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Anatronica | Interactive 3D Human Anatomy | Explore Human Body

Anatronica is a free online interactive 3D anatomy study aid, desktop application for Windows and MacOS and app for Android and iOS devices. Best interactive human body anatomy 3d viewer.
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Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s | NetBiology | Scoop.it
A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, accordin...
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Bioengineering: Evolved to overcome Bt-toxin resistance

Bioengineering: Evolved to overcome Bt-toxin resistance | NetBiology | Scoop.it

"Since becoming commercially available in 1996, crops that produce Bt toxins have been widely adopted, and more than 420 million hectares have been planted around the world2. However, insect resistance quickly emerged as a major threat to the long-term success of such crops2. In a paper online in Nature, Badran et al.3 present an elegant method for the continuous evolution of engineered Bt toxins, and describe a toxin that targets a new receptor on insect cells and thus overcomes existing resistance."

The paper, "Continuous evolution of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins overcomes insect resistance" is here:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature17938.html


Via Mary Williams
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whirlcottage's comment, April 28, 7:08 AM
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New Stem Cell Treatment "Switches Off" Type 1 Diabetes

New Stem Cell Treatment "Switches Off" Type 1 Diabetes | NetBiology | Scoop.it
For those with type 1 diabetes, regularly injecting themselves with insulin is part and parcel of their daily lives. This form of treatment hasn’t advanced much for nearly a century, so it will come as good news that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are on the verge of a breakthrough.
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Venus Flytraps Counts the Prey's Movements

Venus Flytraps Counts the Prey's Movements | NetBiology | Scoop.it

If you accidentally get transformed into a fly, and get caught in a Venus flytrap, here is some valuable advice: Don’t panic. “If you just sit there and wait, the next morning, the trap will open and you can leave,” says Ranier Hedrich from the University of Würzburg. “It you panic, you induce a deadly cycle of disintegration.”

 

Hedrich and others have found that the Venus flytrap can count the number of times that its victims touch the sensory hairs on its leaves. One touch does nothing. Two closes the trap. Three primes the trap for digestion. And five,according to Hedrich’s latest study, triggers the production of digestive enzymes—and more touches mean more enzymes. The plant apportions its digestive efforts according to the struggles of its prey. And the fly, by fighting for its life, tells the plant to start killing it, and how vigorously to do so.

 

The Venus flytrap has captivated scientists for centuries, perhaps because of how un-plant-like it is. It captures and eats animals. Its leaves look unnervingly like fang-lined mouths. It moves quickly, with each of its traps closing shut in a tenth of a second. It has, on occasion, a fantastic singing voice. It is, as Charles Darwin said, “one of the most wonderful [plants] in the world.” To understand his admiration, it helps to slow things down, and see exactly what happens when the flytrap traps.

 

Video


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Memory capacity of brain is 10 times more than previously thought

Memory capacity of brain is 10 times more than previously thought | NetBiology | Scoop.it

Salk researchers and collaborators have achieved critical insight into the size of neural connections, putting the memory capacity of the brain far higher than common estimates. The new work also answers a longstanding question as to how the brain is so energy efficient, and could help engineers build computers that are incredibly powerful but also conserve energy.

 

“This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience,” says Terry Sejnowski, Salk professor and co-senior author of the paper, which was published in eLife. “We discovered the key to unlocking the design principle for how hippocampal neurons function with low energy but high computation power. Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte (1 quadrillion or 1015 bytes), in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”

 

“When we first reconstructed every dendrite, axon, glial process, and synapse* from a volume of hippocampus the size of a single red blood cell, we were somewhat bewildered by the complexity and diversity amongst the synapses,” says Kristen Harris, co-senior author of the work and professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas, Austin. “While I had hoped to learn fundamental principles about how the brain is organized from these detailed reconstructions, I have been truly amazed at the precision obtained in the analyses of this report.”

 

The Salk team, while building a 3D reconstruction of rat hippocampus tissue (the memory center of the brain), noticed something unusual. In some cases, a single axon from one neuron formed two synapses reaching out to a single dendrite of a second neuron, signifying that the first neuron seemed to be sending a duplicate message to the receiving neuron.

 

At first, the researchers didn’t think much of this duplicity, which occurs about 10 percent of the time in the hippocampus. But Tom Bartol, a Salk staff scientist, had an idea: if they could measure the difference between two very similar synapses such as these, they might glean insight into synaptic sizes, which so far had only been classified in the field as small, medium and large.

 

“We were amazed to find that the difference in the sizes of the pairs of synapses were very small, on average, only about eight percent different in size. No one thought it would be such a small difference. This was a curveball from nature,” says Bartol. Because the memory capacity of neurons is dependent upon synapse size, this eight percent difference turned out to be a key number the team could then plug into their algorithmic models of the brain to measure how much information could potentially be stored in synaptic connections.

 

It was known before that the range in sizes between the smallest and largest synapses was a factor of 60 and that most are small. But armed with the knowledge that synapses of all sizes could vary in increments as little as eight percent between sizes within a factor of 60, the team determined there could be about 26 categories of sizes of synapses, rather than just a few.

 

“Our data suggests there are 10 times more discrete sizes of synapses than previously thought,” says Bartol. In computer terms, 26 sizes of synapses correspond to about 4.7 “bits” of information. Previously, it was thought that the brain was capable of just one to two bits for short and long memory storage in the hippocampus.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment

Childhood Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of childhood acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and other myeloproliferative disorders.
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Why mice have longer sperm than elephants

Why mice have longer sperm than elephants | NetBiology | Scoop.it

In the animal world, if several males mate with the same female, their sperm compete to fertilize her limited supply of eggs. Longer sperm often seem to have a competitive advantage. However, a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Zurich and Stockholm now reveals that the size of the animals also matters. The larger the animal, the more important the number of sperm is relative to sperm length. That's why elephants have smaller sperm than mice.

 

Based on their joint consideration of sperm size and number, and with the aid of new meta-analytical methods, the two researchers now reveal that species facing intense sperm competition invest more in their ejaculates on average than their monogamous counterparts. Moreover, they discovered that whether the length or the number of sperm is more important actually depends on the size of the animals. The bigger the animal, the greater the selection pressure on the overall investments in ejaculates and the more important the number of sperm becomes compared to sperm length. This is due to the more voluminous female reproductive tract, in which the sperm tend to get lost or become "diluted."

In larger species, sperm length or speed probably comes into effect only if a sufficient number of sperm manage to get near the egg. In smaller species, however, the distance for sperm to cover is shorter and the risk of loss much smaller, allowing the advantage of longer sperm to manifest itself. As a result, you tend to find the most complex sperm forms in small species, not in large ones. For instance, small fruit flies have the longest sperm ever described, not whales, whose sperm are less than a tenth of a millimeter long and almost a thousand times shorter than those of the flies.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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MIT finger reader reads to the blind in real time

MIT finger reader reads to the blind in real time | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

 

The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.


Reading is as easy as pointing the finger at text. Special software tracks the finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script, said Roy Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab.


For Jerry Berrier, 62, who was born blind, the promise of the FingerReader is its portability and offer of real-time functionality at school, a doctor’s office and restaurants.


“When I go to the doctor’s office, there may be forms that I wanna read before I sign them,” Berrier said. He said there are other optical character recognition devices on the market for those with vision impairments, but none that he knows of that will read in real time.


Berrier manages training and evaluation for a federal program that distributes technology to low-income people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island who have lost their sight and hearing. He works from the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts.


“Everywhere we go, for folks who are sighted, there are things that inform us about the products that we are about to interact with. I wanna be able to interact with those same products, regardless of how I have to do it,” Berrier said.


Pattie Maes, an MIT professor who founded and leads the Fluid Interfaces research group developing the prototype, says the FingerReader is like “reading with the tip of your finger and it’s a lot more flexible, a lot more immediate than any solution that they have right now.”


Developing the gizmo has taken three years of software coding, experimenting with various designs and working on feedback from a test group of visually impaired people. Much work remains before it is ready for the market, Shilkrot said, including making it work on cellphones.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Global warming could suffocate life on Earth as oxygen levels fall as soon as 2100, study shows

Global warming could suffocate life on Earth as oxygen levels fall as soon as 2100, study shows | NetBiology | Scoop.it

Falling oxygen levels caused by global warming could be a greater threat to the survival of life on planet Earth than flooding, according to researchers from the University of Leicester published in Bulletin of Mathematical Biology.

 

A study led by Sergei Petrovskii, Professor in Applied Mathematics from the University of Leicester’s Department of Mathematics, has shown that an increase in the water temperature of the world’s oceans of around six degrees Celsius – which some scientists predict could occur as soon as 2100 – could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton by disrupting the process of photosynthesis.

 

“Global warming has been a focus of attention of science and politics for about two decades now,” Professor Petrovskii explained. “A lot has been said about its expected disastrous consequences; perhaps the most notorious is the global flooding that may result from melting of Antarctic ice if the warming exceeds a few degrees compared to the pre-industrial level. However, it now appears that this is probably not the biggest danger that the warming can cause to the humanity.”

 

“About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton – and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale,” he added. “This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans.”

The team developed a new model of oxygen production in the ocean that takes into account basic interactions in the plankton community, such as oxygen production in photosynthesis, oxygen consumption because of plankton breathing and zooplankton feeding on phytoplankton.

 

While mainstream research often focuses on the CO2 cycle, as carbon dioxide is the agent mainly responsible for global warming, few researchers have explored the effects of global warming on oxygen production.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Leonardo Wild's curator insight, December 2, 2015 8:20 AM

And "they" continue to use the wrong terminology—very anthropocentric, very short-sighted—regarding "global warming" as a statistics that shows the "Global" but hides the Essentials—like a bikini. What we are facing is not a statistical increase in "median average temperature" but the effects of extreme weather as the complex climate system swings wider and wider. This is Climate Change, not "global warming." But thus the misnomer continues, and those who oppose it have all the right to say: "Global Warming? Really?" It is the extremes that will cause the destruction, not the "average" as a "triangulation" based on a single point of reference.

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Want a Stronger Defense System against Diseases? Add Some Worms

Want a Stronger Defense System against Diseases? Add Some Worms | NetBiology | Scoop.it
The immune system has evolved alongside worms and bacteria in an evolutionary tug of war , which may have shaped the body's defenses
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Beyond Condoms: The Long Quest for a Better Male Contraceptive

Beyond Condoms: The Long Quest for a Better Male Contraceptive | NetBiology | Scoop.it
For decades new, reliable contraceptives for men have seemed imminent. Why isn't there one available yet?
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Exosomes - History and Promise

Exosomes - History and Promise | NetBiology | Scoop.it
It was discovered some time ago that eukaryotic cells regularly secrete such structures as microvesicles, macromolecular complexes, and small molecules into their ambient environment. Exosomes are one of the types of natural nanoparticles (or nanovesicles) that have shown promise in many areas of research, diagnostics and therapy. They are small lipid membrane vesicles (30-120 nm) generated by fusion of cytoplasmic endosomal multivesicular bodies within the cell surface. Exosomes are found throughout the body in such fluids as blood, saliva, urine, and breast milk. Furthermore, all types of cells secrete them in in vitro culture. It is believed that they have many natural functions, including acting as transporters of nucleic acids (mostly RNA), cytosolic proteins and metabolites to many cells, tissues or organs throughout the body. Much remains to be understood regarding how they are formed, as well as of their targeting and ultimate physiological activity. But many don’t realize that some activities have been rather thoroughly demonstrated─ such as their function in some sort of either local or more systemic intercellular communication.
Exosomes as ToolsGeneral interest in exosomes is now growing for many reasons. One is because of the observation of their natural activity with antigen-presenting cells and in immune responses in the body. Their potential as very powerful biomedical tools of both diagnostic and therapeutic value is now being more widely reported. Applications described include using them as immunotherapeutic reagents, vectors of engineered genetic constructs, and vaccine particles. They’ve also been described as tools in the diagnosis or prognosis of a wide variety of disorders, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Also, their potential in tissue-level microcommunication is driving interest in such therapeutic activities as cardiac repair following heart attacks. Their potential as biomarkers is being explored because their content has been described as a “fingerprint” of differentiation or signaling or regulation status of the cell generating them. For example, by monitoring the exosomes secreted by transplanted cells, one may be able to predict the status or potentially even the outcome of cell therapy procedures. Clinical trials are in progress for exosomes in many therapeutic functions, for many indications. One example is using dendritic cell-derived exosomes to initiate immune response to cancers.Exosome Manufacturing
Exosome product manufacturing involves many distinct areas of study. First of all, we are interested in their efficient and robust generation at a sufficient scale. Also, because they are found in such raw materials as animal serum, avoiding process-related contaminants is a concern. Finally, a variety of means of separating them from other types of extracellular vesicles and cell debris is under study. As exosomes are being examined in so many applications, their production involves many distinct platforms and concerns. First of all, an appropriate and effective culture mode is required for any cell line that is specifically required by the application. Also, one must consider the quality systems and regulatory status of the materials and manufacturing environment for the particular product addressed. Finally, a robust process must be described for the scale and duration of production demanded. As things exist now, their production can be described as 1) the at-scale expansion and culture of the parent cell-line, 2) the collection or harvest of the culture media containing the secreted exosomes, and 3) the isolation or purification of the desired exosomes from not only other macrovesicles, macromolecular complexes, and small molecules, but from such other process contaminants as cellular debris and culture media components.

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Rootstocks: Diversity, Domestication, and Impacts on Shoot Phenotypes: Trends in Plant Science

Rootstocks: Diversity, Domestication, and Impacts on Shoot Phenotypes: Trends in Plant Science | NetBiology | Scoop.it

New in Trends in Plant Science - an introduction to the use of grafting and rootstocks in agriculture. Why graft you say? Read on!


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Marcus Jansen's curator insight, August 5, 2:45 AM
The importance of roots
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The Surge of Zika Virus

The Surge of Zika Virus | NetBiology | Scoop.it
The mosquito-borne disease is spreading across the globe and has been linked to alarming birth defects and an autoimmune disease that can cause paralysis. Scientific American has been tracking the dengue-like illness since fall 2015
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More plastic than fish in oceans by 2050

More plastic than fish in oceans by 2050 | NetBiology | Scoop.it
There will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by 2050, the World Economic Forum has warned.

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Microbiology Online | Microbiology Society | Home

Microbiology Online | Microbiology Society | Home | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Microbiology Online was devised by the Society for General Microbiology, the leading UK professional body for scientists who work in all areas of microbiology. This inspirational online resource supports the teaching and learning of microbiology in the classroom across the key stages. It explores how microbes can be friend and foe and most importantly, why we need these invisible organisms to live.
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Superbug Resistant to ALL Antibiotics Found in China

Superbug Resistant to ALL Antibiotics Found in China | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Scientists in China have found a gene mutation that makes bacteria resistant to all antibiotics. They say it's the result of feeding the drugs to livestock.

Via Mark Kaylor
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What is climate change?

What is climate change? | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Six graphics that explain climate change as world leaders gather in Paris for COP21.

Via Mary Williams
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More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs, But Will They Ever Use Them?

More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs, But Will They Ever Use Them? | NetBiology | Scoop.it
The procedure is rapidly going mainstream, but it's so new that it's impossible to know if these women will exercise their option to have a child. Also, live birth rates from frozen eggs remain low.

Via Lisa Medoff
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Ancient DNA reveals how agriculture changed our height, digestion, and skin colour

Ancient DNA reveals how agriculture changed our height, digestion, and skin colour | NetBiology | Scoop.it
For the first time, researchers have analysed ancient DNA taken from humans who lived before, during, and after the agricultural revolution, allowing them to map how our ancestors' genomes changed in response to societal shifts. It's long been...
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Germ-Killing Bathroom Sprays Appear to Weaken Fertility

Germ-Killing Bathroom Sprays Appear to Weaken Fertility | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Some products impact sperm production and ovulation in mice
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Maternal Deaths Drop Sharply, but Only 9 Nations Meet U.N. Goal

Maternal Deaths Drop Sharply, but Only 9 Nations Meet U.N. Goal | NetBiology | Scoop.it
Worldwide, maternal mortality fell by 43 percent over the last 25 years, but only nine countries have achieved the U.N. goal of a 75 percent reduction
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