europe: 88 nests spread over five hectares near Syracuse in Sicily, Italy. The ants could soon spread across the continent, causing serious environmental, health and economic problems. The study is led by the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) of the CSIC and the UPF.


The Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz's team had announced the generation of synthetic human embryos from stem cells at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Boston. The author later denied on Twitter that they were synthetic human embryos and spoke only of models, warning that it was pending publication in a scientific journal. The day after the publication in The Guardian, and as reported in El País, Jacob Hanna and his team published a preprint - a publication that has not been peer-reviewed - in bioRxiv on models of human embryos generated from stem cells without genetic editing. A few hours later, Zernicka-Goetz's team posted their preprint on bioRxiv.


A scientific team has generated synthetic human embryos using stem cells, reports the British newspaper The Guardian. The authors, who announced the breakthrough at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Boston (USA), say the model embryos, similar to those found in the early stages of human development, could be crucial for research into genetic disorders and the causes of miscarriages, according to the newspaper. However, the work also raises ethical and legal issues.

Bacteriophage virus

A team of scientists led by the Catholic University of America in Washington has designed new artificial vectors based on viruses to improve gene therapy processes. The main novelty is that they are constructed from viruses that infect bacteria. Among other advantages, this would make it possible to avoid the possible memory of our defences against them and have a greater capacity. According to the authors, who publish their results in the journal Nature Communications, these nanoparticles "have the potential to transform gene therapies and personalised medicine".


Chinese researchers have succeeded in developing macaque embryo-like structures from embryonic stem cells. They have also managed to implant them in the uterus of female macaque monkeys and develop a hormonal response similar to that of a gestation, although they have only survived for about a week. According to the authors, whose research is published in Cell Stem Cell, these models could be used to improve our understanding of embryonic development and to investigate the causes of some early miscarriages.



Research published in Nature shows the creation of synthetic mouse embryos derived from stem cells. The embryo model copies the stages of natural rodent embryo development that take place up to day 8.5 after fertilisation and includes regions of the brain, a neural tube and a structure similar to a beating heart.

Abejorro con corbícula llena de polen.

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. New work published in Science reveals that it significantly impairs the ability of bumblebees to maintain the temperature of their hive, a hitherto unsuspected effect that may lead to the decline of this already endangered species, which is essential for pollination.