Monday, June 5, 2017

Science X Newsletter Week 22

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 22:

CRISPR gene editing can cause hundreds of unintended mutations

As CRISPR-Cas9 starts to move into clinical trials, a new study published in Nature Methods has found that the gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome.

Tea consumption leads to epigenetic changes in women

Epigenetic changes are chemical modifications that turn our genes off or on. In a new study from Uppsala University, researchers show that tea consumption in women leads to epigenetic changes in genes that are known to interact with cancer and estrogen metabolism. The results are published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

LIGO detects gravitational waves for third time

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has made a third detection of gravitational waves, ripples in space and time, demonstrating that a new window in astronomy has been firmly opened. As was the case with the first two detections, the waves were generated when two black holes collided to form a larger black hole.

Diamond needles emit intense bunches of electrons when illuminated by light

(Phys.org)—For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that shining a nanosecond pulsed laser at the base of a 100-┬Ám-long diamond needle can significantly enhance electron emission from the tip of the needle. The ability to control electron emission with light in this way has potential applications in portable X-ray sources, electron microscopes, and sensors.

30 pages of calculations settle a 30-year debate over a mysterious new phase of matter

Zoom in on a crystal and you will find an ordered array of atoms, evenly spaced like the windows on the Empire State Building. But zoom in on a piece of glass, and the picture looks a bit messier—more like a random pile of sand, or perhaps the windows on a Frank Gehry building.

The world's most powerful X-ray laser beam creates 'molecular black hole'

When scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory focused the full intensity of the world's most powerful X-ray laser on a small molecule, they got a surprise: A single laser pulse stripped all but a few electrons out of the molecule's biggest atom from the inside out, leaving a void that started pulling in electrons from the rest of the molecule, like a black hole gobbling a spiraling disk of matter.

Test of general relativity could potentially generate new gravitational models

A UCLA-led team has discovered a new way of probing the hypothetical fifth force of nature using two decades of observations at W. M. Keck Observatory, the world's most scientifically productive ground-based telescope.

Citizen scientists uncover a cold new world near sun

A new citizen-science tool released earlier this year to help astronomers pinpoint new worlds lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system has already led to a discovery: a brown dwarf a little more than 100 light years away from the Sun. Just six days after the launch of the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 website in February, four different users alerted the science team to the curious object, whose presence has since been confirmed via an infrared telescope. Details were recently published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Do stars fall quietly into black holes, or crash into something utterly unknown?

Astronomers at The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University have put a basic principle of black holes to the test, showing that matter completely vanishes when pulled in. Their results constitute another successful test for Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

A new spin on electronics: Study discovers a 'miracle material' for field of spintronics

A University of Utah-led team has discovered that a class of "miracle materials" called organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites could be a game changer for future spintronic devices.

The first genome data from ancient Egyptian mummies

An international team of scientists, led by researchers from the University of Tuebingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, successfully recovered and analyzed ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies dating from approximately 1400 BCE to 400 CE, including the first genome-wide nuclear data from three individuals, establishing ancient Egyptian mummies as a reliable source for genetic material to study the ancient past. The study, published today in Nature Communications, found that modern Egyptians share more ancestry with Sub-Saharan Africans than ancient Egyptians did, whereas ancient Egyptians were found to be most closely related to ancient people from the Near East.

'Instantly rechargeable' battery could change the future of electric and hybrid automobiles

A technology developed by Purdue researchers could provide an "instantly rechargeable" method that is safe, affordable and environmentally friendly for recharging electric and hybrid vehicle batteries through a quick and easy process similar to refueling a car at a gas station.

NASA to launch first-ever neutron-star mission

Nearly 50 years after British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell discovered the existence of rapidly spinning neutron stars, NASA will launch the world's first mission devoted to studying these unusual objects.

Two giant, rare 'corpse' flowers bloom in Chicago

It is unusual enough to see one of nature's biggest, rarest—not to mention smelliest—flowers bloom. But it is extraordinary to see two bloom at once.

Collagen from a Tyrannosaurus rex bone proves Jurassic Park will never exist

Palaeontologists at the University of Manchester have definitively proven there will never be a Jurassic Park after re-analysing collagen from a Tyrannosaurus rex bone discovered more than a decade ago.

New antibiotic packs a punch against bacterial resistance

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have given new superpowers to a lifesaving antibiotic called vancomycin, an advance that could eliminate the threat of antibiotic-resistant infections for years to come. The researchers, led by Dale Boger, co-chair of TSRI's Department of Chemistry, discovered a way to structurally modify vancomycin to make an already-powerful version of the antibiotic even more potent.

Common antioxidant could slow symptoms of aging in human skin

New work from the University of Maryland suggests that a common, inexpensive and safe chemical could slow the aging of human skin. The researchers found evidence that the chemical—an antioxidant called methylene blue—could slow or reverse several well-known signs of aging when tested in cultured human skin cells and simulated skin tissue. The study was published online in the journal Scientific Reports on May 30, 2017.

U.S. now can ask travelers for Facebook, Twitter handles

Travelers wishing to visit the United States can now be asked for their social media handles and email addresses going back five years, a new U.S. government request that's alarmed privacy advocates but which the Trump Administration says could help weed out travelers who intend harm.

Exposure to specific toxins and nutrients during late pregnancy and early life correlates with autism risk

Using evidence found in baby teeth, researchers from The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory and The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai found that differences in the uptake of multiple toxic and essential elements over the second and third trimesters and early postnatal periods are associated with the risk of developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to a study published June 1 in the journal Nature Communications. The critical developmental windows for the observed discrepancies varied for each element, suggesting that systemic dysregulation of environmental pollutants and dietary elements may serve an important role in ASD. In addition to identifying specific environmental factors that influence risk, the study also pinpointed developmental time periods when elemental dysregulation poses the biggest risk for autism later in life.

Breaking Newton's Law: Intriguing oscillatory back-and-forth motion of a quantum particle

A ripe apple falling from a tree has inspired Sir Isaac Newton to formulate a theory that describes the motion of objects subject to a force. Newton's equations of motion tell us that a moving body keeps on moving on a straight line unless any disturbing force may change its path. The impact of Newton's laws is ubiquitous in our everyday experience, ranging from a skydiver falling in the earth's gravitational field, over the inertia one feels in an accelerating airplane, to the earth orbiting around the sun.


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