February 20, 2002   

   DNA map IDs diseases
With the human genome nearly mapped out, researchers will soon be able to compare the map to specific DNA samples to find what else is lurking there. The key is a computer program that subtracts the human DNA from a sample, making the DNA from viruses and other unwanted guests stick out like a sore thumb.
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Real birds change virtual evolution
How blue jays think about lunch directly affects how certain moths look. Thanks to a mix of real and artificial life forms, this long-standing theory has gained some experimental verification.

Material turns infrared to green
Most molecules can handle only one photon at a time. A particular molecule that can absorb three photons at once can also be used as a laser. When a bunch of these molecules are hit with infrared light, they absorb three infrared photons each and release that energy all at once in the form of green light -- a handy trick that may prove useful for communications, data storage and medical imaging.

Nanotube chips draw near
Growing carbon nanotubes where and how you want them on a silicon wafer is a big step toward putting the popular specks of soot to work.

Chip material provides more bang
Mix the right amount of the right substance into silicon and you get computer chips that explode at the touch of a button. In addition to the obvious Mission Impossible-type applications, these puny powder kegs could lead to hand-held chemical analyzers.

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