Summary of Power Couple: Science and Technology

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At least since the printing press led to the discovery of cells, advances in technology have led to discoveries in biology. This special section of Science magazine describes astounding examples of how science and technology dance together and spur one another on. DNA writing and editing, along with advances in microscopy and increased computing power, have yielded ever more accurate pictures of the molecular landscape inside cells. These articles will engage and inspire scientists and technologists alike.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What CRISPR-Cas is and how it has been used to edit DNA and perform other molecular manipulations in the lab;
  • How the information coding properties of DNA are being used as molecular recording devices;
  • How advances in microscopy and computing have allowed us to see the structure of individual biomolecules; and
  • Why advances in microscopy and computing have allowed scientists to see the interactions between the molecular components of living cells.

About the Authors

Authors include Steve Mao, Valda Vinson, Gavin J. Knott, Jennifer A. Doudna, Fahim Farzadfard, Timothy K. Lu, Yifan Cheng, Yaron M. Sigal, Ruobo Zhou, and Xiaowei Zhuang.



Advances in technology and discoveries in biology spur one another on.

At least since the printing press led to the discovery of cells, advances in technology have led to discoveries in biology. And those discoveries have paved the way for researchers to develop ever more advanced technologies.

The recent spate of disruptive innovations in biotechnology is no different. CRISPR-based methods for the editing, labeling and modifying of genetic material have yielded applications in the lab, the clinic and in agriculture. More and more powerful microscopes are generating images of single biological molecules doing their work in the context of living cells. Science and technology are like debate partners, one sharpening the other so both can achieve higher goals.

CRISPR-Cas systems are used for precision genome engineering (targeted gene editing) and other applications.

[Editor’s note: CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is the microbial world’s answer to adaptive immunity. Bacteria don’t generate antibodies when they are invaded by a pathogen and then hold those antibodies in abeyance in case...

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