The molecular structure of an enzyme produced by engineered bacteria.Image: Caltech / Frances Arnold Laboratory

Bacteria have been engineered to create molecules out of boron and carbon that wouldn't otherwise exist in nature, writes Sam Lemonick for Forbes. The research, described Wednesday in the journal Nature, was conducted by Frances Arnold and her colleagues at Caltech.

Why it matters: Some molecules aren't naturally produced by living creatures and can be costly and difficult to produce in the lab via chemical reactions. Certain cancer drugs require specific boron-carbon bonds, writes Lemonick, and researchers report this process seems 400 times more efficient at creating those bonds than other methods to synthesize them.

The sci-fi stuff: In the future, we might be engineering bacteria that can create a molecule in response to a cue from their environment. For example, it could be possible to make ones that respond to low blood sugar by creating insulin.

Go deeper: We're just starting to explore the potential of synthetic biology. Among other things, scientists have:

Go deeper

Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.