The radical possibilities of man-made DNA | Floyd E. Romesberg

Every cell that’s ever lived has been the result of the four-letter genetic alphabet: A, T, C and G — the basic units of DNA. But now that’s changed. In a visionary talk, synthetic biologist Floyd E. Romesberg introduces us to the first living organisms created with six-letter DNA — the four natural letters plus two new man-made ones, X and Y — and explores how this breakthrough could challenge our basic understanding of nature’s design.

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How a long-forgotten virus could help us solve the antibiotics crisis | Alexander Belcredi

Viruses have a bad reputation — but some of them could one day save your life, says biotech entrepreneur Alexander Belcredi. In this fascinating talk, he introduces us to phages, naturally-occurring viruses that hunt and kill harmful bacteria with deadly precision, and shows how these once-forgotten organisms could provide new hope against the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

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How isolation fuels opioid addiction | Rachel Wurzman

What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman — and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.

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The secrets of spider venom | Michel Dugon

Spider venom can stop your heart within minutes, cause unimaginable pain — and potentially save your life, says zoologist Michel Dugon. As a tarantula crawls up and down his arm, Dugon explains the medical properties of this potent toxin and how it might be used to produce the next generation of antibiotics.

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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How we could teach our bodies to heal faster | Kaitlyn Sadtler

What if we could help our bodies heal faster and without scars, like Wolverine in X-Men? TED Fellow Kaitlyn Sadtler is working to make this dream a reality by developing new biomaterials that could change how our immune system responds to injuries. In this quick talk, she shows the different ways these products could help the body regenerate.

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The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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Why we choke under pressure — and how to avoid it | Sian Leah Beilock

When the pressure is on, why do we sometimes fail to live up to our potential? Cognitive scientist and Barnard College president Sian Leah Beilock reveals what happens in your brain and body when you choke in stressful situations, sharing psychological tools that can help you perform at your best when it matters most.

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How to create a world where no one dies waiting for a transplant | Luhan Yang

For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to create a process for transplanting animal organs into humans, a theoretical dream that could help the hundreds of thousands of people in need of a lifesaving transplant. But the risks, specifically of transmitting the PERV virus from pigs to humans, have always been too great, stalling research — until now. In a mind-blowing talk, geneticist Luhan Yang explains a breakthrough: using CRISPR, a technique for editing genes, she and her colleagues have created pigs that don’t carry the virus, opening up the possibility of safely growing human-transplantable organs in pigs. Learn more about this cutting-edge science and how it could help solve the organ shortage crisis.

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A new way to think about the transition to motherhood | Alexandra Sacks

When a baby is born, so is a mother — but the natural (and sometimes unsteady) process of transition to motherhood is often silenced by shame or misdiagnosed as postpartum depression. In this quick, informative talk, reproductive psychiatrist Alexandra Sacks breaks down the emotional tug-of-war of becoming a new mother — and shares a term that could help describe it: matrescence.

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How to build synthetic DNA and send it across the internet | Dan Gibson

Biologist Dan Gibson edits and programs DNA, just like coders program a computer. But his “code” creates life, giving scientists the power to convert digital information into biological material like proteins and vaccines. Now he’s on to a new project: “biological transportation,” which holds the promise of beaming new medicines across the globe over the internet. Learn more about how this technology could change the way we respond to disease outbreaks and enable us to download personalized prescriptions in our homes.

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How we study the microbes living in your gut | Dan Knights

There are about a hundred trillion microbes living inside your gut — protecting you from infection, aiding digestion and regulating your immune system. As our bodies have adapted to life in modern society, we’ve started to lose some of our normal microbes; at the same time, diseases linked to a loss of diversity in microbiome are skyrocketing in developed nations. Computational microbiologist Dan Knights shares some intriguing discoveries about the differences in the microbiomes of people in developing countries compared to the US, and how they might affect our health. Learn more about the world of microbes living inside you — and the work being done to create tools to restore and replenish them.

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