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An extremely fragile, ancient Hebrew scroll has been digitally unwrapped for the first time, revealing the earliest copy ever found of an Old Testament Bible scripture, researchers said Wednesday.
Known as the En-Gedi scroll, it contains text from the Book of Leviticus, and dates at least to the third or fourth century, possibly earlier, according to the report in the journal Science Advances.
The deciphering of its contents is described in the journal as a "significant discovery in biblical archeology."
The scroll is not the oldest ever found—that honor belongs to the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls which range from the third century BC to the second century of the common era (AD).
Radiocarbon analysis has shown that the En-Gedi scroll dates to the third or fourth century AD.
Some experts think it is older than that. An analysis of the handwriting style and the way the letters are drawn suggests it could date to the second half of the first century or the beginning of the second century AD.
Its contents were long thought to be lost forever, because it was burned in a fire in the 6th century and was impossible to touch without dissolving into chunks of ash.
The scroll was found by archeologists in 1970 at En-Gedi, the site of a large, ancient Jewish community dating from the late 8th century BC.
A new gene therapy technique being developed by researchers at MIT is showing promise as a way to prevent breast cancer tumors from metastasizing. The treatment, described in a paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, uses microRNAs — small noncoding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression — to control metastasis.
The therapy could be used alongside chemotherapy to treat early-stage breast cancer tumors before they spread, according to Natalie Artzi, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who led the research in collaboration with Noam Shomron, an assistant professor on the faculty of medicine at Tel-Aviv University in Israel.
“The basic idea is that if the cancer is diagnosed early enough, then in addition to treating the primary tumor with chemotherapy, one could also treat with specific microRNAs, in order to prevent the spread of cancer cells that cause metastasis,” Artzi says. The regulation of gene expression by microRNAs is known to be important in preventing the spread of cancer cells. Recent studies by the Shomron team in Tel-Aviv have shown that disruption of this regulation, for example by genetic variants known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), can have a significant impact on gene expression levels and lead to an increase in the risk of cancer.
To identify the specific microRNAs that play a role in breast cancer progression and could therefore potentially be used to suppress metastasis, the research teams first carried out an extensive bioinformatics analysis. They compared three datasets: one for known SNPs; a second for sites at which microRNAs bind to the genome; and a third for breast cancer-related genes known to be associated with the movement of cells.
This analysis revealed a variant, or SNP, known as rs1071738, which influences metastasis. They found that this SNP disrupts binding of two microRNAs, miR-96 and miR-182. This disruption in turn prevents the two microRNAs from controlling the expression of a protein called Palladin. Previous research has shown that Palladin plays a key role in the migration of breast cancer cells, and their subsequent invasion of otherwise healthy organs.
When the researchers carried out in vitro experiments in cells, they found that applying miR-96 and miR-182 decreased the expression of Palladin levels, in turn reducing the ability of breast cancer cells to migrate and invade other tissue. “Previous research had discussed the role of Palladin in controlling migration and invasion (of cancer cells), but no one had tried to use microRNAs to silence those specific targets and prevent metastasis,” Artzi says. “In this way we were able to pinpoint the critical role of these microRNAs in stopping the spread of breast cancer.”
A new study offers compelling evidence that a novel form of the dangerous superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can spread to humans through consumption or handling of contaminated poultry. The research
Pattern classification of human brain activity provides unique insight into the neural underpinnings of diverse mental states. These multivariate tools have recently been used within the field of affective neuroscience to classify distributed patterns of brain activation evoked during emotion induction procedures. Here we assess whether neural models developed to discriminate among distinct emotion categories exhibit predictive validity in the absence of exteroceptive emotional stimulation. In two experiments, we show that spontaneous fluctuations in human resting-state brain activity can be decoded into categories of experience delineating unique emotional states that exhibit spatiotemporal coherence, covary with individual differences in mood and personality traits, and predict on-line, self-reported feelings. These findings validate objective, brain-based models of emotion and show how emotional states dynamically emerge from the activity of separable neural systems.
Pigeons can learn to distinguish real words from non-words by visually processing their letter combinations, surprising new research from the University of Otago in New Zealand and Ruhr University in Germany shows.
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