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Everyday news through scientist eyes.
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Chlorophyll harnessed for use in nanophotonic applications

Chlorophyll harnessed for use in nanophotonic applications | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Researchers from Aalto University and the University of Helsinki are developing nanostructures in which chlorophylls are bound to synthetic materials.
Biosciencia's insight:

The researchers have successfully identified how light response alters as molecule density increases in structures in which molecules are bound to polymers with noncovalent bonds. The benefits of this type of solution include structural diversity, inexpensive price, ease of production and strong sensitivity to light stimulus. In addition, the positioning of molecules can be optimised to maximize the collection of the absorbed light.

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These Funky Microbes Make Your Favorite Foods More Delicious

These Funky Microbes Make Your Favorite Foods More Delicious | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
In this gallery several scientists helped us explore the biology of some of the microbes that make our food and drink more delicious. Isn't it time you got to know them a little better?
    
Biosciencia's insight:

If you ask me, the best things to eat and drink almost always have a little something funky going on. Cucumbers are OK, but pickles are what I reach for when I want to make a kickass sandwich. Cabbage is boring, but kimchi rocks. When it comes to cheeses, a blue always trumps a jack. Edamame? Edama-meh. Give me miso soup and sake.

What makes these foods better is the hard work of bacteria and fungi.

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UK man has new nose growing on his arm

A British man who lost his nose to cancer is having a new nose made for him by scientists at University College London. The nose is currently being grown ins...
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Cancer victim who lost his nose to disease is growing a new one in his ARM for surgeons to sew back in place.

A British businessman who lost his nose to cancer is growing a new one – in his arm.

If all goes well it will eventually be removed and sewn on to his face, with experts at University College London hoping he will have feeling and a sense of smell.

The new nose, the first in the world to be grown from scratch, will also look just like the 56-year-old man’s old one – slightly crooked.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2266689/Cancer-victim-growing-new-nose-arm-Businessman-lost-organ-disease-hopes-new-sewn-face.html

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Researchers figure out how to 'grow' carbon nanotubes with specific atomic structures

Researchers figure out how to 'grow' carbon nanotubes with specific atomic structures | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Move over, silicon. In a breakthrough in the quest for the next generation of computers and materials, researchers at USC have solved a longstanding challenge with carbon nanotubes: how to actually build them with specific, predictable atomic...
Biosciencia's insight:

If this is an age built on silicon, then the next one may be built on carbon nanotubes, which have shown promise in everything from optics to energy storage to touch screens. Not only are nanotubes transparent, but this research discovery on how to control the atomic structure of nanotubes will pave the way for computers that are smaller, faster and more energy efficient than those reliant on silicon transistors.

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Deadly coronavirus found in bats

Deadly coronavirus found in bats | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Discovery hints at virus’s source, but how it spreads to humans remains unknown.
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An international team of researchers has found a tiny genetic fragment that seems to be from the virus in a faecal sample from an Egyptian tomb bat1. The scientists surveyed 96 bats in Saudi Arabia in October and April, after the first cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) were reported there.

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Gut Microbes for Life | The Scientist Magazine®

Gut Microbes for Life | The Scientist Magazine® | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Most strains of gut microbes stay with us for decades, which may prove useful for tracking our health.
Biosciencia's insight:

We all have trillions of microbes inside our guts, which outnumber our own cells by a factor of 10. Now, a team from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSTL) has shown that this microscopic community is extraordinarily stable. In healthy people, once these microbes are established in the gut early in life, presumably due to contact from close family members, most strains are unwavering in their presence, staying in the gut for decades or longer.

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A solar magnetic reversal means there's no need to flip out—yet

A solar magnetic reversal means there's no need to flip out—yet | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
You may have read the sun's magnetic field is heading for a change in field polarity – meaning it will flip upside down – and could have ripple effects throughout the entire solar system.
Biosciencia's insight:

So, what does this mean for Earth and for the rest of the solar system? The sun's magnetic field dominates the heliosphere, the bubble of ionised gas (plasma) formed by the solar wind and enveloping our solar system out to more than 100-times the sun-Earth distance (100 Astronomical Units).

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The gold standard for cell penetration

The gold standard for cell penetration | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Cells are very good at protecting their precious contents — and as a result, it’s very difficult to penetrate their membrane walls to deliver drugs, nutrients or biosensors without damaging or destroying the cell.
Biosciencia's insight:

Illustration shows the passage of a gold nanoparticle (in orange) covered with a monolayer of hydrophobic/hydrophilic material (shown in blue-green, yellow and red), passing through a cell membrane composed of lipids (white and blue). 

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Neolithic chefs spiced their food

Neolithic chefs spiced their food | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Mineral grains from garlic-mustard seeds found in 6,000-year-old cooking pots.
Biosciencia's insight:

Saul’s team scraped out charred deposits from inside cooking pots found at three sites around the Danish Straits in northern Germany and Denmark, and found phytoliths ranging from about 5 to 11 micrometres across (see micrograph at left). 

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Stem cells: Egg engineers

Stem cells: Egg engineers | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

In a technical tour de force, Japanese researchers created eggs and sperm in the laboratory. Now, scientists have to determine how to use those cells safely — and ethically.

Biosciencia's insight:

When the technology is ready, even more provocative reproductive feats might be possible. For instance, cells from a man's skin could theoretically be used to create eggs that are fertilized with a partner's sperm, then nurtured in the womb of a surrogate. Some doubt, however, that such a feat would ever be possible — the Hinxton Group, an international consortium of scientists that discusses stem-cell ethics and challenges, concluded that it would be difficult to get eggs from male XY cells and sperm from female XX cells.

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Hubble Zooms in on Galaxies in Early Universe

Hubble Zooms in on Galaxies in Early Universe | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

They used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Hubble’s Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS) to explore the shapes and colors of 1,671 extremely distant young galaxies over the last 80 percent of the Universe’s history.

“Finding them this far back in time is a significant discovery,” said Dr Bomee Lee of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, lead author of the study reported in the Astrophysical Journal (preprint at arXiv.org).

Dr Lee’s team confirms for an earlier period than ever before that the shapes and colors of the galaxies fit the visual classification system introduced in 1926 by Edwin Hubble and known as the Hubble Sequence. It classifies galaxies into two main groups: elliptical and spiral galaxies, and lenticular galaxies as a transitional group.

Study second author Dr Mauro Giavalisco, also from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said: “why modern galaxies are divided into these two main types and what caused this difference is a key question of cosmology.”

“Another piece of the puzzle is that we still do not know why today ‘red and dead’ elliptical galaxies are old and unable to form stars, while spirals, like our own Milky Way, keep forming new stars. This is not just a classification scheme, it corresponds to a profound difference in the galaxies’ physical properties and how they were formed.”

Biosciencia's insight:

This diagram shows a slice of the Universe some 11 billion years back in time. On the left of the diagram are the ellipticals, with lenticulars in the middle, and the spirals branching out on the right side

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World's first mission to the Moon's south pole announced

World's first mission to the Moon's south pole announced | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

The world's first mission to the South Pole of the Moon was announced today by the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and Moon Express, Inc. The private enterprise mission will be both scientific and commercial, and will deliver the International Lunar Observatory (ILO) to the Moon's South Pole aboard a Moon Express robotic lander, establishing permanent astrophysical observations and lunar commercial communications systems for professional and amateur researchers.

Biosciencia's insight:

The ILO and its precursor will have an internet-based access and control system and will be the first private space telescope to operate from the lunar surface, available to researchers, educators and the general public through the internet, allowing the world to access Galaxy / astronomical images from the surface of the Moon and creating a new model of "citizen science" public participation and international collaboration.

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Champion nano-rust for producing solar hydrogen

Champion nano-rust for producing solar hydrogen | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
EPFL and Technion researchers have figured out the "champion" nanostructures able to produce hydrogen in the most environmentally friendly and cheap manner, by simply using daylight.
Biosciencia's insight:

Evidently, the long-term goal is to produce hydrogen – the fuel of the future – in an environmentally friendly and especially competitive way. For Michael Grätzel, "current methods, in which a conventional photovoltaic cell is coupled to an electrolyzer for producing hydrogen, cost 15 € per kilo at their cheapest. We're aiming at a € 5 charge per kilo".

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Scientists grow mini human brains from stem cells | Reuters

Scientists grow mini human brains from stem cells | Reuters | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have grown the first mini human brains in a laboratory and say their success could lead to new levels of understanding about the way brains develop and what goes wrong in...
Biosciencia's insight:

Researchers based in Austria started with human stem cells and created a culture in the lab that allowed them to grow into so-called "cerebral organoids" - or mini brains - that consisted of several distinct brain regions.

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Existence of new element confirmed - Lund University

Existence of new element confirmed - Lund University | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Lund University, Sweden, is ranked as one of the world's top 100 universities. We have over 90 international Master's programmes and world class research across eight faculties.
Biosciencia's insight:

An international team of researchers, led by physicists from Lund University, have confirmed the existence of what is considered a new element with atomic number 115. The experiment was conducted at the GSI research facility in Germany. The results confirm earlier measurements performed by research groups in Russia.
This picture shows the Electron shell of Ununpentium (Greg Robson / Pumbaa).

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Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter

Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

Researchers from the FOM Foundation, Delft University of Technology, Toyota Motor Europe and the University of California have developed a nanostructure with which they can make solar cells highly efficient. The researchers published their findings on 23 August 2013 in the online edition of Nature Communications.

Biosciencia's insight:

Smart nanostructures can increase the yield of solar cells. An international team of researchers including physicists from the FOM Foundation, Delft University of Technology and Toyota, have now optimised the nanostructures so that the solar cell provides more electricity and loses less energy in the form of heat. 

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Cocaine Use Leads to Rapid Growth of New Mouse Brain Structures

Cocaine Use Leads to Rapid Growth of New Mouse Brain Structures | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Mice given cocaine showed rapid growth in new brain structures associated with learning and memory, according to a research team from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UCSF.
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Scientists from Gallo Center at UCSF Identify Possible Mechanism for Drug-Seeking Behavior in Humans
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Mouldable all-carbon integrated circuits : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group

Mouldable all-carbon integrated circuits : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

A variety of plastic products, ranging from those for daily necessities to electronics products and medical devices, are produced by moulding techniques. The incorporation of electronic circuits into various plastic products is limited by the brittle nature of silicon wafers. Here we report mouldable integrated circuits for the first time. The devices are composed entirely of carbon-based materials, that is, their active channels and passive elements are all fabricated from stretchable and thermostable assemblies of carbon nanotubes, with plastic polymer dielectric layers and substrates. The all-carbon thin-film transistors exhibit a mobility of 1,027 cm2 V−1 s−1 and an ON/OFF ratio of 105. The devices also exhibit extreme biaxial stretchability of up to 18% when subjected to thermopressure forming. We demonstrate functional integrated circuits that can be moulded into a three-dimensional dome. Such mouldable electronics open new possibilities by allowing for the addition of electronic/plastic-like functionalities to plastic/electronic products, improving their designability.

Biosciencia's insight:

There has been a great deal of research lately on flexible electronics, but so far these devices (which are mostly made of carbon) still use metal electrodes and oxide insulators, and these rigid materials limit device flexibility. Some polymers and ionic liquids have been introduced as flexible alternatives, but have poor performance in terms of high operating voltages and low operating speeds, respectively.

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Scientists Capture Rare Photographs of Red Lightning

Scientists Capture Rare Photographs of Red Lightning | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
Graduate student Jason Ahrns and colleagues hunt the skies for sprites—fleeting streaks and bursts of color that can appear above thunderstorms
Biosciencia's insight:

Sprites, also known as red lightning, are electrical discharges that appear as bursts of red light above clouds during thunderstorms.Because the weather phenomenon is so fleeting (sprites flash for just milliseconds) and for the most part not visible from the ground, they are difficult to observe and even more difficult to photograph, rather like the mischievous air spirits of the fantasy realm that they’re named for. Ahrns and his colleagues, however, have captured extremely rare photographs of the red lightning, using DSLR cameras and high speed video cameras positioned in the plane’s window. The researchers hope to learn more about the physical and chemical processes that give rise to sprites and other forms of upper atmospheric lightning.

What’s it like to capture images of some of nature’s most short-lived and erratic features? I questioned Ahrns over email, and he explained what sprites are, why they occur, how scientists find them and why he’s so interested in the elusive phenomena.

 

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Computer Simulations Indicate Calcium Carbonate Has a Dense Liquid Phase « Berkeley Lab News Center

Computer Simulations Indicate Calcium Carbonate Has a Dense Liquid Phase « Berkeley Lab News Center | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

Artistic rendition of liquid-liquid separation in a supersaturated calcium carbonate solution. New research suggests that a dense liquid phase (shown in red in the background and in full atomistic detail based on computer simulations in the foreground) forms at the onset of calcium carbonate crystallization.

Biosciencia's insight:

Calcium carbonate is a huge player in the planet’s carbon cycle, so any new insight into how it behaves is potentially big news. The prediction of a dense liquid phase during the conversion of calcium carbonate to a solid could help scientists understand the response of marine organisms to changes in seawater chemistry due to rising atmospheric CO2 levels. It could also help them predict the extent to which geological formations can act as carbon storage reservoirs, among other examples.

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Genistein: Soybean-Derived Compound Inhibits HIV | Medicine | Sci-News.com

Genistein: Soybean-Derived Compound Inhibits HIV | Medicine | Sci-News.com | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it
A plant-derived compound named genistein may become an effective HIV treatment without the drug resistance issues faced by current anti-HIV therapies.
Biosciencia's insight:

According to a new study reported in the journal Retrovirology, a plant-derived compound named genistein may become an effective HIV treatment without the drug resistance issues faced by current anti-HIV therapies.

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Nicotine exposure gives baby rats addictive personalities

Nicotine exposure gives baby rats addictive personalities | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

Nicotine affects brain development making future rats more likely to abuse several substances.

Biosciencia's insight:

Rats exposed to nicotine in the womb had more of these cells and produced more of the neuropeptides than those that were not, and this had long-term consequences on their behaviour. As adolescents, they not only self-administered more nicotine, but also ate more fat-rich food and drank more alcohol.

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International team reveals 21 ‘signatures’ in 30 common cancers — Garvan Institute

International team reveals 21 ‘signatures’ in 30 common cancers — Garvan Institute | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

An international team, including scientists from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research and The University of Queensland, has described the mutational processes that drive tumour development in 30 of the most common cancer types.

The discovery, published overnight in Nature, one of the world’s leading scientific journals, could help to treat and prevent a wide range of cancers.
The team analysed 7,042 tumours and identified 21 distinct mutational signatures and the cancer types in which they occur.
Professor Sean Grimmond, from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, said that different mutation-causing processes left different genetic ‘signatures’ in cancer cells.

“All cancers are caused by genetic mutations, and in some cases we know the processes driving them, for example, tobacco smoking in lung cancer, however, our understanding of the causes of mutation in most cancers is remarkably limited,” Professor Grimmond said. 
“This study allows us to pinpoint the root genetic cause of tumour development in common cancers and, in some cases, to identify the biological process that damages the DNA and gives rise to the cancer.”

“For example, we found that a family of enzymes known as APOBECs, which can be activated in response to viruses, is linked to mutations in more than half of the 30 cancer types.” 

All of the cancers contained two or more signatures, reflecting the variety of processes that contribute to cancer development.
Professor Andrew Biankin from the Garvan Institute and the University of Glasgow said some of the mutational signatures are found in multiple cancer types, while others are confined to a single cancer type.
“Twenty-five of the 30 cancers we examined had signatures that arose from mutational processes related to ageing,” Professor Biankin said.

“Childhood cancers showed the fewest mutations whereas cancers that were caused by exposure to known carcinogenics such as tobacco and UV light had the highest prevalence of mutations.
“It is likely we will be able to identify more mutational signatures as more cancers are sequenced and the analysis of these data is further refined.”

The study was led by Ludmil Alexandrov and Professor Sir Mike Stratton from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in London.

“We have identified the majority of the mutational signatures that explain the genetic development and history of cancers in patients,” said Ludmil Alexandrov, first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “We are now beginning to understand the complicated biological processes that occur over time and leave these residual mutational signatures on cancer genomes.”

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Man with the world's most advanced bionic hand can now tie his own shoelaces (and, more importantly, drink beer)

Man with the world's most advanced bionic hand can now tie his own shoelaces (and, more importantly, drink beer) | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

The bionic man fitted with a high-tech robotic hand yesterday showed off his latest upgrade which is so advanced he can now tie his shoelaces again.
Nigel Ackland from Royston, Cambridgeshire, has had his Terminator-like mechanical limb since last November, but it has now been upgraded to make it more sensitive.
And after a recent accident involving a runaway dog which left the 53-year-old missing several robot fingers, designers have also reinforced the limb with stainless steel and titanium.
It means the whole hand is stronger and the upgrade also included insulating pads stop it picking up heat or static electricity.
'Since I was first given the hand they have developed it several times whenever someone who is trialling it notices a design flaw,' Mr Ackland said.
'I was walking the dog and he took off chasing something ripping the lead out of my hand - but unfortunately the fingers came off too.
'So they added stainless steel into the links to make sure they were stronger and could with stand that kind of force again.
'Its crazy I can now tie my shoe laces for the first time in years and play with playing cards. I'm developing my use of the hand more and more daily.
'It really is a whole new quality of life.'

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A Drug Benefitting Families With Fragile X And Autism Is Discontinued

A Drug Benefitting Families With Fragile X And Autism Is Discontinued | Biosciencia News | Scoop.it

For Holly Roo, mother of a child with fragile X syndrome, the drug arbaclofen allowed her son Parker to accomplish the unimaginable: express himself. But after more than 3 years of trials, Seaside Therapeutics, the drug's sole manufacturer discontinued the drug, leaving the Roos and other families dependent on arbaclofen at a loss.

Biosciencia's insight:

One of many families sharing their positive experience with arbaclofen, known experimentally as STX209, a drug for fragile X syndrome and autism, which was discontinued in May.

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