Monday, April 22, 2019

Science X Newsletter Week 16

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 16:

Thermodynamic magic enables cooling without energy consumption

Physicists at the University of Zurich have developed an amazingly simple device that allows heat to flow temporarily from a cold to a warm object without an external power supply. Intriguingly, the process initially appears to contradict the fundamental laws of physics.

Artificial intelligence speeds efforts to develop clean, virtually limitless fusion energy

Artificial intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science that is transforming scientific inquiry and industry, could now speed the development of safe, clean and virtually limitless fusion energy for generating electricity. A major step in this direction is under way at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University, where a team of scientists working with a Harvard graduate student is for the first time applying deep learning—a powerful new version of the machine learning form of AI—to forecast sudden disruptions that can halt fusion reactions and damage the doughnut-shaped tokamaks that house the reactions.

Travel through wormholes is possible, but slow

A Harvard physicist has shown that wormholes can exist: tunnels in curved space-time, connecting two distant places, through which travel is possible.

For its health and yours, keep the cat indoors

At least one running argument among cat lovers is now over: Whiskers, Lucy and Tigger are definitely better off staying indoors, scientists reported Wednesday.

NASA study verifies global warming trends

A new study by researchers from NASA has verified the accuracy of recent global warming figures.

Elusive molecule, first in Universe, detected in space

In the beginning, more than 13 billion years ago, the Universe was an undifferentiated soup of three simple, single-atom elements.

The discrete-time physics hiding inside our continuous-time world

Scientists believe that time is continuous, not discrete—roughly speaking, they believe that it does not progress in "chunks," but rather "flows," smoothly and continuously. So they often model the dynamics of physical systems as continuous-time "Markov processes," named after mathematician Andrey Markov. Indeed, scientists have used these processes to investigate a range of real-world processes from folding proteins, to evolving ecosystems, to shifting financial markets, with astonishing success.

Late dinner and no breakfast is a killer combination

People who skip breakfast and eat dinner near bedtime have worse outcomes after a heart attack. That's the finding of research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Hubble celebrates its 29th birthday with unrivaled view of the Southern Crab Nebula

This incredible image of the hourglass-shaped Southern Crab Nebula was taken to mark the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's 29th anniversary in space. The nebula, created by a binary star system, is one of the many objects that Hubble has demystified throughout its productive life. This new image adds to our understanding of the nebula and demonstrates the telescope's continued capabilities.

Scientists invent way to trap mysterious 'dark world' particle at Large Hadron Collider

Now that they've identified the Higgs boson, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have set their sights on an even more elusive target.

TESS finds its first Earth-sized planet

A nearby system hosts the first Earth-sized planet discovered by NASA's Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite, as well as a warm sub-Neptune-sized world, according to a new paper from a team of astronomers that includes Carnegie's Johanna Teske, Paul Butler, Steve Shectman, Jeff Crane, and Sharon Wang.

Best in snow: New scientific device creates electricity from snowfall

UCLA researchers and colleagues have designed a new device that creates electricity from falling snow. The first of its kind, this device is inexpensive, small, thin and flexible like a sheet of plastic.

'First' 3-D print of heart with human tissue, vessels unveiled

Scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels on Monday, calling it a first and a "major medical breakthrough" that advances possibilities for transplants.

A history of the Crusades, as told by crusaders' DNA

History can tell us a lot about the Crusades, the series of religious wars fought between 1095 and 1291, in which Christian invaders tried to claim the Near East. But the DNA of nine 13th century Crusaders buried in a pit in Lebanon shows that there's more to learn about who the Crusaders were and their interactions with the populations they encountered. The work appears April 18 in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

Direct imaging of active orbitals in quantum materials

In quantum materials based on transition metals, rare-earth and actinide elements, electronic states are characterized by electrons in orbitals d and f, combined with the solid's strong band formation. Until now, to estimate the specific orbitals that contribute to the ground state of these materials and determine their physical properties, researchers have primarily relied on theoretical calculations and spectroscopy methods.

Seven common myths about quantum physics

I have been popularising quantum physics, my area of research, for many years now. The general public finds the topic fascinating and covers of books and magazines often draw on its mystery. A number of misconceptions have arisen in this area of physics and my purpose here is to look at the facts to debunk seven of these myths.

Scientists discover new arsenic-based broad-spectrum antibiotic

Antibiotic resistance has been called one of the biggest public health threats of our time. There is a pressing need for new and novel antibiotics to combat the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria worldwide.

Researchers report high performance solid-state sodium-ion battery

Solid-state sodium-ion batteries are far safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries, which pose a risk of fire and explosions, but their performance has been too weak to offset the safety advantages. Researchers Friday reported developing an organic cathode that dramatically improves both stability and energy density.

Astronomers discover third planet in the Kepler-47 circumbinary system

Astronomers have discovered a third planet in the Kepler-47 system, securing the system's title as the most interesting of the binary-star worlds. Using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, a team of researchers, led by astronomers at San Diego State University, detected the new Neptune-to-Saturn-size planet orbiting between two previously known planets. 

Study finds white sharks flee feeding areas when orcas present

New research from Monterey Bay Aquarium and partner institutions published today in Nature Scientific Reports challenges the notion that great white sharks are the most formidable predators in the ocean. The study "Killer Whales Redistribute White Shark Foraging Pressure On Seals" shows how the great white hunter becomes the hunted, and the elephant seal, the common prey of sharks and orcas, emerges as the winner.


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Friday, April 19, 2019

Science X Newsletter Friday, Apr 19

Dear Reader ,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for April 19, 2019:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

ExAG: An image-guessing game to evaluate the helpfulness of machine explanations

Molecular target UNC45A is essential for cancer but not normal cell proliferation

New study shows how your moral behavior may change depending on the context

Things are stacking up for NASA's Mars 2020 spacecraft

India could meet air quality standards by cutting household fuel use

Anxiety 'epidemic' brewing on college campuses, researchers find

A magnetic personality, maybe not. But magnets can help AI get closer to the efficiency of the human brain

Researchers find high-risk genes for schizophrenia

Next frontier in study of gut bacteria: mining microbial molecules

Chemists take a closer look at the spot where water meets air

Researchers find correlation between blood type and susceptibility to severe malaria

An exotic microbe and an unusual extraction process may add up to an economical way to make a promising biofuel

Metabolite may play a role in nicotine addiction

Using the past to shape future construction: Slabs that rock, tilt and roll

Researchers find adding rare-earth element to piezoelectric crystals dramatically improves performance

Astronomy & Space news

Things are stacking up for NASA's Mars 2020 spacecraft

For the past few months, the clean room floor in High Bay 1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been covered in parts, components and test equipment for the Mars 2020 spacecraft, scheduled for launch toward the Red Planet in July of 2020. But over the past few weeks, some of these components—the spacecraft-rocket-laden landing system and even the stand-in for the rover (christened "surrogate-rover") - have seemingly disappeared.

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

A private cargo ship brought the makings of an Easter feast to the International Space Station on Friday, along with mice and little flying robots.

How NASA Earth data aids America, state by state

For six decades, NASA has used the vantage point of space to better understand our home planet and improve lives. A new interactive website called Space for U.S. highlights some of the many ways that NASA's Earth observations help people strengthen communities across the United States and make informed decisions about public health, disaster response and recovery, and environmental protection.

Video: Soon, kidneys-on-a-chip will rocket to space station

UW scientists are prepping a kidney-on-a-chip experiment at Cape Canaveral, Florida, awaiting a shuttle launch that will take the chips into space. At an altitude of 250 miles, astronauts will help study how reduced gravity in space affects kidney physiology.

Opinion: Canada's approach to lunar exploration needs to be strategic or we'll be left behind

Should Canada go to the moon? What's there for Canadians? It is these questions that we should ponder when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that Canada will be participating in the new space exploration vision.

American astronaut's dreams of seeing space becoming reality

A Mainer who's headed to the International Space Station says she's always dreamed of being in space and "seeing this giant blue ball below me."

Technology news

ExAG: An image-guessing game to evaluate the helpfulness of machine explanations

In recent years, researchers have been trying to make artificial intelligence (AI) more transparent by developing algorithms that can explain their actions and behavior, as this could encourage greater trust in machines and enhance human-AI interactions. Despite their efforts, so far very few studies have tangibly evaluated the impact of AI explanations on the performance achieved in tasks that involve human-AI collaboration.

A magnetic personality, maybe not. But magnets can help AI get closer to the efficiency of the human brain

Computers and artificial intelligence continue to usher in major changes in the way people shop. It is relatively easy to train a robot's brain to create a shopping list, but what about ensuring that the robotic shopper can easily tell the difference between the thousands of products in the store?

Using the past to shape future construction: Slabs that rock, tilt and roll

If you are interested in hearing out novel concepts about the future of construction, a must-see video is "Walking Assembly." Dependencies on the sizes of materials vis a vis the human body do not seem to apply any longer.

Inequalities in the UK can be detected using deep learning image analysis

Social, economic, environmental and health inequalities within cities can be detected using street imagery. The findings, from scientists at Imperial College London, are published in Scientific Reports this week.

Adding guanidinium thiocyanate to mixed tin-lead perovskites to improve solar cell efficiency

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has found a way to improve the efficiency of perovskite-based solar cells—by adding guanidinium thiocyanate to the mix. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their work with perovskite-based solar cells and how well they worked.

Snake-inspired robot slithers even better than predecessor

Bad news for ophiophobes: Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

Uber wins $1bn investment from Toyota, SoftBank fund

Japanese car giant Toyota and investment fund SoftBank Vision Fund on Friday unveiled an investment of $1 billion in US company Uber to drive forward the development of driverless ridesharing services.

Coming soon to China: the car of the future

Global automakers are positioning for a brave new world of on-demand transport that will require a car of the future—hyper-connected, autonomous, and shared—and China may become the concept's laboratory.

Creating a cloak for grid data in the cloud

Delivering modern electricity is a numbers game. From power plant output to consumer usage patterns, grid operators juggle a complex set of variables to keep the lights on. Cloud-based tools can help manage all of these data, but utility owners and system operators are concerned about security. That concern is keeping them from using the cloud—a collective name for networked Internet computers that provide scalable, flexible and economical computing power.

Honda slows Accord, Civic production as buyers shift to SUVs

Honda is slowing production of Accord and Civic cars as U.S. buyers continue to favor SUVs and trucks.

Report: FTC considering oversight of Facebook's Zuckerberg

Federal regulators are reportedly considering seeking some kind of oversight of Mark Zuckerberg's leadership of Facebook over the social network giant's mishandling of users' personal information.

Medicine & Health news

New study shows how your moral behavior may change depending on the context

When it comes to making moral decisions, we often think of the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yet, why we make such decisions has been widely debated. Are we motivated by feelings of guilt, where we don't want to feel bad for letting the other person down? Or by fairness, where we want to avoid unequal outcomes? Some people may rely on principles of both guilt and fairness and may switch their moral rule depending on the circumstances, according to a Radboud University—Dartmouth College study on moral decision-making and cooperation. The findings challenge prior research in economics, psychology and neuroscience, which is often based on the premise that people are motivated by one moral principle, which remains constant over time. The study was published recently in Nature Communications.

Anxiety 'epidemic' brewing on college campuses, researchers find

The number of 18- to 26-year-old students who report suffering from anxiety disorder has doubled since 2008, perhaps as a result of rising financial stress and increased time spent on digital devices, according to preliminary findings released Thursday by a team of UC Berkeley researchers.

Researchers find high-risk genes for schizophrenia

Using a unique computational framework they developed, a team of scientist cyber-sleuths in the Vanderbilt University Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute (VGI) has identified 104 high-risk genes for schizophrenia.

Researchers find correlation between blood type and susceptibility to severe malaria

Abraham Degarege Mengist is making malaria his mission.

Metabolite may play a role in nicotine addiction

A substance that scientists identify to screen people for nicotine use may also play a role in smokers becoming addicted to tobacco.

Gut microbe helps thwart Salmonella

Salmonella enterica is the name of a group of rod-shaped bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis in humans and other animals. Salmonella infections can have serious consequences for certain high-risk groups, such as babies, young children, the elderly and individuals whose immune systems are functionally compromised. Most people with a normal complement of gut microflora (microbiota) generally have little difficulty coping with such infections. Only in 10-20% of cases in which the pathogens are ingested—usually via contaminated food products—does an infection actually result. But the members of the gut microbiota that are responsible for resistance to Salmonella are largely unknown.

Researchers discover critical RNA processing aberrations

Research by a Barrow Neurological Center scientist on mechanisms of dysfunctional RNA processing in ALS and frontaltemporal dementia (FTD) was published in the April issue of Acta Neuropathologica. The research was conducted by Dr. Rita Sattler and her graduate student Stephen Moore in her laboratory at the Department of Neurobiology at Barrow Neurological Institute, which is dedicated to understanding the mechanisms of disease in ALS, FTD and related neurodegenerative diseases.

Discovery may help explain why women get autoimmune diseases far more often than men

It's one of the great mysteries of medicine, and one that affects the lives of millions of people: Why do women's immune systems gang up on them far more than men's do, causing nine times more women to develop autoimmune diseases such as lupus?

Brain wiring differences identified in children with conduct disorder

Behavioural problems in young people with severe antisocial behaviour—known as conduct disorder—could be caused by differences in the brain's wiring that link the brain's emotional centres together, according to new research led by the University of Birmingham.

Behavioral disorders in kids with autism linked to reduced brain connectivity

More than a quarter of children with autism spectrum disorder are also diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorders. For the first time, Yale researchers have identified a possible biological cause: a key mechanism that regulates emotion functions differently in the brains of the children who exhibit disruptive behavior.

'World's smallest baby boy' set to go home in Japan

The world's smallest baby boy, who was born in October in Japan weighing as much as an apple, is now ready for the outside world, his doctor said Friday.

New details revealed to explain how tumors recruit blood vessels

A study by University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers helps explain how tumors recruit blood vessels that provide fuel for their growth as well as an avenue for the tumors to spread.

Dog owners more likely to meet weekly exercise targets

Dog owners are estimated to be four times more likely than non-dog owning adults to meet recommended physical activity guidelines, according to new University of Liverpool research.

'Hibernating' research studies on standby to tackle next flu pandemic

The University of Liverpool is improving the UK's preparedness for another influenza pandemic through its involvement in an innovative network of research studies 'hibernating' on standby ready to be activated if an outbreak strikes, according to a newly published article in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

No time to exercise? Work out at work

The No. 1 excuse adults give for not exercising is time, USC experts say. But what if working out didn't mean waking up at the crack of dawn or missing happy hour?

Nicotine replacement: when quitting cigarettes, consider using more nicotine, not less

When delivered through cigarettes, nicotine is considered to be one of the most addictive substances on Earth, so it may seem odd to suggest that people should use more, rather than less, to quit smoking. A recent review of the research, however, has found just that.

Gene-editing technique opens door for HIV vaccine

The human body cannot naturally defend itself against HIV—not usually, at least. But in very rare cases, infected individuals generate broadly neutralizing antibodies, or bNAbs, that fight the virus. Now, Rockefeller scientists have devised a way to grant this HIV-fighting power to otherwise average immune cells.

Growing a cerebral tract in a microscale brain model

An international research team led by The University of Tokyo modeled the growth of cerebral tracts. Using neurons derived from stem cells, they grew cortical-like spheroids. In a microdevice, the spheroids extended bundles of axons toward each other, forming a physical and electrical connection. Fascicles grew less efficiently when one spheroid was absent, and when a gene relevant to cerebral tract formation was knocked-down. The study further illuminates brain growth and developmental disorders.

Risk of congenital Zika syndrome greater than previously thought

Zika virus infection during pregnancy was first linked to birth defects during the outbreak in the Americas in 2015 and 2016; however, the Zika virus was discovered decades ago. Why then were adverse outcomes during pregnancy only recently recognized when the Zika virus has been circulating in Africa and Asia for decades?

Storytelling and public health: The power of emotion in science

As a pediatrician and writer for such hit TV shows as China Beach, ER, and Law & Order: SVU, Dr. Neal Baer used creative storytelling to share important public health information with millions of people.

Fennel: A food lover's dream ingredient

(HealthDay)—You might have seen fennel in the produce section of your market without knowing what exactly it was. Fennel is a fragrant bulb that can be a food lover's dream ingredient, because it has a refreshing taste, similar to anise or licorice, and pairs well with other ingredients to create gourmet dishes.

CDC: Recent decline seen in high-grade cervical lesions

(HealthDay)—The number of cervical precancers (CIN2+ cases) in the United States declined from 2008 to 2016, likely in part because of prevention with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, according to research published in the April 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Do-anywhere upper body stretches

(HealthDay)—Flexibility in your upper body is important for many everyday activities you take for granted, like twisting and turning while backing out of a parking space. Try these three stretches to help keep your upper body agile. They don't require any special equipment and can even be done in your office.

Marijuana users weigh less, defying the munchies

New evidence from Michigan State University suggests that those who smoke cannabis, or marijuana, weigh less compared to adults who don't.

Researchers develop promising new stroke therapy

Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have developed a novel stroke therapy that, when tested in mice and dogs, has proven superior to the standard of care therapy now offered to patients suffering a stroke.

Study tracks unpredictability of intimate partner violence

Tragically, one of every three American women will experience intimate partner violence during her lifetime. Victims suffer not only physical injuries but are at increased risk of mental disorders.

Two-wave US flu season is now the longest in a decade

Three months ago, this flu season was shaping up to be short and mild in the U.S. But a surprising second viral wave has made it the longest in 10 years.

Study: Opioid dose variability may be a risk factor for opioid overdose

Patients prescribed opioid pain medications whose doses varied over time were 3 times more likely to experience an overdose than patients prescribed stable opioid doses, according to an observational study from Kaiser Permanente published today in JAMA Network Open. The study also showed that patients who discontinued long-term opioid therapy for 3 or more months had half the risk of opioid overdose.

Commentary: Modifications to Medicare rules could support care innovation for dialysis

In a commentary published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, public health researchers suggest adjustments to recently proposed rule changes on how Medicare pays for dialysis services.

People with heart disease at risk when pharmacies close

New research from the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that when pharmacies close, people stop taking widely used heart medications—like statins, beta-blockers and oral anticoagulants—that have known cardiovascular and survival benefits.

Light physical activity reduces brain aging

Incremental physical activity, even at light intensity, is associated with larger brain volume and healthy brain aging.

Study finds that quitting smoking during pregnancy lowers risk of preterm births

There is an important association between maternal cigarette smoking cessation during pregnancy and risk of preterm birth, according to a new Dartmouth-led study published in JAMA Network Open.

Naltrexone implant helps HIV patients prevent opioid relapse

(HealthDay)—Slow-release implantable naltrexone is associated with better outcomes than the oral drug for HIV-positive patients with an opioid addiction, according to a study published in the April issue of The Lancet HIV.

Conception by IVF may increase risk for rare childhood cancer

(HealthDay)—There is a small association between conception by in vitro fertilization (IVF) and childhood cancer, particularly hepatic tumors, according to a study published online April 1 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Loan forgiveness, educational debt may affect practice patterns

(HealthDay)—Increased educational debt appears to directly influence physician practice choice, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Elevated blood lead levels prevalent among refugee children

(HealthDay)—Almost 20 percent of refugee children have elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs), according to a study published online April 15 in Pediatrics.

Group, telephone, guided CBT treatment effective for depression

(HealthDay)—Group, telephone, and guided self-help cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) formats are as effective as individual CBT for adult depression, according to research published online April 17 in JAMA Psychiatry.

FDA OKs first generic nasal spray of overdose reversal drug

U.S. regulators have approved the first generic nasal spray version of Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses.

Video plus brochure helps patients make lung cancer scan decision

A short video describing the potential benefits and risks of low-dose CT screening for lung cancer in addition to an informational brochure increased patients' knowledge and reduced conflicted feelings about whether to undergo the scan more than the informational brochure alone, according to a randomized, controlled trial published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

How our gray matter tackles gray areas

When Katie O'Nell's high school biology teacher showed a NOVA video on epigenetics after the AP exam, he was mostly trying to fill time. But for O'Nell, the video sparked a whole new area of curiosity.

The legal profession has a mental health problem—which is an issue for everyone

Set in a fictional firm in New York, the TV series Suits glamorises the life of lawyers working in a modern corporate firm. One of the main characters, Harvey Specter, dresses impeccably in an expensive designer suit and expects others around him to do the same. The lawyers in the firm are hugely ambitious, work late into the night (we rarely see them away from the office) and demand excellence in everything they do. For these professionals, work is life. This is, we are led to believe, what a lawyer's life could be like.

After family's health scare: 'We had to do this together'

At his annual medical visit three years ago, John Lavaki told his doctor he sometimes felt short of breath going up and down the stairs.

Biology news

Next frontier in study of gut bacteria: mining microbial molecules

The human gut harbors trillions of invisible microbial inhabitants, referred to as the microbiota, that collectively produce thousands of unique small molecules. The sources and biological functions of the vast majority of these molecules are unknown. Yale researchers recently applied a new technology to uncover microbiota-derived chemicals that affect human physiology, revealing a complex network of interactions with potentially broad-reaching impacts on human health.

BRB-seq: The quick and cheaper future of RNA sequencing

RNA sequencing is a technique used to analyze entire genomes by looking at the expression of their genes. Today, such genome-wide expression analyses are a standard tool for genomic studies because they rely on high-throughput technologies, which themselves have become widely available.

Taming the genome's 'jumping' sequences

The human genome is fascinating. Once predicted to contain about a hundred thousand protein-coding genes, it now seems that the number is closer to twenty thousand, and maybe less. And although our genome is made up of about three billion units—base pairs—many of them don't seem to belong to specific genes, and for that reason they were delegated to the dustbin of genetics: they were literally called "junk DNA".

Fuel cells in bacteria

The exchange of nitrogen between the atmosphere and organic matter is crucial for life on Earth because nitrogen is a major component of essential molecules such as proteins and DNA. One major route for this exchange, discovered only in the 1990s, is the anammox pathway found in certain bacteria. It proceeds via hydrazine, a highly reactive substance used by humans as a rocket fuel. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, in cooperation with scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics and Radboud University in the Netherlands, now describe the structure of the enzyme performing the last step in this process: turning hydrazine into nitrogen gas and harvesting the energy set free in this way. The results, which were just published in Science Advances, show an unprecedented network of heme groups for handling the large number of electrons released during the chemical conversion.

Scientists uncover a link between RNA editing and chloroplast-to-nucleus communication

What will a three-degree-warmer world look like? How will plants fare in more extreme weather conditions? When experiencing stress or damage from various sources, plants use chloroplast-to-nucleus communication to regulate gene expression and help them cope.

New method to detect off-target effects of CRISPR

Since the CRISPR genome editing technology was invented in 2012, it has shown great promise to treat a number of intractable diseases. However, scientists have struggled to identify potential off-target effects in therapeutically relevant cell types, which remains the main barrier to moving therapies to the clinic. Now, a group of scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), with collaborators at AstraZeneca, have developed a reliable method to do just that.

A universal framework combining genome annotation and undergraduate education

As genome sequencing becomes cheaper and faster, resulting in an exponential increase in data, the need for efficiency in predicting gene function is growing, as is the need to train the next generation of scientists in bioinformatics. Researchers in the lab of Lukas Mueller, a faculty member of the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), have developed a strategy to fulfill both of these needs, benefiting students and researchers in the process.

Mysterious river dolphin helps crack the code of marine mammal communication

The Araguaian river dolphin of Brazil is something of a mystery. It was thought to be quite solitary, with little social structure that would require communication. But Laura May Collado, a biologist at the University of Vermont, and her colleagues have discovered that the dolphins can actually make hundreds of different sounds to communicate, a finding that could help uncover how communication evolved in marine mammals.

Multiple modes for selectivity of transmembrane transport

LMU researchers utilized a biophysical approach to understand how bacterial import proteins bind and selectively convey their cargoes across membranes. The results reveal an unexpectedly wide variety of transfer mechanisms.

MicroRNA-like RNAs contribute to the lifestyle transition of Arthrobotrys oligospora

Lifestyle transition is a fundamental mechanism that fungi have evolved to survive and proliferate in different environments. As a typical nematode-trapping fungus, Arthrobotrys oligospora switches from saprophytes to predators on induction of nematode prey. During its induced lifestyle transition, microRNA-like RNAs may play a critical role, which paves new ways for understanding fungal adaptation and pathogenesis.

Scientists discover sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15 per cent in laboratory conditions.


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