“Microbial communities run the world,” says Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “People always laugh when I say that,” she adds. “But it’s true.” Our rich new understanding of microbial communities and their influence on human health or crop productivity has led to the dream of changing
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A 30-year gap separates countries with the highest and lowest ages at which people experience the health problems of a 65-year-old, according to a new scientific study. Researchers found 76-year-olds in Japan and 46-year-olds in Papua New Guinea have the same level of age-related health problems as an “average” person aged 65. “These disparate findings
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Using the Southwest Research Institute-led Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how LAMP measurements of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterize lunar hydration changes
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The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been making ripples in the scientific community ever since its mechanisms were proposed in 2012. Commonly referred to as a genome editing tool, many scientists have found different applications for the scissor-like properties of the Cas9-protein. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK Gatersleben) have
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Researchers from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have created a novel way to define individual protein associations in a quick, efficient, and informative way. These findings, published in the March 8, 2019, issue of Nature Communications, show how the topological scoring (TopS) algorithm, created by Stowers researchers, can — by combining data sets —
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Researchers in the College of Science and College of Engineering have discovered that a high-strength polymer called “PBDT” has a rare double helix structure, opening possibilities for use in a variety of applications. This discovery, recently published in Nature Communications, comes as an extension of the development of a polymer ion-gel, which promises to outperform
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It’s widely accepted within agriculture that maintaining genetic diversity is important. In areas where crop plants are more diverse, pathogens might kill some plants but are less likely to wipe out an entire crop. Few studies, however, have focused on such highly specialized pathogens in natural plant communities. In diverse plant communities, pathogens are thought
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A host protein called Serum Amyloid A (Saa) is a major factor mediating the effects of the microbiota on the function of immune cells called neutrophils, according to a study published March 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by John Rawls of Duke University School of Medicine, and colleagues. Experiments in zebrafish showed that
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Chimpanzees exhibit exceptionally high levels of behavioral diversity compared to all other non-human species. This diversity has been documented in a variety of contexts, including the extraction of food resources, communication and thermoregulation. Many of these behaviors are assumed to be socially learned and group-specific, supporting the existence of chimpanzee cultures. As all other great
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While spectroscopic measurements are normally averaged over myriad molecules, a new method developed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) provides precise information about the interaction of individual molecules with their environment. This will accelerate the identification of efficient molecules for future photovoltaic technologies, for example. An international team led by the TUM
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Academic learning is about gaining new knowledge and skill, but only recently has it been possible to see new knowledge appear in a human brain. A new study from Carnegie Mellon University researchers using multiple imaging modalities shows that learning scientific information results in changes in the actual structure of memory-related areas of the brain,
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North Carolina State University researchers have uncovered how a complex network of transcription factors switch wood formation genes on and off. Understanding this transcriptional regulatory network has applications for modifying wood properties for timber, paper and biofuels, as well as making forest trees more disease- and pest-resistant. “We’re building a complete story, so to speak,
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Scientists have developed a method to boost the efficiency of CRISPR gene editing in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), according to a study that could have implications for optimizing gene therapies for other diseases. The finding stemmed from research at UT Southwestern in which a single-cut gene-editing technique was used on mice and human cells to
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With a few genetic tweaks, a type of soil bacteria with an appetite for hydrocarbons shows promise as a biological factory for converting a renewable — but frustratingly untapped — bounty into a replacement for ubiquitous plastics. Researchers, like those at the University of Wisconsin-Madison-based, Department of Energy-funded Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, hoping to
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In the blink of an eye, the squid’s “smart skin” switches color and pattern for the purpose of camouflage or sexual signaling, a virtuosic display that has long fascinated scientists. Now, collaborators from Northeastern University and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) report a paradigm-shifting discovery in how specialized organs in squid skin, called chromatophores, contribute
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A diet containing compounds found in green tea and carrots reversed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice genetically programmed to develop the disease, USC researchers say. Researchers emphasize that the study, recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, was in mice, and many mouse discoveries never translate into human treatments. Nevertheless, the findings lend credence to
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Some wetlands perform better under pressure. A new study revealed that when faced with sea-level rise, coastal wetlands respond by burying even more carbon in their soils. Coastal wetlands, which include marshes, mangroves and seagrasses, already store carbon more efficiently than any other natural ecosystem, including forests. The latest study, published March 7 in the
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Physicists have used a seven-qubit quantum computer to simulate the scrambling of information inside a black hole, heralding a future in which entangled quantum bits might be used to probe the mysterious interiors of these bizarre objects. Scrambling is what happens when matter disappears inside a black hole. The information attached to that matter —
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Viruses depend on host cells for replication, but how does a virus induce its host to transcribe its own genetic information alongside that of the virus, thus producing daughter viruses? For decades, researchers have been studying a type of bacteriophage known as ‘lambda’ to try and find an answer to this question. Using high-resolution cryo-electron
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A new study published in Global Change Biology and coauthored by researchers from UT, explores how climate, evolution, plants, and soils are linked. The research is the first to show how climate-driven evolution in tree populations alters the way trees directly interact with their immediate soil environment. By surveying 17 naturally occurring populations of narrowleaf
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“They eat and sleep while they are airborne. This is something that researchers have believed since the 1950s, and now we can show that it’s true,” says Anders Hedenström, professor at the Department of Biology at Lund University. Three years ago, the same research team at Lund University observed that within the species common swift,
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How much do you know about the structure of your body? The bones that hold you upright and help you swipe, scroll and text? Author Brian Switek was already a paleontologist, studying the bones of dinosaurs when he realized that he actually didn’t know much about the 206 (ish, more on that later) bones that
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Scientists are puzzling out how to address the declining numbers of northern spotted owls (NSO) in their Pacific Northwest forest habitat. A new study in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecological Applications explores the reasons why spotted owls are losing a foothold in their habitat, forecasts future habitat conditions and species interactions, and suggests
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In a recent study, University of Montana researchers explored the ways forest succession and climate variability interacted and influenced fires in Alaska’s boreal forests over the past four centuries — from 1550 to 2015. “We reconstructed fire activity over the last 450 years using lake-sediment records,” said Tyler Hoecker, the study’s lead author. As part
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A new tungsten-based alloy developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory can withstand unprecedented amounts of radiation without damage. Essential for extreme irradiation environments such as the interiors of magnetic fusion reactors, previously explored materials have thus far been hobbled by weakness against fracture, but this new alloy seems to defeat that problem. “This material showed
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Last August, Abdelrhman Mohamed found himself hiking deep into the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Unlike thousands of tourists who trek to admire the park’s iconic geysers and hot springs every year, the WSU graduate student was traveling with a team of scientists to hunt for life within them. After a strenuous seven mile walk
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Professor Amy Webb says that ““we are entering a period in which you can be expected to talk to machines for the rest of your life.” She’s a tech futurist at New York University. And she says there are just nine companies controlling the future of artificial intelligence. They are the American companies Amazon, Apple,
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New research published today in Scientific Reports has devised a way to track tiny message-carriers in the brain that could prove useful in diagnosing and treating injuries, infections or diseases. The study, from assistant professor David Feliciano’s lab in Clemson’s College of Science, uses a glowing mouse — appropriately dubbed the “TIGER mouse” — to
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Very small steps make a big difference to researchers who want to create large wafers of two-dimensional material. Atom-sized steps in a substrate provide the means for 2D crystals growing in a chemical vapor furnace to come together in perfect rank. Scientists have recently observed this phenomenon, and now a Rice University group has an
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