Dictionary of Biology Terms in Science Fiction
(Technovelgy items at top: skip down to News)


Author (Publication Date)

Genetically Tailored Trees
Trees that had been genetically altered to produce and concentrate usable oil.

Roger Zelazny (1982)
Parent of all hormones, it makes possible the adaptation of the human organism to alien worlds.

Eando Binder (1939)
Alien Life Form
Living organisms of non-Earth origin.

Arthur K. Barnes (1937)
Alien Tarantula
Interesting illustration of an animal with gecko-like manipulative capabilities.

Ken MacLeod (2003)
Alien Zoo
A zoo that brings together plants and animals from many planets.

Frank Herbert (1977)
An organic compound found (or placed) in food that calms and mellows those who partake of it.

Neal Stephenson (2008)
Ampek F-a2 Recording System
A device that incorporated a living protoplasm, used as a recording and playback system.

Philip K. Dick (1964)
A synthetic being having the form of a human being.

Jack Williamson (1936)
Artificial Life
Creating living beings from inorganic elements.

Edmond Hamilton (1926)
Larry Niven (1976)
Biolution - biological manufacturing
The revolution in biological manufacturing techniques.

Paul Black (2003)
Bladder Birds
Alien life well adapted.

Stanley G. and Helen Weinbaum (1936)
A plant engineered to produce a substance that brought out compliant behavior in those who consumed it.

Neal Stephenson (2008)
Bokanovsky's Process
A very early description of cloning.

Aldous Huxley (1932)
The aggregate of individual organisms descended by asexual reproduction from a single sexually produced individual.

Theodore L Thomas (1959)
Cold-Sleep - hibernation between the stars
A form of induced suspended animation, in which a person enters a state like hibernation.

Robert Heinlein (1951)
Composite Living
Forming a meld with other life forms.

Robert Sheckley (1995)
Small, square animals that can combine to create a larger entity.

Edmond Hamilton (1942)
Culture Tank
Germs that eat garbage and produce oil.

Hal Clement (1950)
Cyborg Dolphin (Jones) - war surplus named Jones
A heavily modified war surplus dolphin.

William Gibson (1981)
D-9 Motherspinner - that's a big spider
An enormous genetically engineered spider used to create large structures in space.

John Varley (1998)
A person who learned biofeedback techniques to float on his own endorphins.

David Brin (1990)
Desert Cabbage
A giant plant that regulates its internal temperature even on Mars.

Robert Heinlein (1949)
Designed Bacteria - purposive genetic modification
Very early reference to the idea of bacteria designed to wipe out a particular species, and no others.

Raymond Z. Gallun (1937)
An archaic method of food production.

James Schmitz (1951)
DNA Publishing
Encode a poem or story in DNA, then multiply.

Paul McEuen (2011)
A mass of white, dough-like protoplasm, ranging in size from a single cell to perhaps twenty tons of mushy filth.

Stanley G. Weinbaum (1935)
A device used to artificially stimulate cell growth and development.

A.G. Stangland (1929)
Embryo Visualization
Special display technique lets researchers see cell development in three dimensions.

Joan Slonczewski (1994)
Empath - first use
A being capable of telepathic empathy with others.

J.T. McIntosh (1956)
Cattle and other creatures that create gene-designed biomachinery in their wombs.

David Brin (1990)
Face Dancer
Mimicry enhanced through genetic manipulation.

Frank Herbert (1969)
Feeding Room
An automated child care.

Emile Souvestre (1846)
Flat Cat
A nearly two-dimensional furry little beast.

Robert Heinlein (1952)
Flesh Men
Thinking beings that are not mechanical robots - human beings.

Mari Wolf (1952)
A strange two 'wheeled' animal.

E.E. 'Doc' Smith (1950)
Freedom Machine - nanotech birth control
A birth control device developed using nanotechnology.

Neal Stephenson (1995)
Fuel Tree
Plants raised as fuel.

Neal Stephenson (2008)
A genetically-modified human ideally created for menial work.

Sid Meier (1999)
Genetic Engineering
Direct manipulation of genetic material

Jack Williamson (1951)
Gillfluid - liquid breathing
Breathable fluid that provides oxygen to the lungs, allowing greater pressure on the body.

Iain M Banks (2004)
Gum Tree
A huge tree that lashed out with a mind of its own.

Eric Frank Russell (1943)
Modified humans controlled by cybernetic implants.

Cordwainer Smith (1950)
Happicuppa Coffee Bush - the race to the bottom
A species of coffee bush designed for ease of harvesting.

Margaret Atwood (2003)
Homing Butterflies
Butterflies modified to accompany a purchased bouquet.

Lauren Beukes (2008)
Homo Superior
A human subspecies created through radical applications of biotechnology.

Sid Meier (1999)
Hyper-Developed Mulies
Bioengineered animals that optimally transform vegetable matter into usable mechanical energy.

Paolo Bacigalupi (2005)
A genetic chimera of pig and human.

Alastair Reynolds (2002)
Ideator - gene identification
A computer device specifically made to help model genes and proteins for identification.

Greg Bear (2003)
Life Bank
A storage facility with the genetic material that was produced by Earth's ecosystem.

John Varley (1977)
Life Blanket
Sentient moss which, when draped over the shoulders of a human being, becomes fully self-aware, providing valuable services.

Clifford Simak (1944)
Luggage - sentient container
A trunk made from sapient pearwood.

Terry Pratchett (1983)
Mammontelephas - baby mammoths
A 'mammoth' resurrected from the genes of the original.

David Brin (1990)
Martian Sawgrass - air plant
Specialized variety of plant that is used to provide oxygen for space stations.

George O. Smith (1942)
Meat Puppet
A person with a neural cut out chip; the chip allows computer software to completely control their actions.

William Gibson (1984)
An engineered mastodon, used to convert vegetable matter into energy.

Paolo Bacigalupi (2005)
Microde - get a new look like you get the flu
A tailored virus, that infects the selected person, and passes on whatever characteristics have been implanted in the virus.

Jim Smith (1995)
Takes over the cognition of a host organism.

James Schmitz (1949)
Mining Worm (Organic) - living miners
Genetically altered earthworm created just for mining.

Larry Niven (1968)
Modded Dog
A canine whose ancestors were genetically modified for higher intelligence; the trait breeds true in offspring.

John Brunner (1975)
Alfred Bester (1974)
Municipal Cattle Remover
A device to pick cattle up and place them in a truck for later dispersion in the countryside.

Alan Dean Foster (2006)
A new organism resulting from an alteration in the DNA sequence of its genome or chromosome.

Nat Schachner (1934)
Mutated Kodiak Bears
Animals modified for increased intelligence for defense and companionship.

Murray Leinster (1956)
Neodog - smarter than Fido
Canine-derived animal, genetically engineered for increased intelligence and speech.

Robert Heinlein (1959)
Nexus-7 Android
The next version after the Nexus-6.

Philip K. Dick (1968)
Nikon Eyes - cultivated eyes
Artificially cultivated eyes that can be transplanted to replace (or repair) your original pair.

William Gibson (1984)
Organlegging - first mention of organ smuggling
Technology needed to deal in illicitly obtained body parts.

Larry Niven (1967)
Pigoon - transgenic pig
A transgenic pig, bred to grow replacement organs for humans.

Margaret Atwood (2003)
Placental Decanters
Perfect human bodies with control implants for remote use.

James Tiptree, Jr. (1974)
Plastic-Eating Bacteria - that's the good news
Mutated bacteria able to 'eat' or dissolve rubber and plastic.

Michael Crichton (1969)
Precog - see the future
A person with precognitive ability (can predict the future).

Philip K. Dick (1956)
Precog (v) - I see you
To see the future.

H. Beam Piper (1948)
Preserving Machine
A device that would create a unique animal from a piece of classical music.

Philip K. Dick (1953)
Prethink - seeing the future
The ability to predict the future in a routine perceptual manner.

Philip K. Dick (1954)
Procreative Stump
A woman's torso, kept alive for the purpose of using the womb as an incubator.

Frank Herbert (1972)
Red Weed (Terraforming Plant)
A plant brought by the Martians that grew on Earth.

H.G. Wells (1898)
Rocket Pine
Genetically engineered trees for wood pulp.

Alan Dean Foster (2010)
Sandtrout Glove
A living glove, formed of live creatures.

Frank Herbert (1976)
Science Chair
Grown from your DNA for extra comfort.

Nick Harkaway (2023)
Scooter - zipping around the moon
Biotechnology working to bring you a better solar system - a creepy crawly created to do terraforming work on Jupiter's moon.

Gregory Benford (1983)
Sculpted Teeth
Go beyond teeth whitening to shaped teeth - for a more modern smile.

William Gibson (1988)
Sentry Trees
A set of trees that will allow only those with the safe signal to pass.

Jack Vance (1954)
Bioengineered creatures, able to change shape, created for labor.

H.P. Lovecraft (1936)
Slaver Sunflowers
Plants evolved to reflect light to burn natural enemies.

Larry Niven (1965)
Sleep Pod
A special place for snoozing.

Chris Boyce (1967)
Sonic Curtain (Sound Lock) - undersea door
An undersea sound curtain that keeps larger animals out.

Roger Zelazny (1976)
The odor created in enclosed space environments due to the need for bacilli for healthy soil.

Bruce Sterling (1985)
Spacehound (Beast)
Oddly canine, telepathic beast digs in asteroids for metal.

F.E. Hardart (1941)
Specimen Track
A means for transporting laboratory specimens from one workstation to another in an automated lab.

Greg Bear (2003)
Sterile Seeds
Seeds that are bioengineered to grow, but not to produce fertile seeds.

Paolo Bacigalupi (2005)
Swibble - mind control machine
An artificially evolved telepathic metazoan-based mind control device.

Philip K. Dick (1955)
A symbiont life form that provides its human with life-giving energy.

John Varley (1977)
Synthetic Babies
A means of gestating eggs to term is found.

David H. Keller (1928)
Synthetic Life
Living animals made from scratch using inorganic elements.

Charles Cloukey (1930)
Deliberate manipulation of genes to produce unique species.

Norman L. Knight (1940)
An animal modified to be human in shape and intellect.

Cordwainer Smith (1950)
Universal Sterilization Law
All young people were sterilized, and replacement people were generated artificially.

David H. Keller (1928)
Week Trees - quick bonsai
Specially engineered bonsai that could grow in a week, instead of decades.

Rudy Rucker (1988)
Wimp - body without a mind
A special-purpose body; grown without personality, but physically intact.

John Varley (1983)

Related Science Fiction in the News

Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.' - Larry Niven, 1965.
(re: Larry Niven, 1/24/2024 )
Machete-Wielding Philodendron Isn't Going To Take It Anymore
'The tree ended its wild larruping, stood like a dreaming giant liable to wake into frenzy at any moment.' - Eric Frank Russell, 1943.
(re: Eric Frank Russell, 7/25/2023 )
Tsunami Forecasts Improved By Ionosphere Signals
'Swifter than any tide could ebb, the water was receding from the shore.'
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 12/5/2022 )
EctoLife Concept Video Artificial Womb For Baby Mass Production
'A great many of these synthetic babies were made and allowed to grow up under ideal conditions...' - Dr. David H. Keller, 1928.
(re: Dr. David H. Keller, 12/1/2022 )
T. Gondii And The Leaders Of The Pack
'... infected males were more than 46 times more likely to become pack leaders than uninfected males.'
(re: Larry Niven, 11/15/2022 )
Alien Eyes - Here On Earth!
'...a picture of a cyclopean beast living among the asteroidal rubble of some distant sun.' - Arthur C. Clarke
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 9/25/2022 )
Baubotanik - Construction Botany - Builds Bridges
'A dwelling must be all of a unit—the walls, the drainage, the decor grown in!' - Jack Vance, 1954.
(re: Jack Vance, 5/19/2021 )
Mice Gestate In Mechanical Womb
'... in the Decanting Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror and amazement.' - Aldous Huxley, 1932.
(re: Aldous Huxley, 3/7/2021 )
Worlds With Underground Oceans More Conducive To Life
'There is life on Europa.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 3/3/2021 )
Monkey Gets A Bigger Brain, Thanks To Human Gene
'It's a madhouse! a madhouse!' - Planet of the Apes, 1968.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 11/5/2020 )
Mushroom Coffin Returns You To Nature, Naturally
'She touched the leaf. She was wanted.' - Philip K Dick, 1954.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 9/13/2020 )
Mechanical Milking Of Microalgae For Fuel Production
'They call 'em culture tanks. They have bugs -- germs -- growing in them.' - Hal Clement, 1950.
(re: Hal Clement, 7/9/2020 )
Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...' - Aldous Huxley, 1932.
(re: Aldous Huxley, 4/27/2020 )
Bring Back Extinct Animals! Sort of.
'The worldwide network of genetic arks had a surfeit of pachyderms...' - David Brin, 1990
(re: David Brin, 4/3/2020 )
Another Soil Bacterium Eats Plastic
'...the plastic was dissolved before his eyes.' - Michael Crichton, 1969.
(re: Michael Crichton, 3/17/2020 )
Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!
(re: Michael Crichton, 7/5/2019 )
Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1982.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 6/3/2019 )
Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.' - Gregory Benford, 1983.
(re: Gregory Benford, 5/27/2019 )
New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 4/17/2019 )
DNA May Contain Malware
'You were told to embed the logical pathogen.' - A. Reynolds and S. Baxter, 2016.
(re: Alastair Reynolds (w/S. Baxter), 1/27/2019 )
GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.
(re: Gregory Benford, 12/15/2018 )
Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.' - Hal Clement, 1950.
(re: Hal Clement, 10/20/2018 )
Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 4/24/2018 )
Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.
(re: Andrew Niccol, 4/18/2018 )
Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.
(re: Irwin Allen, 4/12/2018 )
Researchers Create Bowls, Coils, Ripples Of Living Tissue
'... biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 4/9/2018 )
Svalbard Seed Vault (aka Doomsday Vault) Gets Upgrades
'But they existed in the Life Bank, as did virtually every plant and animal that existed on Old Earth.' - John Varley, 1977.
(re: John Varley, 2/14/2018 )
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?' - Niven, Pournelle, Flynn, 1995.
(re: Niven, Pournelle, Flynn, 11/16/2017 )
Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' -
(re: Barbara Hambly, 8/3/2017 )
Worms Eat Plastic Now
'Slowly and inexorably, the rate of dissolution increased...' - Davis/Pedlar, 1971.
(re: Michael Crichton, 5/20/2017 )
Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.' - Peter Watts, 1999.
(re: Peter Watts, 4/19/2017 )
NASA's Prototype Lunar Greenhouse For Mars And Moon
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 4/12/2017 )
Researchers Say 'Biohybrid Robot' - Clarke Said 'Biot'
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 1/24/2017 )
Unique DNA To Foil Parts Counterfeiters
'... the only molecule, a unique protein amino acid, which could not be duplicated.' - Philip K. Dick, 1965.
(re: Philip K. DIck, 11/21/2016 )
Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.
(re: Thomas A. Easton, 6/26/2016 )
Real Leather Without Cows Modern Meadow Biofabrication
'Plastissue, as any fool can see...' - WF Wallace, 1952,
(re: , 6/15/2016 )
Epigenetic Memory's On/Off Switch Found
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' - Barbara Hambly, 1982.
(re: Barbara Hambly, 3/29/2016 )
Rabbit's Brain Cryogenically Frozen Successfully
'Even in the case of the most perfect freezing there is still some activity...' - Edward Page Mitchell, 1879.
(re: Edward Page Mitchell, 2/11/2016 )
Denisovans, Neandertals... And Us?
'But in far realms, among strange hominids, you couldn't shun each other, either.' - Larry Niven, 1996.
(re: Larry Niven, 2/4/2016 )
Gene-Edited Muscle Dogs From China
'Its skull was improbably high-domed and its eyes, deep-set, were disturbingly uncanine.' - John Brunner, 1975.
(re: John Brunner, 10/15/2015 )
Korean Lab Ready To Clone Your Dog
Man's best friend. Man's best friend. Man's best friend.
(re: Various, 9/12/2015 )
Synthetic Coral To Clean The Seas?
'Numberless capillaries arranged in a belt around the smart coral reef...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 7/23/2015 )
'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1938.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 2/17/2015 )
Sea Slug Feeds On Sunlight With Genes From Its Food
'You've surely noticed the green skin tone of your new body.'- John Scalzi, 2005.
(re: John Scalzi, 2/8/2015 )
Forget Longevity, How About Super-Intelligence?
'It was clearly domelike and oddly fragile-looking...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 2/6/2015 )
The Bioengineered Uterus
For women unable to conceive and carry a fetus to term, is this an answer?
(re: Aldous Huxley, 1/6/2015 )
Cambrian Genetics Says 'Print Your Own Genetically Unique Creature'
'The study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as Nature.'- HG Wells, 1896.
(re: HG Wells, 1/4/2015 )
Mind Control Of Gene Expression In Mice
'We used your thought images almost entirely...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 11/10/2014 )
No Cages In Future Zoos Is Zootopia?
'The park... twisted through specimens from every inhabited planet of the known universe.'
(re: Frank Herbert, 8/8/2014 )
Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'- Frederic Brown, 1945.
(re: Frederic Brown, 7/13/2014 )
Roboroach Now Shipping!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'- Thomas Easton, 1990.
(re: Thomas A. Easton, 2/6/2014 )
Engineered Bacteria Produces Gasoline
'They call 'em culture tanks... [they] produce oil as a waste product.'- Hal Clement, 1950.
(re: Hal Clement, 9/28/2013 )
Did Humans Result from Pig-Chimp Hybridization?
Is it possible that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between swine and chimpanzees?
(re: Alan E. Nourse, 7/10/2013 )
Roboroach Control? There's An App For That
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'- Thomas Easton, 1990.
(re: Thomas A. Easton, 6/11/2013 )
Squid Vs. Whale Diorama Liked By Humans, Aliens
'Everything was ready, awaiting the Overlords' pleasure...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 6/7/2013 )
Bacteria Now Make Biofuel Like Oil
'They have ... germs that eat pretty near anything, and produce oil as a waste product.'- Hal Clement, 1950.
(re: Hal Clement, 4/25/2013 )
Youthful Brain With A Flip Of A Molecular Switch
I need all the brain plasticity I can get.
(re: Jeffrey D. Kooistra, 3/27/2013 )
Human 'Quadruple Helix' DNA
'Their genetic structure, based on the quadruple sterated octohelix...'- Douglas Adams, 1978.
(re: Douglas Adams, 1/20/2013 )
The Plastic Eaters - Amazon Fungus Lives On Plastic
'the smell of the rotting plastic began to hang permanently in the air...'- Davis/Pedlar, 1971
(re: Michael Crichton, 10/23/2012 )
The Most Complex Synthetic Biology Circuit
'The earliest biologic strings had been inserted into E. coli bacteria as circular plasmids...'- Greg Bear, 1984.
(re: Greg Bear, 10/8/2012 )
Roboroach Slalom Steering Video
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'- Thomas A. Easton, 1990.
(re: Thomas A. Easton, 10/3/2012 )
Project Shellter 3D Prints Homes For Crabs
Amazing story of humans helping homeless sea creatures.
(re: Vernor Vinge, 2/28/2012 )
Chinese Boy Sees In The Dark
Can he really see in the dark? It's a good story, regardless.
(re: Jim and Ken Wheat, 2/16/2012 )
Cyborg Rats Have Digital Brain Parts
Someday, we'll have reprogrammable brain parts, which will come in handy.
(re: William Gibson, 1/24/2012 )
Slime Is Smarter Than You Think
Researchers are looking for Lord Running Clam.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 1/15/2012 )
Wireless Mind Control Possible?
Where will remote mind control lead us?
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 1/3/2012 )
Hatch A Dinosaur From Birds Using Genetic 'Memory'
Sounds odd, but there is some good science here.
(re: Michael Crichton, 12/30/2011 )
Bios Urn Turns Your Ashes Into A Tree
You can live on, in an environmentally proper way.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 12/19/2011 )
PKR-Inhibiting Drugs May Boost Memory
New research may lead to better long-term memories.
(re: Paul di Filippo, 12/18/2011 )
Could An Artificial Virus Infect The Human Mind?
Does artificial biology go to far?
(re: Various, 12/14/2011 )
Tasty In Vitro Meat Eaten On Stage!
Fried in a pan, no less.
(re: Pohl and Kornbluth, 12/12/2011 )
Are We As Smart As We Can Get?
Can cognition be improved for humans - can we get smarter?
(re: Philip K. Dick, 12/8/2011 )
Woolly Mammoths To Be Created For 'Pleistocene Park'?
Will mammoths thunder down the plains, as they once did?
(re: David Brin, 12/3/2011 )
New Transistor Interfaces Directly With Biological Functions
Talk directly to the malfunctioning processes in your body. Someday is getting sooner.
(re: Various, 10/19/2011 )
Use Steganography by Printed Arrays of Microbes For Secret Messages!
Secret writing always fascinated me; modern biology offers improvements.
(re: Paul McEuen, 10/15/2011 )
Automated Biology Explorer (ABE), Robot Scientist
Remarkable strides taken in the autonomous exploration of nature.
(re: John M. Faucette, 10/14/2011 )
Living Bridges Grown From Trees
Some are one hundred feet in length, and support up to fifty people at a time.
(re: Jack Vance, 9/22/2011 )
Implanted Glucose Sensor Glows Thru Skin
This approach may facilitate development of long-term, fluorescent, implanted continuous glucose sensors.
(re: William Gibson, 8/29/2011 )
Mushroom Death Suit Consumes You
A flesh-eating Infinity Mushroom-based item of apparel.
(re: Edwin K. Sloat, 7/28/2011 )
Evolution Machine Compresses Eons Into Days
This device, which uses a technology called MAGE, dramatically increases the probability of finding useful variations on natural organisms.
(re: Edmond Hamilton, 7/3/2011 )
Genetically Engineered Cell Is A Living Laser
This cell can emit tiny short pulses of laser light.
(re: David Brin, 6/14/2011 )
Grow An Eyeball In A Dish?
Maybe cells know more than we think.
(re: Ridley Scott, 4/13/2011 )
Bulletproof Human Skin
This unique art project might actually work.
(re: Various, 3/28/2011 )
Artificial Muscles Power A Motor
I'm pretty sure I read about this idea in the Sixties.
(re: Martin Caidin, 3/24/2011 )
Reprogrammed Microbe Makes Butanol From Cellulose
Clostridium cellulolyticum likes chewing on biomass but does not normally make butanol. Now it does!
(re: Hal Clement, 3/21/2011 )
This Species Has Seven Sexes
Its seven sexes are rather prosaically named I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII.
(re: William Tenn, 3/16/2011 )
Real-Life Fantastic Voyage
Remarkable research and development efforts let us see inside the living cell better than ever before.
(re: Isaac Asimov, 3/11/2011 )
Cloned Pets For $150,000
If you had the chance, would you bring your pet back from the dead?
(re: Aldous Huxley, 3/5/2011 )
Mammoths In Five Years?
The plan to create living mammoths using mammoth DNA is apparently back on track.
(re: John Varley, 1/16/2011 )
Earthworms Absorb Copper Nanomaterials From Soil
Update! on copper nanoparticle toxicity study. Engineered nanomaterials can be taken up from the environment and moved up the food chain.
(re: Larry Niven, 12/17/2010 )
New Building Block For Alien Life Discovered
Amazing discovery appears to show that we must add at least one element to our list of possible building blocks of life.
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 12/3/2010 )
Gold Nanoparticles To Make Trees Into Street Lights?
What would a forest of luminous trees look like?
(re: Jack Vance, 11/11/2010 )
Earth's Alien Life Forms In Avatar
Sometimes sf writers draw inspiration from the alien life forms present right here on our own planet.
(re: James Cameron, 10/7/2010 )
Deleting Gene Makes Mice Smarter
'I dint know mice were so smart.' Charley Gordon, in Flowers For Algernon.
(re: Daniel Keyes, 9/23/2010 )
Neurochip A Living Brain On A Silicon Chip
'The Ganymedean life form ... had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system.'- Philip K. Dick
(re: Philip K. Dick, 8/10/2010 )
Ocean Bacteria Bond Avatar-Style With Electrical Symbiosis
Research suggests that ocean bacteria are able to use 'microbial nanowires' to communicate with each other, in a manner similar to that of the creatures of Avatar.
(re: James Cameron, 2/24/2010 )
Laser-Based Mosquito Killer Demonstrated
First public demonstration of a 'bee-zapper' ala David Brin at TED conference.
(re: David Brin, 2/13/2010 )
Slime Mold Network Engineering
It turns out that the yellow slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a very clever little engineer. Greg Bear, are you listening?
(re: Greg Bear, 1/25/2010 )
Kava 'Anti-Energy' Drinks
Tired of those frenetic energy drink ads? Why not relax?
(re: Neal Stephenson, 1/20/2010 )
Sea Slug Performs Photosynthesis
This amazing little slug can convert sunlight into energy all on its own.
(re: John Scalzi, 1/13/2010 )
Viruses Inserted 8% Of Human Genome
Just how human are we? Fascinating study gives you something to enter into your calculations.
(re: Various, 1/7/2010 )
Paralysis Ray Uses Photocontrolled Molecular Switch
On the seventieth anniversary of the phrase 'paralysis ray' appearing in Thrilling Wonder Stories, we are now getting closer to these elusive rays.
(re: Arthur K. Barnes, 11/19/2009 )
FOXP2 Tweak Yields Planet Of The Apes?
The expression of this gene may explain much of the difference between man and chimp when it comes to speech.
(re: Various, 11/14/2009 )
Smarter Rats Via Transgenic Over-Expression Of NR2B Gene
Forget the better mousetrap; how about a smarter rat instead!
(re: Daniel Keyes, 11/10/2009 )
Red Sydney
Photos of the red planet - taken here on Earth. The Marsaforming of Oz.
(re: Various, 9/26/2009 )
Remote-Controlled Cyborg Beetle Video
Video of radio-controlled cyborg beetle shows that this technology is starting to work. Also, nice quote from new John Twelve Hawks book shows how these cyborgs will be used in the near future.
(re: Thomas A. Easton, 9/26/2009 )
Raptorex 'Tiny-Rex' Evokes Lizard Man Fantasies
Have you ever lamented the fact that dinosaurs, while interesting and varied, were mostly too large to seriously fit into the cockpits of fighter planes and star ships? No longer.
(re: Various, 9/22/2009 )
Acoustic Tweezers Create Living Cell Grid
New technology makes it possible to arrange a regular matrix of tiny objects - even living cells - in just seconds.
(re: Various, 9/1/2009 )
Bioengineered Mouse Tooth Bud Successfully Implanted
As far as I know, this is the first successful creation and implantation of a tooth bud 'from scratch' that grows to full size and full tooth functionality.
(re: William Gibson, 8/7/2009 )
Bears Beat BearVault, Haven't Discovered Fire - Yet
Watch out for those shy, middle-aged bears; they're the smart ones.
(re: Terry Bisson, 7/25/2009 )
Hero Dog From 9/11 Cloned 5X
Although not all the clones are exact duplicates, it's a remarkable process.
(re: Various, 6/28/2009 )
Bowlingual Translates Canine Speech
Just in time to be tied into a major motion picture, this upgrade to a classic device now lets your dog speak at last.
(re: Murray Leinster, 6/23/2009 )
Cyborg Insect Comm System Planned By DARPA
Ever listened to the calls of insects in the evening, or in a meadow on a summer day? They might be talking in a special language devised by DARPA. About you.
(re: Various, 6/19/2009 )
Pooktre Living Garden Chair
Why not just grow your furniture? Forget all that tedious sawing and polishing.
(re: Jack Vance, 6/17/2009 )
U.S. Winds Slowing Down?
Sometimes, there's an interesting story in science fiction authors predicting a future - with the opposite result.
(re: J.G. Ballard, 6/17/2009 )
Mice Now With Human Language Gene
Sfnal or Disneyesque?
(re: Various, 5/31/2009 )
Bacteria Helpless Slaves To Nanobot Master
Watch the video and see swarms of bacteria maneuver a nanobot in a dish; a trick someday to be performed in your own blood stream.
(re: Various, 5/19/2009 )
Lunar Oasis Greenhouse 2012
That plant will need a space suit to survive on the surface of the moon. And that's what the Lunar Oasis is. With video.
(re: Raymond Z. Gallun, 4/29/2009 )
Automated Mammalian Training Devices
There must be a better way to train animals to do our bidding, reasons DARPA.
(re: Frederik Pohl, 4/24/2009 )
Bacteria Talk To Each Other On Bassler Video
Exceptional talk by molecular biologist Bonnie Bassler details the latest research and thinking about how bacteria work together to help us and harm us.
(re: Greg Bear, 4/18/2009 )
Giant Sand Worms Once Roamed The Earth
Bless the Maker! Distant ancestors of Shai-hulud once roamed our own Earth. May His passage cleanse the world. Dune fans around the world tremble in fear.
(re: Frank Herbert, 3/16/2009 )
Pharm Animals - Engineered Goat Makes Drugs In Milk
Amazing genetically engineered goats are the USDA's first approved 'pharm animals' - or fabricows.
(re: David Brin, 2/10/2009 )
Doll Fabbed From Living Cells
Research brings the fabrication of structures like human organs closer, not to mention android 'blanks.'
(re: Gene Roddenberry, 1/23/2009 )
'Volume Control' Ear Protein Uncovered
Research shows at least part of the mechanism for our ability to protect our ears against extremely loud noises.
(re: Larry Niven, 1/22/2009 )
Biohackers - Genetic Engineering Home Hobbyists
Hobbyists have made important contributions to many fields. Why not genetic engineering?
(re: Frank Herbert, 12/26/2008 )
Carp Barrier Finished For Years, Never Activated
The barrier is ready to repel invaders! But a squabble between agencies will apparently result in a carp invasion AND the waste of $ millions.
(re: Roger Zelazny, 12/18/2008 )
Spy Moth Cyborg On/Off Switch Perfected
Another piece of the fully-controllable insect cyborg spy is now in place.
(re: Thomas A. Easton, 12/10/2008 )
Living Floor Like Heinlein's Grass Carpet
Jeri has found the secret to true relaxation - a living green carpet. Walk on living things? It is a goodness.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 12/6/2008 )
Nearly Immortal Hydrozoan Colonizes Oceans
No one noticed that these creatures have spread around the world. Oh, and they can live practically forever.
(re: Various, 12/5/2008 )
Mouse Cloned From 16-year Frozen Tissue
Remarkable feat by Japanese researchers shows that even damaged frozen tissue can yield viable DNA for cloning.
(re: Michael Crichton, 11/5/2008 )
Labyrinth Aquarium Has Swimming Tubes
A Habitrail for your fishy friends, it's all the rage among the Gowachin.
(re: Frank Herbert, 10/29/2008 )
Logic Gates Built Inside Living Cells
Remarkable development allows logic gates to be placed inside living cells.
(re: Greg Bear, 10/19/2008 )
Digital Zebrafish Embryo 3D Development
Interesting new technique provides remarkable details in the first 24 hours of life - from 1 to 20,000 cells.
(re: Joan Slonczewski, 10/16/2008 )
Fungus Accelerates Spores At 180K g (Video)
Fascinating video shows how tiny living creatures can fire objects at incredible accelerations.
(re: Gary Shockley, 10/7/2008 )
Evolved Earthworms To Clean Up Toxic Metals
Hardy super worms may provide a way to clean up contaminated soil.
(re: Larry Niven, 9/16/2008 )
Self-Propelled Underwater Fish Cages
Prototype testing by an MIT researcher is making me think of vast underwater fish farms under remote control.
(re: Hugo Gernsback, 9/11/2008 )
This Alien Earth
Where do you think the most alien environment on Earth can be found?
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 9/7/2008 )
Deep Sea Mining Tube Worms
I think Larry Niven nailed this one forty years ago; the idea of a mining worm is even older.
(re: Larry Niven, 8/29/2008 )
Rat Brain Robot Uses Cultured Rat Neurons
Another successful implementation of Peter Watts' head cheese idea; amazingly, they have distinct personalities. With video.
(re: Peter Watts, 8/15/2008 )
Human-Pig Hybrids Approved In UK
The correspondence between this research and Reynold's book is a bit ominous; even the timing is right. I'm sure the proper safeguards will be taken.
(re: Alastair Reynolds, 7/3/2008 )
Foldit - Design Proteins With Online Game
Amazing game lets online gamers participate in evolution; can you design a better protein? With video.
(re: Various, 6/18/2008 )
Sealed Goldfish Chain Would Disturb Titan Colonists
This unique novelty item from China has a terrible secret.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 6/13/2008 )
Bacteria Eats Plastic; What Could Go Wrong?
Clever teen has a great idea - maybe somewhere in nature, the plastic bag problem has already been solved.
(re: Michael Crichton, 6/11/2008 )
BokitoViewers Prevent Direct Eye Contact
This handy conflict-resolution system would almost certainly be helpful in a variety of situations.
(re: Various, 6/3/2008 )
We All See The Future Like Dick's 'Prethink'
Mind-blowing idea about human cognition makes Philip K. Dick's prethink more thinkable.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 5/22/2008 )
Extinct Tasmanian Tiger DNA Recovered
DNA from an extinct species has been successfully recovered, granting some hope that one day it may be possible to recover extinct animal species.
(re: Michael Crichton, 5/20/2008 )
Smart Buoys Say 'Slow Down, Whale Crossing'
Fascinating example of interspecies communication and cooperation. Right here on Earth.
(re: Various, 4/29/2008 )
Korean Cloned Drug-Sniffing Dogs
All seven of these 'RePet' dogs have the same name to make things a bit easier for the humans. Too bad they can't do syncording yet.
(re: Wibberly, 4/27/2008 )
'Evolution Chip' Automates Evolved Change
The so-called 'Darwin chip' demonstrates the factual basis of evolution and may help us solve problems.
(re: Theodore Sturgeon, 4/17/2008 )
Degu Rodents Now Use Tools Like Little Fuzzy
Diligent scientists continue in their efforts to bring civilization to the lower orders; I've added two great examples.
(re: H. Beam Piper, 3/27/2008 )
Rapid Watch Robot Submarine Armada To Protect Gulf Stream
These 'gliders' need to come to the surface now and then; maybe we could put narwhal-like horns on them and defend the homeland.
(re: Various, 1/22/2008 )
Giant Spider Attacks Space Shuttle, Defeated By Air Force
Here's the ending to this story that you didn't see on the news.
(re: Various, 12/12/2007 )
Bacterial Art - Culture In A Dish
It shouldn't surprise us that bacteria can create beautiful patterns while solving problems (just like we sometimes do), but these pictures still surprised me.
(re: Greg Bear, 12/9/2007 )
Huge Crustacean From 400 Million B.C.
Scientists are staggered by the size of this behemoth from 400 million B.C.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 11/21/2007 )
Mighty Mice Now With PEPCK-Cmus!
These remarkable transgenic mice can run kilometers without stopping.
(re: Various, 11/2/2007 )
Tadpoles Grow Extra Eye On Command
Tadpoles grow a third eye wherever scientists command; spare human eyes (or eye parts) may not be too far away.
(re: Ridley Scott, 10/25/2007 )
Inscentinel Honeybees Sniff For Explosives
This special detector actually contains living honeybees trained to sense explosive compounds.
(re: Various, 9/17/2007 )
Moray Eels Have Second Jaws Aliens-Style
Okay, is this life imitates art or hideous natural evolution beats out Hollywood imagination - again?
(re: Ridley Scott, 9/6/2007 )
Piranha Movie Now At Stream Near You
This is one sf movie that I don't want to see become a real-life story.
(re: Roger Corman, 7/5/2007 )
Bacteria Torture Tests Demonstrate Evolution
Dr. Richard Lenski has followed in the footsteps of famous sf writers, creating captive worlds and learning from them.
(re: Theodore Sturgeon, 6/26/2007 )
Dutch Growing Pork In Lab
Researchers at it again, in search of pulled pork not pulled from porkers.
(re: H. Beam Piper, 6/3/2007 )
Neuron Network Cyborg Has Memory
Is this cyborg-like combination of neurons and silicon a new proof of this kind of memory system?
(re: Peter Watts, 5/30/2007 )
Mice Get Smarter By Losing Cdk5 Enzyme
Those mice keep getting smarter - when will these different techniques become available to bloggers?
(re: Various, 5/29/2007 )
Cheap Pocket-Sized DNA Replicator
This tiny, inexpensive device could revolutionize the practice of medicine in developing countries.
(re: Various, 5/22/2007 )
Bacteria Attacks Oil Like Black Monday Novel
New finding increases realism in a new sf/thriller novel by R. Scott Weiss.
(re: R. Scott Weiss, 5/10/2007 )
Bacteria Save Your Data, Make Multiple Backups
Remarkable feat by researchers makes those so-called thumbdrives look monster-sized by comparison.
(re: Barbara Hambly, 3/1/2007 )
Parasitic Worms Create 'Zombie' Snails
I thought Toxoplasma gondii was bad, but these poor snails really get a raw deal.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 1/8/2007 )
Transgenic Pigs Glow Green
Diligent Chinese researchers with one eye on the calendar create three little piggies with a green glow.
(re: Margaret Atwood, 12/31/2006 )
Chick Embryo Regrows Wing With Wnt Signaling
Remarkable achievement from the Salk Institute; eleven years of work have paid off.
(re: Frank Herbert, 11/18/2006 )
First Motor Powered By Living Bacteria
Amazing new motor powered by hard-working bacteria.
(re: Various, 10/13/2006 )
Terranaut - Fish Explore Land With Robotic Vehicle
Ah, nothing like going for your first drive. Especially when you're a fish. On land.
(re: Vernor Vinge, 9/16/2006 )
Silicon-Based Lifeforms: Hortas In The Deeps
A prominent iconoclastic scientist argues that silicon-based life may exist.
(re: Gene L. Coon, 9/8/2006 )
TM9 Turf Mat Grass Roof (And Living Room Carpet?)
I think Vonnegut's (and Heinlein's) grass carpets are now just about ready - in easy-to-use carpet tile form.
(re: Kurt Vonnegut, 8/26/2006 )
Robotany Bonzai Robot
Bizarre ambient robot sculpture using shape memory alloy wire.
(re: , 7/13/2006 )
Tsunami Warning System Working In Asia
Humans depended mostly on aliens for help in Clarke's 1953 novel Childhood's End. Other alternatives are now available around the world.
(re: Arthur C. Clarke, 7/2/2006 )
Multi-Hop RFID Tags Track Monkeys
Maurading monkeys vandalizing mountain farms? Who can you call?
(re: Various, 6/27/2006 )
Fungus Devours CDs
You thought you had enough to worry about - now there's a fungus that consumes CDs, metal and all.
(re: Various, 6/22/2006 )
Hybrid Insect MEMS Sought By DARPA For Bug Army
DARPA rejects previous efforts and exhorts scientists to really think different in it's insect cyborg army idea.
(re: Various, 3/15/2006 )
E.T. Mouse Hearts Glow
Amazing fluorescing mouse embryo hearts fill researcher hearts with that special glow. E.T. too.
(re: Steven Spielberg, 3/10/2006 )
Shark Cyborgs On DARPA Remote control
In those Jaws movies, the shark seemed like it was out to get you. DARPA makes this dream come true.
(re: William Gibson, 3/5/2006 )
Honey Bees Can Recognize You!
Will trained honey bees be the next thing in face recognition and security technology?
(re: Frank Herbert, 12/21/2005 )
Implanted Biothermal RFID Chips May Warn Of Avian Flu
Digital Angel, which makes VeriChips for humans, suggests using its thermal biosensing chips to check chickens for avian flu.
(re: William Gibson, 12/6/2005 )
Earth Skunk Cabbage And Martian Desert Cabbage
Heinlein also wrote about cabbages that could regulate their internal temperature.
(re: Robert Heinlein, 11/9/2005 )
Vast Ocean Glow Confirms Jules Verne Novel
A luminescent area the size of the state of Connecticut was seen by satellite this past week - just like in 20K Leagues Under the Sea.
(re: Jules Verne, 10/8/2005 )
Spider Blood In Amber Brings Jurassic Park Closer
Is it possible to get DNA from the blood of this ancient spider.
(re: David Brin, 10/8/2005 )
Fab Tree Hab And The Houses Of Iszm
Imagine a society in which living tree structures were used instead of dead lumber; Jack Vance has done it, and so have MIT grads.
(re: Jack Vance, 9/18/2005 )
Jack Into A Cat's Brain
In this study, Garett B. Stanley, Fei F. Li and Yang Dan have literally jacked into the mind of a cat.
(re: William Gibson, 7/6/2005 )
'Pleistocene Park' For Woolly Mammoths?
Scientists with the Mammoth Creation Project hope to find a frozen woolly mammoth specimen with sperm DNA. The sperm DNA would then be injected into a female elephant; by repeating the procedure with offspring, a creature 88% mammoth could be produce
(re: David Brin, 4/11/2005 )
Tumblin' Tumbleweeds Lend Hand In Depleted Uranium Roundup
An early study indicates that the humble tumbleweed (the Russian thistle) may be able to help humans round up depleted uranium from contaminated soil
(re: Gregory Benford, 11/10/2004 )
Marine Worm Has Insectile And Vertebrate 'Eyes' (Update)
It turns out that Nature is both creative and generous with her gifts. Recent research has shown that the tiny marine worm Platynereis dumerilii has two types of light-sensing cells.
(re: Various, 11/3/2004 )
Invisible Animals (If Not Men)
The New York Times ran an interesting article this past week on how animals achieve invisibility in the ocean. Transparency can be achieved in different ways.
(re: H.G. Wells, 7/27/2004 )
Tooth Bud From Stem Cells Looms Large
Implanted tooth buds created from stem cells may replace false teeth. This procedure has been shown to work in mice, and may work in humans as well.
(re: William Gibson, 5/6/2004 )
Cloned Cats Have 9+n Lives
Genetic Savings and Clone can fix you up with a clone of your cat for just $50,000. Better hurry; work starts in May
(re: Frank Herbert, 5/5/2004 )
Escapin: Anti-Bacterial Sea Slug Protein Prevents Biofilm Build-Up
Escapin, an anti-bacterial protein found in the ink of sea slugs, could help marine equipment stay clean enough for golden age science fiction.
(re: Bruce Sterling, 5/2/2004 )
Yoda - The World's Oldest Mouse Update
Yoda, the world's oldest mouse, lives at the UM Medical School. Not the best place for a mouse to attain longevity - but Yoda was born into a geriatrics lab.
(re: Larry Niven, 4/23/2004 )
GloFish First Genetically Modified Pet Update
The first genetically modified pet to go on sale in the US is available now, in time for Christmas. The GloFish fluoresces bright red.
(re: Frank Herbert, 4/3/2004 )
E. Coli Forced To Evolve: Old Bacterium Learns New Trick
The general method was remarkably similar to a technique used by award-winning sf author Theodore Sturgeon in his classic 1941 story Microcosmic God.
(re: Theodore Sturgeon, 3/17/2004 )
Gene Expression of Microbes Changes in Low Gravity Bioreactor
The tiniest astronaut? Easy - the trillions of bacteria that accompany every manned space flight. With talk of moon bases and extended space travel back in the news, NASA again focuses on the question of how microorganisms behave in space.
(re: Bruce Sterling, 3/1/2004 )
Humans Teach Bacteria New Language
A group of scientists lead by Professor James C. Liao are engineering an artificial cell-to-cell communication network by teaching bacteria to communicate with each other and to work together in a whole new way.
(re: Greg Bear, 2/13/2004 )






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