A new gene (mcr-1) that enables bacteria to be highly resistant to polymyxins, the last line of antibiotic defence we have left, is widespread in Enterobacteriaceae taken from pigs and patients in south China, including strains with epidemic potential, according to new research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
Human vocal cords have been grown in the laboratory for the first time in a development that could one day lead to “voice” transplants for people who cannot speak because of a permanently damaged larynx.
(Medical Xpress)—Cognitive and emotional sensitivity to the environment are critical for survival, and researchers have speculated that human emotions might track to specific changes in the acoustic environment.
An international team of physicists has published ground-breaking research on the decay of subatomic particles called kaons – which could change how scientists understand the formation of the universe.
Astronomers observe up to three newborn planets evolving from a disk of gas and dust particles circling a distant Sun-like star.
While 1,900 planets have been discovered outside our solar system, these are the first to be seen that are still forming.
The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, has provided scientists with direct evidence of how gas and dust particles coalesce to create planets.
"We have found a clear case where we can join all of the dots showing how planets are forming by accreting the gas and dust left over from the formation of their star," said one of the study's authors, Professor Peter Tuthill of the University of Sydney.
"We see the star surrounded by a disk of material, we see a gap in the disk where the material's missing, we see the planets that are in the gap, and we see material falling onto the planets."
Regenerative medicine could one day allow physicians to correct congenital deformities, regrow damaged fingers, or even mend a broken heart. But to do it, they will have to reckon with the body’s own anti-cancer security system. Now UCSF researchers have found a human gene that may be a key mediator of this trade-off, blocking both tumors and healthy regeneration.
As a child, UCSF’s Jason Pomerantz, MD, was amazed by the fact that salamanders can regenerate limbs. Now, as a plastic surgeon and stem cell researcher, he believes that insights from creatures like zebrafish and salamanders, which routinely regrow damaged tails, limbs, jaws and even hearts, may one day endow humans with heightened regenerative abilities.
“In the last 10 to 15 years, as regenerative organisms like zebrafish have become genetically tractable to study in the lab, I became convinced that these animals might be able to teach us what is possible for human regeneration,” Pomerantz said. “Why can these vertebrates regenerate highly complex structures, while we can’t?”
In a study published Nov. 17, 2015, in the journal eLife, Pomerantz and his team showed new evidence suggesting that mammals may have given up the ability to regenerate limbs partly in exchange for advanced cancer-fighting genes.
The question of whether the regenerative powers of zebrafish and salamanders represent ancient abilities that mammals have lost, perhaps in exchange for advanced tumor-suppression systems remains an open question for biologists. Most tumor suppressor genes, being extremely useful for preventing cancer and for forming tissues during development, are broadly distributed and conserved across many different species. Recent studies, however, suggest that one, the Arf gene, arose more recently in the avian and mammalian lineage, and has no equivalent in the genomes of highly regenerative animals.
To explore whether this gene might play a role in preventing tissue regeneration in humans, the researchers added human ARF to the zebrafish genome and assessed how it affected the fishes’ normal ability to regrow damaged fins after injury. They found that human ARF had no effect on the fishes’ normal development or response to superficial injury, but when the researchers trimmed off the tip of a fish’s tail fin, the gene became strongly activated and almost completely prevented fin regrowth by activating a conserved tumor-blocking pathway.
“It’s like the gene is mistaking the regenerating fin cells for aspiring cancer cells,” said Pomerantz, who is an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at UCSF and surgical director of the Craniofacial Center at UCSF’s Medical Center and School of Dentistry. “And so it springs into action to block it.”
It’s remarkable that ARF can so readily integrate itself into the fish’s existing tumor-blocking pathways, Pomerantz said.
When researchers need to compare complex new genomes; or map new regions of the Arctic in high-resolution detail; or detect signs of dark matter; or make sense of massive amounts of fMRI data, they turn to the high-performance computing and data...
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