How and why we purify proteins | Ars Technica

I think, in the last Ars Technica article I linked, I mentioned that I love them. Just in case I didn't, let me say it now: I love Ars Technica. This article more clearly and succintly describes the methods for how and why proteins are purified than I think any of my professors ever explained. I think my biochem professor (Hi RD!!!) came the closest to giving us this level of detail, but even he, I think, focused on the methods we had available to us in our lab and the techniques we'd be using. This is a nice overview. Pair this article with a video showing the actual equipment and techniques (Yes, I'll go hunting for it & cross link when I find it) and your budding biochemists will be well-prepared for the skills required of them in the lab! Not only that, the ordinary people who never go near labs but may rely on protein based medications (like insulin) can read this and get a larger appreciation of the work that goes into ensuring their medication is safe and effective as well as affordable.

This genetically modified yeast can now brew morphine

This article from PBS discusses a breakthrough made at UC-Berkeley and in Canada to help move production of certain opiates (drugs used for pain killing) from the time-consuming process of waiting for plants to grow before final processing in yeast to allow the entire process to occur in specially modified yeast cells. However, recognizing the danger of home-made labs using this yeast to create their own opiates, the researchers have also already begun discussions with regulatory agencies in an effort to help restrict access. This may limit their own access to their own research, but it may help prevent the spread of the specific strain out of the lab and into the hands of those who would sell these addictive (and potentially lethal drugs. Opiates such as morphine can depress the respiratory system and cause patients to stop breathing.

The ongoing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Outbreak in Korea | Ars Technica

This is a great example of what news should be - informative, but not sensational. There's information here about what MERS is, what it does, and what to do about it. There's also information that puts it in context - MERS isn't just some scary illness, it is caused by a specific virus type, called a corona virus. There's more on why these viruses have that name, other disorders caused by these viruses, how they're transmitted, and what to do about it. I really like the stuff John finds for me in ars technica because it's almost always well-rounded and solid like this. I recommend reading this article, but also, browsing them in general.