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CRISPR Gene Editing Used To Build a Better Forest Tree for Sustainable Fiber Production

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Monday, July 17, 2023

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) have successfully applied CRISPR gene-editing technology to breed poplar trees with reduced levels of lignin, a significant...

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) have successfully applied CRISPR gene-editing technology to breed poplar trees with reduced levels of lignin, a significant...

Tall Forest Tree Art Concept

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) have successfully applied CRISPR gene-editing technology to breed poplar trees with reduced levels of lignin, a significant...

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‘I write all my poems with a quill by candlelight’: John Cooper Clarke on the joy of life without tech

The punk poet has no smartphone, no email, not even a computer. Everyone should try it, he saysBack in the day, I used to feel a degree of sympathy for those who had been ­compelled to become computer ­literate. I would see these guys in the city, ­struggling home with a rucksack loaded with technology, ruining the line of their Hugo Boss suit. It looked like a ball and chain to me. So I stayed away. Whenever anyone mentioned ­computers, I would say: “What do I need a computer for? I’m a poet.”Later, when mobile phones came out, I was sitting on public transport next to two girls when I heard one of them say to the other: “My boss has just bought me a new mobile phone.” I thought, yeah, I bet he has. If he’d put an iron collar around your neck, would you be happy about that, too? Continue reading...

Back in the day, I used to feel a degree of sympathy for those who had been ­compelled to become computer ­literate. I would see these guys in the city, ­struggling home with a rucksack loaded with technology, ruining the line of their Hugo Boss suit. It looked like a ball and chain to me. So I stayed away. Whenever anyone mentioned ­computers, I would say: “What do I need a computer for? I’m a poet.”Later, when mobile phones came out, I was sitting on public transport next to two girls when I heard one of them say to the other: “My boss has just bought me a new mobile phone.” I thought, yeah, I bet he has. If he’d put an iron collar around your neck, would you be happy about that, too?The adoption of mobile phones is probably the moment I truly drifted away from technology. At first people said they admired me, as though it was some sort of principled position I was taking. I thought, yeah, you’re admiring me now, but further down the line it’s going to be, “Who the fuck do you think you are to not have a mobile phone?” And so it proved. Their love soon turned to hate.If I tried to write a modern-day detective story, people would say, ‘What’s he going into a phone booth for?’The last piece of technology I got involved with was a DVD player. After that, I decided I didn’t need any more machinery in my life. I write all my poems with a quill – a beautiful thing with a calligrapher’s nib – and parchment by candlelight. The quill was originally a prop for a photoshoot I was doing, but they let me keep it, along with a pot of ink. I don’t have a typewriter or a computer, I don’t own a mobile phone, and it’s not possible to send me an email. If someone needs me, they can call my landline. I’m usually in the house anyway – it’s not as if I’m living off-grid.When I was a teenager, I quite liked the idea of being the next Mickey Spillane, the great American crime writer. But I’ve had to abandon that idea. If I tried to write a detective story set in the modern day, people would be like, “What’s he running up there for? Why didn’t he just text him? What’s he going in a phone booth for? Why didn’t he Google him on his Skype?”Not all change is for the better. Progress is great, but I often want to say, “You can stop there now.” That’s the nature of progress, isn’t it? It always goes on longer than it’s needed. Who on earth asked for controls on everything to be touch sensitive?Most of my music is on cassette tape now, because the best place to listen to music is in the car. I’ve got a ghetto blaster in every room at home. I’ve also got a TV, a VHS player and a spare VHS player in the shed. I’ve got three large chests of drawers containing all the videos that I’ve recorded, along with some stuff I forgot to return to Blockbuster in 1989 such as The Terminator.Staying away from technological development was never a political decision, or even a conscious one. I’m not convinced I made the right choice, because I suffer the thousand daily punishments visited upon the analogue community. Every day it’s, “Go to our app!” or, “Visit our website!” At my time of life, you have to deal with the medical authorities regularly and just you try talking to a flesh-and-blood person. It’s impossible.I don’t like the “cashless society”, either. I spent 40 years trying to make some money from this poetry lark, and the minute I get any, suddenly nobody wants it. Even my bank has moved to another town. I have to get a cab there, a 70-quid round trip, just to get my own money. But I won’t bank online. You hear horror stories about large sums of money going missing. When you get money it’s supposed to be the end of your worries, not the beginning of a whole new set of worse ones.I’d hate for anyone to go running away with the idea that I’m some sort of social justice warrior, but technology seems to have a detrimental effect on those struggling in society. How does it impinge on the mendicants, for instance? If nobody has any spare change, how does your regular fella living in a cardboard box get by?I can’t have a computer. I would get distracted. You’d find me dead weeks later, buried under a pile of pizza boxes Another thing I don’t like to see is the checkout workers at Tesco being rendered unemployed by those do-it-yourself tills. People talk about the speed of technology, but what has it actually sped up? Back in the day, if there was a queue at the newsagent and you were on your way to work, you could grab your paper, run to the front of the queue and leave your ninepence on the counter: “Daily Guardian, mate, there it is.” Now you’ve got to stand in line while someone takes 20 minutes to self-scan every single item. I’m glad people live longer these days, because there are so many more things that you have to waste your time doing.For me, it’s always been a case of computer or career. I’d never get any work done! I know this because my daughter has a computer. I didn’t want to get her one, but at the same time you never want to foist your prejudices on your child. She’d have been the only person in her class at school without one.skip past newsletter promotionSign up to Inside SaturdayThe only way to get a look behind the scenes of the Saturday magazine. Sign up to get the inside story from our top writers as well as all the must-read articles and columns, delivered to your inbox every weekend.Privacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties. For more information see our Privacy Policy. We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.after newsletter promotion Photograph: Alicia Canter/The GuardianAnyway, when she got this computer she said, “You should get one, too, Dad, you’d really like it.” I said, “I know I would – that’s the problem.” I wanted to see how good they really were, so I said to her, “Can you get me Dion and the Belmonts? Let’s see how long that takes you.” Three seconds later and Runaround Sue’s playing. That’s why I can’t have a computer. It would be too easy to get distracted. You’d find me dead six weeks later, buried under a pile of pizza boxes.I’m bad enough with the TV. I’ve never really gotten over the television, if I’m being honest. We’ve got Freeview and you’ve got about 800 channels. I like those shows: Bangers & Cash or Wheeler Dealers. And I like Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys and Great American Railroad Journeys. You learn more in half an hour with that guy than you do with 10 years at school. (An amazing reinvention of a person, Portillo.)That’s a problem with technology – it gets rid of something we used to call a social lifeI hear some people pay a lot of money these days to go “off-grid”. I imagine it as some kind of retreat that’s got a religious, Zen Buddhist vibe about it; a step in another dimension for a little while. I’m not like that. I’m a big fan of electricity, for example. I enjoy a brief power cut, just to remind those gung-ho environmental fanatics what life without electricity would be like. If you abolished electricity, millions of people would die immediately. So 10 minutes without power is a healthy lesson for everybody. There are lots of other things about the modern world I like. They’d just discovered streptomycin when I was a sick kid with tuberculosis. And when I was younger, I really liked electric guitars; I used to play bass in a band. So I’m not one of these people who wishes I’d lived 200 years ago.People’s natural skills have started to atrophy due to technology. I get asked, “What do you do when you’re out of the house without a mobile phone and you get lost?” Well, I don’t get lost. As long as you’ve got a tongue in your head, you’ll find your way. People have stopped talking to other people. Anyway, the only time I’m out of the house alone is when I ride my bike. Even that’s old school: a 1959 Hercules. I cycle to the bookies. There’s a lot of technology involved with betting now, but I prefer it as it used to be – knee-deep in cigarette ends and full of losers. My first job was as a bookies runner and so I was exposed, at a very early age, to the world of the degenerate gambler. I think that sort of protected me against becoming one.That’s a problem with technology – you stop interacting with the real world. It gets rid of something we used to call a social life. Knocking on people’s doors. Meeting up in pubs. They go on a lot today about responsible drinking, but neighbourhood pubs used to enforce that. There’d be a pal of your dad’s in there saying, “You’ve had a few too many, kid, steady on – it’s still three hours till closing time.” Just subtle stuff like that – low-level checks that stopped you from becoming a housebound booze hound, sitting alone having a nervous breakdown while drinking hyper-potent cheap lager in front of a pornographic movie. People worry about technology in these grand, sci-fi terms, thinking that it could end the world. But there’s no point in looking towards a dystopian future. Just look around you. The nightmare is already upon us. As told to Tim Jonze.What, the new poetry collection from John Cooper Clarke, is out now, priced £16.99 (Picador). To support the Guardian and Observer, order your copy from guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply. Cooper Clarke tours his new show, Get Him While He’s Still Alive, around the UK from 5 March to 28 June.

Unlocking Affordable Disease Detection With Cutting-Edge Nanotechnology

Researchers introduce Subak, an affordable nanotechnology-based tool for detecting nuclease digestion, critical in nucleic acid sensing applications like COVID-19 identification, offering a cost-effective alternative to...

Scientists have developed Subak, a cost-effective tool for detecting nuclease digestion. This breakthrough technology uses fluorescent silver nanoclusters to signal enzyme activity, offering a simpler and cheaper alternative to traditional FRET probes. With each Subak reporter costing just $1 to produce, this innovation promises to significantly lower the costs of nucleic acid sensing applications, including COVID-19 testing. Credit: SciTechDaily.comResearchers introduce Subak, an affordable nanotechnology-based tool for detecting nuclease digestion, critical in nucleic acid sensing applications like COVID-19 identification, offering a cost-effective alternative to FRET probes.Southern Methodist University nanotechnology expert MinJun Kim helped a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin to develop a less expensive way to detect nuclease digestion – one of the critical steps in many nucleic acid sensing applications, such as those used to identify COVID-19.Nucleic acid detection is the primary method for identifying pathogens that cause infectious diseases. As millions of PCR tests were run worldwide every day during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to reduce the costs of these tests. Advancements in Nucleic Acid DetectionA study published today (February 13) in the journal Nature Nanotechnology shows that this low-cost tool, called Subak, is effective at telling when nuclease digestion has occurred, which is when an enzyme called nuclease breaks down nucleic acids, such as DNA or RNA, into smaller fragments.The traditional way of identifying nuclease activity, Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) probe, costs 62 times more to produce than the Subak reporter.A study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology shows that a low-cost tool, called Subak, is effective at telling when nuclease digestion has occurred, which is when an enzyme called nuclease breaks down nucleic acids, such as DNA or RNA, into smaller fragments. Researchers programmed the Subak reporters to emit a different color when they are digested by nucleases. Credit: Nature NanotechnologySubak Versus Conventional Methods“Subak reporter is more cost-effective and simpler than FRET-based systems, offering an alternative method for detecting nuclease activity,” said Kim, the Robert C. Womack Chair in the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU and principal investigator of the BAST Lab. “Many nucleic acid detection methods today, such as PCR and DETECTR, still rely on the use of FRET probes in their final steps.”Unlike PCR, DETECTR (DNA endonuclease-targeted CRISPR trans reporter) is an easier assay, or test, that relies on CRISPR-Cas nuclease for pathogenic DNA detection. Kim and the researchers at UT Austin have successfully replaced the FRET probe with Subak reporter in the DETECTR assay, thus substantially reducing the assay cost.Innovative Nanotechnology in Subak ReportersSubak reporters are based on a special class of what are known as fluorescent silver nanoclusters. They are made up of 13 silver atoms wrapped around a short DNA strand – an organic/inorganic composite nanomaterial that is too small to be visible to the naked eye and ranging in size from 1 to 3 nanometers (one billionth of a meter) in size.Nanomaterials at this length scale can be highly luminescent, such as quantum dots, and exhibit different colors. Fluorescent nanomaterials have found applications in TV displays and in biosensing, such as the Subak reporter.Lead researcher Tim Yeh, an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin, and his team programmed the Subak reporters to emit a different color when they are digested by nucleases.“These DNA-templated silver nanoclusters initially emit green fluorescence, but undergo a remarkable color-switching to bright red when DNA is fragmented by nucleases,” Kim said. “The color change of Subak reporters is easily visible under a UV lamp,” even though the actual device is minuscule.The Cost-Effective Nature of Subak ReportersSubak reporters cost just $1 per nanomolecule to make. In contrast, FRET – which requires using different fluorescent dyes that require more to get results – costs $62 per nanomolecule to produce, Kim said. This significant reduction in cost could revolutionize the field of nucleic acid detection by making tests more accessible and affordable.Future Directions and OptimizationsKim and Madhav L. Ghimire, SMU’s Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow in SMU’s Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, worked with Yeh to optimize and characterize the DNA/AgNC silver nanoclusters. This included increasing the intensity of the green and red fluorescence before and after fragmentation by nucleases.Characterization involved confirming the size, structure, and the stability of the nanoclusters in specific environments.“Optimization of these low-cost detectors is essential to monitor their fluorescence properties, ensuring nanocluster’s stability, controlling size and structure, and most importantly to enhance their sensitivity and selectivity in various environmental conditions, making them more reliable for the sensing purpose,” Ghimire said.In addition to further testing of the Subak reporter for nuclease digestion, the team also wants to investigate if it can be a probe for other biological targets.Reference: “A non-FRET DNA reporter that changes fluorescence colour upon nuclease digestion” by Soonwoo Hong, Jada N. Walker, Aaron T. Luong, Jonathan Mathews, Samuel W. J. Shields, Yu-An Kuo, Yuan-I Chen, Trung Duc Nguyen, Yujie He, Anh-Thu Nguyen, Madhav L. Ghimire, Min Jun Kim, Jennifer S. Brodbelt and Hsin-Chih Yeh, 13 February 2024, Nature Nanotechnology.DOI: 10.1038/s41565-024-01612-6

Innovative New Technology Could Boost US Rubber Production

The world’s natural supply is at risk, making crucial developments essential. Amid the challenges of disease and high demand affecting the primary natural rubber supply...

Researchers aim to strengthen the U.S. rubber market by extracting latex from North American plants. This is vital due to threats to Southeast Asia’s rubber supply. Their efforts focus on enhancing extraction efficiency and leveraging the unique properties of guayule latex. A surprising discovery also improves dandelion latex extraction.The world’s natural supply is at risk, making crucial developments essential.Amid the challenges of disease and high demand affecting the primary natural rubber supply in Southeast Asia, scientists are working to ramp up the U.S. rubber market by advancing methods to extract latex from two sustainable North American plant sources: a dandelion species and a desert shrub.Researchers reported their methods to improve efficiency and increase latex yield in two recent publications, building upon decades of research led by Katrina Cornish, professor of horticulture and crop science and food, agricultural and biological engineering at The Ohio State University.Cornish and colleagues have added specialized agents during the processing of the Taraxacum kok-saghyz (TK) dandelion and the guayule shrub to coax a higher amount of latex from both plants. Neither source can simply be tapped – the method used on tropical trees that produce the only commercially available natural rubber in the world. “We need to have efficient extraction methods for any and all alternative natural rubber-producing species, especially at a large scale,” Cornish said. “And they have to be low-cost if you’re going to be able to compete in the tire market in the long term.”The TK dandelion work was published recently in Industrial Crops and Products, and the guayule research in Environmental Technology & Innovation.The Importance of a Domestic Rubber IndustryBeyond tires, rubber has applications in an estimated 50,000 products. The need is urgent for a domestic natural rubber industry: While the United States produces synthetic rubber, it is entirely dependent on imports for natural rubber. In 2019, 10% of the natural rubber supply was lost to disease – and the risk for transmission of South American leaf blight to Southeast Asia has increased with the expansion of direct airline travel between Brazil and China.It is not an overstatement, Cornish said, to suggest that if leaf blight were to make it from South America to Asia, the disease could wipe out most of the world’s natural rubber supply in short order.“And then we could see the collapse of the world’s supply chains and, subsequently, entire economies,” she said. “We’ve concentrated an entire global industry around a tropical plant. But TK dandelion and guayule are sustainable and can grow in temperate conditions.”Unique Qualities of Guayule LatexGuayule latex comes from generalized cells in the shrub’s bark. Extracting the latex involves grinding up the bark to break open its cells and release latex particles into what Cornish calls a “milkshake.” A series of washing and spinning cycles follows to separate the latex from other solid material – and with each centrifugation step, some latex is lost.The research team found that adding chemical substances called flocculants to the milkshake helped bind other solid materials together and separate them from the latex, effectively cutting the washing cycles in half and improving the overall latex yield. The addition of one substance doubled the available latex and that yield was increased by 12-fold when a creaming agent was added for purification.“By adding flocculants, latex extraction is more efficient and clean,” said first study author Beenish Saba, a postdoctoral researcher in food, agricultural, and biological engineering at Ohio State. “We found specific flocculants that work best at improving the quality of latex extraction and reducing the time it takes.”The study also showed that feeding the remaining solids back through the processing system enabled the extraction of even more latex and also reduced the environmental footprint of the entire operation, Saba said.Guayule contains a particularly attractive high-performance latex that is stronger and softer than any other known polymer, Cornish said, meaning more filler can be added in production without any loss of its valuable properties. She used guayule latex to develop the first hypoallergenic medical glove to block both radiation and pathogens.Innovative Extraction from TK DandelionThough TK dandelion latex is produced in the plant’s roots, the extraction process is similar – the roots are trimmed, blended into a slurry, and filtered to remove solid chunks of plant material and dirt. Latex floating on the top of the remaining liquid is slurped up with a pipette and rinsed up to three times for purification, and then dried.A bit of serendipity led to the improvement to this extraction method. First author Nathaniel King-Smith, a graduate student in Cornish’s lab, found that processed samples sitting in the lab for three months had significantly more latex floating on their surfaces. An analysis showed that heavy divalent cations, like magnesium, bound to the latex particle membranes weighed down the particles – until the connection eventually collapsed.The team found that adding EDTA, a chelator that binds to divalent cations, to processing the dandelion roots allowed for the extraction of more than twice as much latex than was extracted without the addition of EDTA.“Our question was, how can we free up the heavy fraction without waiting three months for rubber particles to suddenly become lighter and float?” King-Smith said. “We found that the extra latex yield after months of storage could be achieved immediately in a standard extraction just by adding EDTA before spinning.”Future Prospects and CollaborationsThe use of EDTA also increased the gel content of the extracted latex once it was dried – useful information for potential production by industries that are looking for higher-gel rubber, he said.EDTA may turn out to be applicable to latex extraction from guayule, though Cornish said her lab hopes to partner with flocculant chemists who could help further refine that process. She has been planting, harvesting, and extracting latex from TK dandelion for over a decade in Ohio and has a greenhouse full of guayule on Ohio State’s Wooster campus, where she hopes to one day build a full-scale latex processing plant.“We are working on a small scale and focusing on premium latex markets where you can make something of great value with minimal materials so that we can fund expansion,” she said. “And in the meantime, we’re making extraction more efficient so we can make the material clean and pure.”Reference: “Extractable latex yield from Taraxacum kok-saghyz roots is enhanced by increasing rubber particle buoyancy” by Nathaniel King-Smith, Kristof Molnar, Joshua J. Blakeslee, Colleen M. McMahan, Aswathy S. Pillai, Meirambek Mutalkhanov, Judit E. Puskas and Katrina Cornish, 28 October 2023, Industrial Crops and Products.DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2023.117698“Base-dependent flocculant treatment improves the extraction of latex from guayule” by Beenish Saba, Cindy S. Barrera, David J. Barker and Katrina Cornish, 4 October 2023, Environmental Technology & Innovation.DOI: 10.1016/j.eti.2023.103388This work was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Readers reply: Why are cars designed to be capable of going much faster than the speed limit?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical conceptsWhy are cars designed to be capable of going much faster than the speed limit? (Don’t tell me they’re made with the Autobahn in mind.) Andy Crosby, north WalesSend new questions to nq@theguardian.com. Continue reading...

Why are cars designed to be capable of going much faster than the speed limit? (Don’t tell me they’re made with the Autobahn in mind.) Andy Crosby, north WalesSend new questions to nq@theguardian.com.Readers replyBecause for mechanical reasons a car that can reach 100 is going to perform better at 70 than a car that can only reach 70. Also, an engine that can only achieve 70mph on the level may struggle on hills. I had a 1.2 Clio that needed me to anticipate hills and drop a gear so it didn’t get out of breath. My Golf diesel would take those same hills in its stride with no complaint. Of course you can fit speed limiters to vehicles (I frequently drive a limited minibus). Consider however the problem that arises when one speed-limited lorry tries to overtake another and slowly grinds past in the middle lane of the motorway and the chaos and congestion that ensues. YorkshireExPatI believe the Germans call it “elephant racing”. SocialismnowBecause men are too embarrassed to buy Viagra, of course. GregKZBecause it sells them? Motoring journalists like to include acceleration and top-speed performance in their reviews as a positive thing so presumably car buyers want faster cars even though they can’t (at least in theory) use that performance. reggiepurrinI bought a 2015 Audi A5 3.0TDi Quattro five years ago. With 245bhp it will see 60mph in under 6sec. When you need that oomph to pass a dawdler doing 40mph on an open highway, then it means overtaking is quick and effortless, thanks also to the bags of torque.Its top speed is a limited 155mph – I’ve never seen it. In France I’ve done 82mph on the autoroutes where it’s the legal maximum.The best part is that, despite engine size, it’s literally ticking over at 70mph at 1,600rpm and means it will get over 50mpg on long runs. Hence, it’s a good grand tourer, with ability to waft along, have a decent slug of power and grunt when you need it. It called having flexibility. I’m looking forward to my next road trip to France already! chilledgibboYou are Jeremy Clarkson and I claim my £5! Tattie_BogleIt disappoints me that the move to electric power has not been taken as an opportunity to end the obsession with higher and higher power motor vehicles. We see adverts boasting of insane acceleration rates and high figure power outputs, the consequence is a need for bigger and bigger batteries, more and more mass and so with it much greater environmental impact, in manufacture and use. The opposite of the potential of electric vehicles to reduce the impact of personal mobility. Bring on properly enforced lowered speed limits and aggressively punitive taxation of over large and powerful personal vehicles. Evan1Best efficiency point. Designed for 70mph it would be operating flat out. Imagine sprinting endlessly every journey. Designed for a top speed of 100mph, then 70mph is a cruise. Comfortably running along. senoj1Quite a few EVs are bucking the trend in that while they have very quick acceleration their top speed is relatively low. For example mine allegedly gets to 60 in under 7sec, an acceleration that would have been associated with a top speed of 130-140. In fact its top speed is about 108, which is more than adequate allowing a comfortable margin of reduced stress at legal speeds. It’s also true that some EVs will hit 60 in 3sec or less, which begs the question how many drivers can handle this without hitting something more solid. seedysolipsistFuel efficiency – if the car is capable of going 240kph while red lining in fifth, it probably hits 120kph revving much lower and burning less fuel. MacknightBecause speeding fines are a valuable source of revenue? EddieChorepostMargin of error (AKA safety). You want to be using mechanical devices that are not running at stress points all the time, because you will occasionally need to swerve (at legal speed) to avoid an accident, and having to the wheels fall off isn’t good. speedy95060A car with an engine with a “design” speed of 130mph, can be fitted with a carburettor that is “undersize” for the engine, thus limiting power and speed accordingly, but with all the advantages of less stress on the engine and moving parts. Of course, this will cost very near as much as the “unrestricted” version, so I guess manufacturers go with the higher speed version to increase sales as boy racers like to go over the speed limit! balanceandreasonCars are sold as toys, only incidentally as transport. lochaber1I hope this is the answer they put in as the “final word”. Dorkalicious

We Asked Women In Their 40s and 50s About The Skin Care Gifts They Actually Want

We rounded up coveted luxury items that they probably wouldn't splurge on themselves.

For those of us who love skin care products, that steadfast devotion can lead to some pretty steep credit card bills. So if you know someone in your life who is a bonafide beauty devotee, consider giving them the gift of skin care products this holiday season. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of unwrapping a holiday present filled with one’s favorite beauty products, especially when it’s a highly-coveted luxury item that they wouldn’t ordinarily feel comfortable splurging on, like a pricey skin care device or elegant cleansing balm.To find out exactly what beauty-obsessed women really want this holiday season, we asked women in their 40s and 50s about the skin care gifts they’d actually like — and their answers did not disappoint. Keep scrolling to find out just what they’ve been eyeing and stuff your loved one’s stocking to the brim with these must-have beauty goodies. They include items like a popular LED face light, spa-quality at-home treatments, celeb-beloved moisturizers and more.HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.Kate Somerville ExfoliKate cleanserHuffPost's editor-in-chief, Danielle Belton (46), has this beloved cleanser on her list. It's loaded up with AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid and natural enzymes to help refine the look of skin, minimize dark spots and uneven texture and help you maintain your radiant self.Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor refillable invisible face moisturizer SPF 30 with niacinamideLike all her faves, Belton uses this SPF daily and loves it. When you know someone has a go-to skin care product, it's so easy to make their life easier by slipping one into the pile of presents. This sunscreen is made with niacinamide, so not only are they getting essential sun protection, but it's nourishing their skin as well.Tatcha The Water CreamLike so many of us, Belton can't get enough of Tatcha's iconic Water Cream. This lightweight moisturizer is the ultimate gift for skin care lovers. It feels glorious on the skin and can help to reduce oil and refine pores. Dr. Dennis Gross Drx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro maskThis high-end cult-fave light mask uses LED lights over the entire face to target the look of both wrinkles and breakouts. Many brands have their own versions, but Dr. Dennis Gross’ FDA-cleared technology uses a combination of 100 red lights and 62 blue lights that work together to target common skin issues. Red light is said to support natural collagen production, which helps to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles and diminish visible discoloration, scars and damage, while blue light targets acne-causing bacteria, helping shorten the length of breakouts, calm red skin and prevent future breakouts. When asked what she wants this holiday season, Greta Geiselman (47), HuffPost senior director of global workplace and security, said: "You know it’s that Dr. Dennis Gross mask for me!" Kristen Aiken (41), who heads up HuffPost Life and Commerce, also has this highly-coveted item on her list.Lyma laserThis is a first-of-its-kind at-home medical-grade laser designed to help rejuvenate and revitalize skin. And if she somehow knew a multimillionaire, Aiken said, she would hope they'd get her a Lyma Laser for Christmas. It's a mega-splurge, but for those who want to take the leap, it's a major investment in their skin care. Lyma promises its laser will give skin all the benefits of an in-office treatment, including improving the appearance of wrinkles, skin elasticity, texture, tone and more. It uses a patented lens technology that diffuses micro-dots of invisible light over a large surface. The internal lens emits a cold beam of light that penetrates deeply through the layers of the skin, and promises to “reset” cells without causing irritation or redness.Dr. Barbara Sturm Super Anti-Aging face creamAiken wouldn't say no to a gift of this celeb-loved cream, either. It's made with yummy, rich ingredients that can help to plump up wrinkles and smooth and soften the skin. It's got a pretty hefty price tag, but it's definitely a show-stopping gift.Neocutis Lumiere Firm Illuminating Tightening eye cream45-year-old Janie Campbell, a senior editor at HuffPost, would love to see this popular eye cream in her stocking. It uses growth factors, peptides and caffeine to help boost collagen production, hydrate, reduce puffiness and provide antioxidant protection. Nothing but the best for your sweet peepers.Jones Road Miracle BalmMultiple people reported that they had the cult-fave Jones Road Miracle Balm on their wishlist. This light-reflecting, multitasking product is full of skin-loving ingredients and can be used for everything from blush to highlighter, lip balm to eye shadow. Technically it's a makeup, but it's chock-full of skin care ingredients that make it a versatile must-have. HuffPost reader Jenni Miller (51) said that "about two years ago I discovered Bobbi Brown’s new brand, Jones Road Beauty. It is amazing!!! I never thought I could like makeup, let alone love it." It's available in 10 different shades.Olay Regenerist Max wrinkle serumYou can't go wrong with Olay products, especially this wrinkle serum. Facebook user Mary Jeannette (44) is a big fan of this particular product. It's powered by peptides that are great at nourishing the skin and delivering powerful anti-aging results.SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serumIf you're into skin care, you've likely heard people sing the praises of this cult-favorite serum, and with good reason. The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum has been hailed by dermatologists for its ability to help lighten fine lines, firm skin, provide environmental protection and brighten a dull complexion. The stabilized formulation means all ingredients are working at the peak of their powers, in tandem with each other. It's not cheap, but would make a pretty incredible skin care gift. It's on Aiken's luxury skin care wish list as well as that of Facebook user Tricia Arana Mifsud (49), who noted that "it's the best but crazy expensive."Korres Night-Brightening Sleeping FacialGive your loved one the gift of waking up to the best skin of their life with this cult-fave overnight treatment. Facebook user Emilee Moorhead (age 41) says it "smells like heaven and makes my skin feel soft and smooth. Putting it on at night is like a mini-retreat!"Medicube Age-R Booster H deviceIf you haven't heard of the Medicube device, it's time to add it to your list. It's a wildly popular K-beauty device that claims to help improve product absorption and leave you looking deliciously dewy. Facebook user Jen Cave (41) has two Medicube devices but wants to try them all! If you don't have this one, it's a must. It's ideal for someone who wants to splurge on their skin care-loving pal.Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting serumThere's a good chance the skin care devotee in your life has been eyeing this popular Murad product for a while now, but has been hesitant to splurge. Make their year by popping one in their stocking stuffer! Facebook user Laura Blough (40) said Murad products are the best, and she's not wrong — especially when it comes to this one.Clarins Double Serum Firming & Smoothing Anti-Aging ConcentrateFacebook user Tammy Sarver (55) has been using Clarins products for over 30 years and is keen on all of the brand's products. This powerful concentrate is Clarins' top-rated product at Sephora, with thousands of reviews speaking to its prowess. It's made with powerful and effective plant extracts that can smooth and firm skin, leaving it radiant and renewed.Dr. Brandt Skincare No More Baggage eye gelThis eye gel went viral on TikTok earlier this year for videos of its effectiveness, and Facebook user Charlotte Shaff (52) thinks it "is the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for man or woman!" it quickly tightens and smooths the eye area, making it perfect for someone who is always looking for the perfect eye cream.Typology tinted serumFacebook users Emily Dross Winship and Morgen Peters (46) would both love to see some goodies from Typology's tinted collection in their stockings. Peters uses the serum and loves it. It's made with vegan ingredients including vitamin C, squalane and aloe vera to leave skin hydrated, radiant and clear.

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