Established in 2020 Saturday, September 23, 2023
Last Seven Days
Friday 22 Thursday 21 Wednesday 20 Tuesday 19 Monday 18 Sunday 17 Saturday 16

RNA has been recovered from an extinct species for the first time

Tasmanian tiger specimen used in the study and preserved in desiccation at room temperature in the Swedish National History Museum in Stockholm". Image courtesy: Emilio Mármol Sánchez (photograph) and Panagiotis Kalogeropoulos (editing).

STOCKHOLM.- A new study shows the isolation and sequencing of more than a century-old RNA molecules from a Tasmanian tiger specimen preserved at room temperature in a museum collection. This resulted in the reconstruction of skin and skeletal muscle transcriptomes from an extinct species for the first time. The researchers note that their findings have relevant implications for international efforts to resurrect extinct species, including both the Tasmanian tiger and the wooly mammoth, as well as for studying pandemic RNA viruses. The Tasmanian tiger, also known as the thylacine, was a remarkable apex carnivorous marsupial that was once distributed all across the Australian continent and the island of Tasmania. This extraordinary species found its final demise after European colonization, when it was declared as an agricultural pest and a bounty of Ł1 per each full-grown animal killed was set by 1888. The last known living Tasmanian tiger died in captivity in 1936 at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart, T ... More

Study discovers origins of cryptic markings in Aotearoa New Zealand's deep sea   A mathematical model of the heart to revolutionize cardiac research   Brain-altering parasite turns ants into zombies at dawn and dusk

Rattail bitemark overlaid showing the match. Image courtesy: NIWA.

AUCKLAND.- NIWA scientists have discovered the origins of cryptic markings found in Aotearoa New Zealand's deep sea. While studying footage from a 2013 Chatham Rise survey, researchers kept seeing horseshoe-shaped imprints in the seabed but had no idea what they were or why they were there. After much head scratching, NIWA's Invertebrate Collection Manager Sadie Mills worked with her colleagues—Alan Hart, Niki Davey, and Caroline Chin—and came up with an idea. But to test her theory, she needed colleague Darren Stevens—a fisheries scientist with a particular interest in deep-sea animals. "Sadie sent me a bunch of images from the survey and asked whether they had been caused by a deep-sea rattail, also known as a grenadier. "She suspected that what we were seeing was lebensspuren—which is a German word meaning 'life traces', referring to physical evidence of life that is left behind in the environment. We wondered if ... More

A mathematical and computational model of the human heart entirely developed at Politecnico di Milano and designed for studying coronary artery disease. Image courtesy: Politecnico di Milano.

MILAN.- The iHEART simulator is a mathematical and computational model of the human heart entirely developed at Politecnico di Milano and designed for studying coronary artery disease. This is the focus of research published in Scientific Reports, titled "A comprehensive mathematical model for cardiac perfusion." What makes iHEART Simulator unique is its ability to combine the complex processes of electromechanics, hemodynamics and cardiac perfusion into a single platform. This level of integration offers unprecedented biophysical accuracy in the simulation of heart function and related diseases. One of the most innovative aspects of this study is the application of this model to the analysis of coronary artery disease, such as ischemia and acute myocardial infarction. Thanks to the iHEART Simulator, researchers ... More

Dissected ant and where you can see the encapsulated parasites (white oval structures) spilling out of the hind body. Photo: Brian Lund Fredensborg. Image courtesy: Brian Lund Fredensborg.

COPENHAGEN.- The lancet liver fluke, Dicrocoelium dendriticum, has a complicated life cycle that begins with the hijacking of an ant's brain. The unsuspecting ant climbs up and clamps its powerful jaws onto the top of a blade of grass, making it more likely to be eaten by grazers such as cattle and deer. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences have discovered that the parasite's ability to control the ant is even more cunning than previously believed. Impressively, the parasite can even get the ant to crawl back down the blade of grass when it gets too hot. "Getting the ants high up in the grass for when cattle or deer graze during the cool morning and evening hours, and then down again to avoid the sun's deadly rays, is quite smart. Our discovery reveals a parasite ... More

Hungry trevally devour entire schools of whale shark baitfishes   Plumbing the depths of thermoelectrics in search of novel materials   Step change in upconversion the key to clean water, green energy and futuristic medicine

Trevally gorging on biatfishes swimming with juvenile whale shark at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Image courtesy: Ollie Clarke Photography.

PERTH.- At Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, whale sharks are frequently observed swimming through the water with thousands of small (around 10cm in length) carangid baitfishes swarming around them. Not on the whale shark menu, it was previously thought the little fish traveled with the massive sharks for protection. However, new research from Murdoch University's Harry Butler Institute has revealed large schools of up to 200 trevally (greater than 30cm in length) are gorging on entire schools of baitfishes in flash feeding events lasting from two to 45 seconds. Published in Marine Biology, the findings suggest baitfishes huddle around whale sharks, the world's biggest fish reaching up to 18m in length, for reasons other than safety. Lead author Christine Barry, who is completing a Ph.D. at HBI's Center for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems and the Australian Institute ... More

Schematic drawing of the thermoelectric effect in nickel-gold alloys. Image courtesy: Fabian Garmroudi.

VIENNA.- Thermoelectrics enable the direct conversion of heat into electrical energy—and vice versa. This makes them interesting for a range of technological applications. In the search for thermoelectric materials with the best possible properties, a research team at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) investigated various metallic alloys. A mixture of nickel and gold proved particularly promising. The researchers have published their results in Science Advances. Since the middle of the 20th century, thermoelectrics have been used to generate electrical energy in space exploration and in everyday applications such as portable refrigerators. Moreover, they could also be used in industrial environments to convert waste heat into green electricity, to name just one of the potential applications. The thermoelectric effect is based on the movement of charged particles that migrate from the hotter to the colder side of a material ... More

Alumina nanoporous film stained with sensitizer molecules. Image courtesy: Exciton Science.

PARKVILLE.- Achieving photochemical upconversion in a solid state is a step closer to reality, thanks to a new technique that could unlock vital innovations in renewable energy, water purification and advanced health care. Exciton Science researchers based at UNSW Sydney have demonstrated that a key stage in the upconversion process can be achieved in the solid state, making it more likely that a functioning device can be manufactured at commercial scale. Possible applications include hydrogen catalysis and solar energy generation. Their work has been published in ACS Energy Letters and is likely to drive major changes in the approach of scientists around the world researching this challenging but potentially transformational field. Professor Tim Schmidt of UNSW Sydney, an Exciton Science Chief Investigator and the senior author on the paper, said, "I think people are going to immediately start copying us ... More

New study uncovers origin of 'conscious awareness'   New gut microbe produces smelly toxic gas but protects against pathogens   Portable device instantly detects illegal drugs with 95% accuracy

When an infant’s foot is tethered to the mobile, each foot movement causes the mobile to move. Image courtesy: Florida Atlantic University.

BOCA RATON, FL.- Living things act with purpose. But where does purpose come from? How do humans make sense of their relation to the world and realize their ability to effect change? These fundamental questions of "agency"—acting with purpose—have perplexed some of the greatest minds in history including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Erwin Schrödinger and Niels Bohr. A Florida Atlantic University (FAU) study reveals groundbreaking insight into the origins of agency using an unusual and largely untapped source—human babies. Since goal-directed action appears in the first months of human life, the FAU research team used young infants as a test field to understand how spontaneous movement transforms into purposeful action. For the study, infants began the experiment as disconnected observers. However, when researchers tethered one of the infants' feet to a crib ... More

FISH: Fluorescence microscopy of Taurinivorans muris in pure culture. Image courtesy: Huimin Ye.

VIENNA.- An international team of scientists led by microbiologist Alexander Loy from the University of Vienna has discovered a new intestinal microbe that feeds exclusively on taurine and produces the foul-smelling gas hydrogen sulfide. The researchers have thus provided another building block in the understanding of those microbial processes that have fascinating effects on health. This is also true of Taurinivorans muris: the bacterium shows a protective function against Klebsiella and Salmonella, two important pathogens. The results are currently published in Nature Communications. The gut microbiome mediates our health in a myriad of ways. One of those ways is by contributing to the levels of hydrogen sulfide—the toxic gas responsible for foul-smelling flatulence. Having small amounts of hydrogen sulfide in the gut is a good thing; in fact, it's essential for a number of physiological processes, and can even protect ... More

Spice detector lights up in the presence of illicit drugs in a police sample bag. Red LED lights indicate spice is present. Image courtesy: Nicolas Delves-Broughton, University of Bath.

BATH.- An ultraportable, low-cost device invented by researchers at the University of Bath proves highly successful at detecting synthetic cannabinoids (SCs, e.g. "Spice," K2). A device that lights up in the presence of illegal drugs soaked into paper or fabric is expected to be cleared for rollout across the U.K. within months. The pocket-sized device is intended to detect SCs—a class of psychoactive substances used predominantly in prisons and homeless communities in the U.K. The drug can be fatal and often causes severe side effects, including psychosis, stroke and seizures. The researchers hope that in its current format, the drug detector will be used to stem the flow of SCs smuggled into prisons and reduce the devastating effects on users of these highly addictive drugs. With further engineering, they are confident their device will be ... More

Training the gut's immune system to combat detrimental effects of emulsifiers in processed food   Viking trade connections stretched over hundreds of kilometers to the Arctic, research shows   New recipes for origin of life may point way to distant, inhabited planets

Researchers investigate how the intestinal microbiota can be an efficient way to prevent various chronic inflammatory conditions. Image courtesy: Gaël Kazaz, Institut Cochin 2021.

PARIS.- In a new study, mice whose immune systems were trained against the microbial protein flagellin did not experience the usual detrimental effects of ingesting food additive emulsifiers, pointing to a potential new way to combat various chronic inflammatory diseases. Melissa Kordahi and Benoit Chassaing, Inserm researchers from the Institut Cochin and Université Paris Cité, France, and colleagues present these findings in the open access journal PLOS Biology. Dietary emulsifiers are substances added to processed food products to prevent mixed ingredients from separating. Prior research has suggested that eating certain emulsifiers may alter the gut microbiome—microbes that naturally live in the gut—in such a way that enhances some microbes' ability to invade the protective mucosal lining of the gut, and may lead to chronic intestinal ... More

An Early Viking-Age comb from Hedeby, made of reindeer antler. Image courtesy: Mariana Muńoz-Rodríguez.

YORK.- Analysis of hair combs made from deer antler has shed new light on the trade routes of Vikings—revealing connections between northern Scandinavia and the edges of continental Europe. Led by researchers from the University of York, the findings provide evidence of trade connections between the town of Hedeby (modern Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), the largest urban settlement in Viking Age Europe, and upland Scandinavia, hundreds of kilometers to the north. The study confirms the existence of these trade routes through biomolecular analysis of antler combs found there. Hedeby was a major center of antler-working, with 288,000 antler finds recorded, most of which was waste material from the production of hair combs: a major urban craft in the Viking Age. The team of archaeologists from the Universities of York, Stockholm and Barcelona as well as the Center ... More

Betül Kaçar, a NASA-supported astrobiologist and UW–Madison professor of bacteriology. Image courtesy: UW–Madison.

MADISON, WI.- Life on a faraway planet — if it’s out there — might not look anything like life on Earth. But there are only so many chemical ingredients in the universe’s pantry, and only so many ways to mix them. A team led by scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has exploited those limitations to write a cookbook of hundreds of chemical recipes with the potential to give rise to life. Their ingredient list could focus the search for life elsewhere in the universe by pointing out the most likely conditions — planetary versions of mixing techniques, oven temperatures and baking times — for the recipes to come together. The process of progressing from basic chemical ingredients to the complex cycles of cell metabolism and reproduction that define life, the researchers say, requires not only a simple beginning but also repetition. “The origin of life really is a something-from-nothing pro ... More

More News
Scientists compare humans and chimpanzees to uncover evolution of language-relevant brain areas
LEIPZIG.- Language is one aspect that makes us human. Other animals can learn words or calls and communicate, but the ability to generate an infinite number of utterances based on a small number of syntactic rules is unique to humans. A team of researchers led by Angela Friederici from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, together with scientists from the Universities of Texas and Washington (U.S.), have now published a study in the journal PLOS Biology in which they directly compared the region in the human brain responsible for language with its homologous region in the chimpanzee brain using MRI data. The study shows that the area responsible for syntactic processes in humans is the result of a large expansion in the left hemisphere. Such ... More

Method to measure molecular distribution of MXene enables quality control in production process
BANGALORE.- Developed in 2011, MXene is a two-dimensional nanomaterial with alternating metal and carbon layers, which has high electrical conductivity and can be combined with various metal compounds, making it a material that can be utilized in various industries such as semiconductors, electronic devices, and sensors. To properly utilize MXene, it is important to know the type and amount of molecules covered on the surface, and if the molecules covered on the surface are fluorine, the electrical conductivity of decreases and the efficiency of electromagnetic wave shielding decreases. However, since it is only 1nm thick, it takes several days to analyze the molecules on the surface even with a high-performance electron microscope, so mass production has been impossible until now. The research ... More

Researchers study the formation of cardenolides in plants
JENA.- Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena are investigating the previously largely unknown biosynthetic pathway that leads to the formation of cardenolides in plants. In a study published in the journal Nature Plants, they present two enzymes from the CYP87A family as key enzymes that catalyze the formation of pregnenolone, the precursor for the biosynthesis of plant steroids, in two different plant families. The discovery of such enzymes should help to develop platforms for the cheap and sustainable production of high quality steroid compounds for medical use. Plants produce an impressive array of metabolites, including many medically valuable steroids. Well-known examples of this class of substances obtained from plants are cardenolides. As early a ... More

How to mend a broken heart
LAUSANNE.- EPFL is collaborating with academic and industrial partners to develop a cardiac intervention simulator. This platform is designed to train interventionalists in much the same way as flight simulators are used to train pilots. More and more cardiac interventions are now performed by inserting a small tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in the arm or groin, and from there into the heart chambers. This is much less traumatic than open heart surgery, but training young doctors to do this takes a long time. Enter the HEARTS (Heart Augmented Reality Training System) project, in which researchers from EPFL’s Computer Vision Laboratory (CV Lab) in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC), physicians from the interventional MRI center of the Cardiology Division of Lausanne’s U ... More

Witchcraft accusations were an 'occupational hazard' for female workers in early modern England
CAMBRIDGE.- While both men and women have historically been accused of the malicious use of magic, only around 10–30% of suspected witches were men by the 16th and 17th centuries.* This bias towards women is often attributed to misogyny as well as economic hard times. Now, a Cambridge historian has added another contributing factor to the mix. Dr Philippa Carter argues that the types of employment open to women at the time came with a much higher risk of facing allegations of witchcraft, or maleficium. In a study published in the journal Gender & History, Carter uses the casebooks of Richard Napier – an astrologer who treated clients in Jacobean England using star-charts and elixirs – to analyse links between witchcraft accusations and the occupations of those under suspicion. Most of the job ... More

ResearchNews Videos
Deep sea mystery of the Lebensspuren

On a day like today, Scottish-English chemist and physicist James Dewar was born
September 20, 1842. Sir James Dewar (20 September 1842 - 27 March 1923) was a British chemist and physicist. He is best known for his invention of the vacuum flask, which he used in conjunction with research into the liquefaction of gases. He also studied atomic and molecular spectroscopy, working in these fields for more than 25 years. In 1867 Dewar described several chemical formulas for benzene, which were published in 1869. One of the formulae, which does not represent benzene correctly and was not advocated by Dewar, is sometimes still called Dewar benzene. In 1869 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, his proposer being his former mentor, Lyon Playfair. His scientific work covers a wide field – his earlier papers cover topics including organic chemistry, hydrogen and its physical constants, high-temperature research, the temperature of the Sun and of the electric spark, spectrophotometry, and the chemistry of the electric arc.


Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the ResearchNews newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful