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Plants Engineered To Produce Insect Perfume Could Be Pesticide Alternative

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by Michael Keller

Swedish and American researchers have successfully engineered plants to produce chemical attractants like those released by insects to find mates. They say their plant factories could be used to lure and trap nuisance bugs as an environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides and synthetically produced attractants.

Using a multistep process to genetically modify a close relative of the tobacco plant, the researchers pushed the plant to produce a molecule that mimics sex pheromones released by females of two moth species that feed on orchard trees. They then deployed traps spiked with the plant-made musk and found that they efficiently caught males of both species.

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Txch This Week: A Windowless Plane With A View

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by Norman Rozenberg

This week on Txchnologist, we looked at new innovations improving current technologies.

First, we looked at a temporary tattoo that can improve workouts. The sensor sticks on skin like a tattoo and monitors athletes’ bodies as they exercise, generating real-time information about performance.

Then, we saw how a GE physicist has created a new way to scan for breast cancer. Her advance, inspired by her own brush with the disease, is designed to more accurately tell if an abnormality is malignant or benign to eliminate the unnecessary stress caused by inconclusive testing.

Ever wonder how figure skaters can glide on the rink so gracefully? The National Science Foundation and NBC Learn have teamed up again, this time to explain the science of ice

Finally, on our radar were the researchers who created the first accurate 3-D model of a strand of curly hair. Understanding how gravity and curly hair interact is important for both engineers and movie animators.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

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This Week in Txch

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by Ysabel Yates

While we were examining novel preventions for malaria and zooming in on nature’s syringes this week, a lot of firsts happened in the world of science, technology, and innovation.

Click through to see the advances we’ve been following.

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Nanotubes Could Help To Detect Lyme Disease Earlier

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by Peter Gwynne, Inside Science

A group of physicists and biologists has developed a nanotechnology-based technique that promises to increase the speed and sensitivity of diagnosing Lyme disease, a bacterial condition that infects more than 30,000 Americans each year.

The method, still in the research stage, uses nanotubes – tiny threads of carbon barely visible to the human eye – attached to antibodies that react with particular proteins carried by the bacteria responsible for the disease.

"We’re looking directly for the Lyme organisms," said physicist A. T. Charlie Johnson, who led the multidisciplinary group at the University of Pennsylvania with bacteriologist Dustin Brisson. "This could be very useful in detecting early-stage infection."

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