A guy named Austin was wandering the halls of MIT's Stata Center this afternoon with a plasma bag. Its contents are a little darker and a little grayer than you'd expect blood to be - maybe the color of well-peppered Bloody Mary mix. It's also a little thinner. "We're having problems with the expression level of the hemoglobin," Austin told me when I poked at the bag. Austin Day is the brains behind the bactoblood project - bacterially produced hemoglobin - brought by the UC Berkeley team. I mentioned this project in a linkurl:previous post,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53825/ and I was excited to see the presentation. The concept is to engineer E coli to produce a red blood cell substitute, and let the bugs loose in the body to create a cheap and universal system for blood transfusions. One hurdle, as one of the presenters explained dryly, is that "injecting E coli into...

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