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Hair Regrowth Discovery Suggests Skin Cells Communicate Like Bacteria

Hair Regrowth Discovery Suggests Skin Cells Communicate Like Bacteria | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A chemical signaling system called quorum sensing allows those single-celled bugs to detect when their numbers have multiplied enough to mount an effective attack or emit glowing light. Yet decades after scientists learned about this brainless bacterial coordination a research team has uncovered new evidence suggesting animal cells may speak the same lingo.
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Madagascar's bark spider (Caerostris darwini) makes up to 82 feet large orb nets, 10 x stronger than Kevlar

Madagascar's bark spider (Caerostris darwini) makes up to 82 feet large orb nets, 10 x stronger than Kevlar | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

The web of the Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini), can span some square feet (2.8 square meters) and is attached to each riverbank by anchor threads as long as 82 feet (25 meters).

 

Scientists have found the toughest material made by life yet — the silk of a spider whose giant webs span rivers, streams and even lakes. Spider silks were already the toughest known biomaterials, able to absorb massive amounts of energy before breaking. However, researchers have now revealed the Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini) has the toughest silk ever seen — more than twice as tough as any previously described silk, and more than 10 times stronger than Kevlar.

 

Although scientists have investigated silks from 20-to-30 species of spiders before, most of these were chosen haphazardly — for instance, from researchers' backyards. There are over 40,000 species of spiders and each spider can produce up to seven different kinds of silk. Thus, more than 99.99 percent of spider silks are yet to be explored.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Phys.Org Mobile: Evolution of life's operating system revealed in detail

Phys.Org Mobile: Evolution of life's operating system revealed in detail | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
the ribosome: "The core of the ribosome is essentially the same in all living systems, while the outer regions expand and become complicated as species gain complexity. By digitally peeling back the layers of modern ribosomes in the new study, scientists were able to model the structures of primordial ribosomes."
Sharrock's insight:
man's ever-increasing understanding of the organelles and processes will lead to more approaches to many other scientific fields and to new technology.
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After 22 million years, hummingbird evolution is still soaring

After 22 million years, hummingbird evolution is still soaring | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds and the smallest warm-blooded animals on Earth. They have the fastest heart and the fastest metabolism of any vertebrate. They are the only birds that can fly backward. And according to a new report they also have a complicated evolutionary history.

 

Researchers constructed the family tree of these nectar-eating birds using genetic information from most of the world's 338 hummingbird species and their closest relatives. They say hummingbirds can be divided into nine groups, with differences in size, habitat, feeding strategy and body shape.

 

The common ancestor to all species in existence today lived about 22 million years ago in South America, several million years after hummingbirds were known to be flourishing in Europe, they write. Today's hummingbirds are found only in the Americas.

 

They boast a unique set of capabilities, says University of New Mexico ornithologist Christopher Witt, one of the scientists in the study published in the journal Current Biology.

 

They can hover stationarily or move in any direction with precision, even in a strong wind. They also have the highest rate of energy consumption per gram of any animal. Hummingbirds come in a spectacular range of colours, with males more colourful than females. They often have green feathers on the body, with the head coming in "virtually every colour you can imagine: gold, red, blue, purple, magenta, often iridescent," says biologist Jimmy McGuire of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study.


Molecular phylogenetics and the diversification of hummingbirds (Current Biology, April 2014)The McGuire lab
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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6 Terrifying New Creatures Science Just Discovered

6 Terrifying New Creatures Science Just Discovered | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
While we at Cracked like to regularly terrify our readers with tales of all the frightening creatures we share the planet with, we should always keep one thing in mind: Nature is always finding ways to top itself.
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Flipper Fail: Dolphins May be Dumber Than We Think

Flipper Fail: Dolphins May be Dumber Than We Think | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
For decades, it's been common knowledge that dolphins are among the world's smartest species. Now some researchers -- and a new book -- argue the supposed underwater geniuses aren't so special after all.
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Excerpt: "Manger described an unusually high density of so-called glial cells in the animals' brain matter. He explained that these cells act like tiny ovens to keep the brain warm. Besides, he added, dolphins have a relatively simple brain structure, and noted: "The essential features of complex neural processing of information, as observed in other mammals, are missing or poorly developed."

 
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Vegetarian piranha and cat-purring monkey among newly discovered species in the Amazon basin

Vegetarian piranha and cat-purring monkey among newly discovered species in the Amazon basin | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

A purring monkey, a vegetarian piranha and a flame-patterned lizard are among the most fascinating species to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest over the last four years. At least 441 species of plant and animal were found in the Amazon basin between 2010 and 2013. The flora and fauna has been catalogued by the World Wide Fund (WWF).

The list includes 258 plants, 84 fish, 58 amphibians, 22 reptiles, 18 birds and one mammal.

 

Countless insects and other invertebrates discovered that were not listed. The report was produced as part of an initiative run by WWF and Sky to help save the rainforests. I Love Amazon Week runs between 21 and 27 October 2013. 

 

Damian Fleming, head of programmes for Brazil and the Amazon at WWF-UK, said: "The more scientists look, the more they find. With an average of two new species identified every week for the past four years, it's clear that the extraordinary Amazon remains one of the most important centres of global biodiversity."

 

The mammal discovered was a purring monkey. The Caqueta titi monkey is one of about 20 species of titi monkey, all of which live in the Amazon basin. It is already considered critically endangered.

 

Thomas Defler, one of the scientists who discovered the species, said the young Caqueta titi monkeys have a particularly endearing trait: "When they feel very content they purr towards each other."

 

The Gonatodes timidus lizard has flamed "warpaint" colouring and was found in the part of the Amazon that extends into Guyana. Despite their aggressive pigmentation, the species is very shy and avoids humans.

 

A frog the size of a thimble, an Allobates amissibilis, was found in an area set to be opened to tourists, raising concerns that the already endangered species could face further threat and "may be lost" due to human activity.

 

The vegetarian piranha found living in rocky rapids was named the Tometes camunani and is in danger of losing its main food source because of mining activity threatening the flow of its river home. "The richness of the Amazon's forests and freshwater habitats continues to amaze the world," Fleming said.

 

"But these same habitats are also under growing threat. The discovery of these new species reaffirms the importance of stepping-up commitments to conserve and sustainably manage the unique biodiversity and also the goods and services provided by the rainforests to the people and businesses of the region."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch

Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch. A team of scientists has taken a major step toward developing robot biologists.
Sharrock's insight:

I wonder what's been developed since this article was published...

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Genomic Science Program Systems Biology Knowledgebase for a New Era in Biology

Genomic Science Program Systems Biology Knowledgebase for a New Era in Biology | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The Genomic Science program defines the Knowledgebase as an integrated experimental framework for accessing, analyzing, modeling, and testing diverse data on complex biological systems.

Via Bronwen Evans
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Circadian Surprise: How Our Body Clocks Help Shape Our Waistlines

Circadian Surprise: How Our Body Clocks Help Shape Our Waistlines | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
scientists have made a cool discovery: We have different clocks in virtually every organ of our bodies — from our pancreas to our stomach to our fat cells.

"Yes, there are clocks in all the cells of your body," explains Fred Turek, a circadian scientist at Northwestern University. "It was a discovery that surprised many of us."
Sharrock's insight:

I've seen this in other research, especially regarding perception and cognition. Charisma, for example, is correlated with speed (frequency) and volume (amplitude) of speech/delivery and the intensity of gestures. Increasingly, research points to how we socially analyze based on timing. 

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The Search for Missing Frogs Brings Some Species Back From the Dead

The Search for Missing Frogs Brings Some Species Back From the Dead | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A six-month search for frogs that hadn't been seen in decades brings some species back from the dead.
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Epigenetics 101: a beginner’s guide to explaining everything

Epigenetics 101: a beginner’s guide to explaining everything | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Cath Ennis: The word ‘epigenetics’ is everywhere these days, from academic journals and popular science articles to ads touting miracle cures. But what is epigenetics, and why is it so important?

Epigenetics is one of the hottest fields in the life sciences. It’s a phenomenon with wide-ranging, powerful effects on many aspects of biology, and enormous potential in human medicine. As such, its ability to fill in some of the gaps in our scientific knowledge is mentioned everywhere from academic journals to the mainstream media to some of the less scientifically rigorous corners of the Internet.

The basics

Epigenetics is essentially additional information layered on top of the sequence of letters (strings of molecules called A, C, G, and T) that makes up DNA.

If you consider a DNA sequence as the text of an instruction manual that explains how to make a human body, epigenetics is as if someone's taken a pack of highlighters and used different colours to mark up different parts of the text in different ways. For example, someone might use a pink highlighter to mark parts of the text that need to be read the most carefully, and a blue highlighter to mark parts that aren't as important.

There are different types of epigenetic marks, and each one tells the proteins in the cell to process those parts of the DNA in certain ways. For example, DNA can be tagged with tiny molecules called methyl groups that stick to some of its C letters. Other tags can be added to proteins called histones that are closely associated with DNA. There are proteins that specifically seek out and bind to these methylated areas, and shut it down so that the genes in that region are inactivated in that cell. So methylation is like a blue highlighter telling the cell "you don't need to know about this section right now."


Via Wildcat2030
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Marrying tissue engineering with systems biology - MIT News Office

Marrying tissue engineering with systems biology - MIT News Office | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Linda Griffith combines in vitro models with deep molecular analysis to accelerate drug discovery.
Sharrock's insight:

This amazes me: “All the blood in your intestine immediately goes to the liver, which regulates your metabolism, but your gut’s also filled with microbes, and little pieces of microbes leak across the gut wall all the time and interact with the immune system in the liver,” she explains. “If you get a gastrointestinal disease or take a drug that changes the gut permeability, now all of a sudden the liver can see a lot more bacterial products than it’s used to, and it can get inflamed. That may be okay, but if you’re taking a drug or you have some kind of stress, you may harm your liver.”

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33rd Square: Supercomputer Used To Decode the Way Cells Perceive Light

33rd Square: Supercomputer Used To Decode the Way Cells Perceive Light | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Researchers have found that the melanopsin pigment in the eye is potentially more sensitive to light than its more famous counterpart, rhodopsin, the pigment that allows for night vision.
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33rd Square | Volition as a Key To Artificial General Intelligence

33rd Square | Volition as a Key To Artificial General Intelligence | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Volition, like intelligence, is an element of interest and utility to both philosophers and researchers in artificial intelligence. Could looking at the biological roots of volition help define a way to approach artificial general intelligence?


Via LeapMind
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The Biggest Organism on Earth

The Biggest Organism on Earth | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Pointing out what the biggest animal or organism on Earth is might seem like a pretty easy thing to do, but first appearances can be quite deceiving.
Sharrock's insight:

This video takes less than 3 minutes to explore the question. I noted that it is also a critical thinking piece because of the problem's distinctions. It also explores the process of questioning and questions in general. It is not so simple trying to define and find the biggest obranism on Earth.

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Fifteen Influencers Shaping Digital Health | Bionic.ly

Fifteen Influencers Shaping Digital Health | Bionic.ly | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

The digital health ecosystem is advancing at a rapid pace and it’s an exciting time to be on the cusp of a health revolution. Like all revolutions, a revolutionary – or revolutionaries – are required to challenge the status quo and bring about change to the system either through brute force or, in digital health’s case, doing things better, cheaper and more innovatively. While the list below is totally subjective it’s a good start to identify those that are making a difference in health by merging the worlds of biology and technology together.

In no particular order.


Via ehealthgr
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