Bio! News March 2013 – B

Bio! News
March 2013 – B

Brain connection

From Pais-Vieira, et al., (2013).
While their brains were connected through cortical microelectrode arrays, two rats -one of them located in Brazil and the other one in the United States- showed significantly similar behavior when faced to a binary task. The so-called “encoder” rat was first trained to respond to visual and tactile stimuli, whilst the “decoder” rat was trained to properly decode intra-cortical microstimuli (ICMS). Next, a cortical ensemble template for the encoder rat was constructed using data from a number of trials of the task. The decoder rat then received a number of ICMS pulses in proportion to the difference between the template and the firing rate of a sampled neuronal ensemble recorded during a single trial. Each rat was rewarded when they responded correctly to their respective cues and both were rewarded when they both responded correctly.

Models for Metabolic Engineering
New strategies to engineer the metabolism of biological systems can be derived using genome-scale metabolic flux models and computational methods, such as flux balance analysis with flux ratios (FBrAtio). In a recent publication, new strategies to engineer the metabolism of Arabidopsis, yeasts, cyanobacteria, Escherichia coli and Clostridium acetobutylicum are developed using FBrAtio.

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