Editor’s Selections: Why British organs are off limit, ultimate X-ray machines, and microbes make it snowFebruary 4th, 2011 Editor's Selections 6 Comments
Vincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He unravels viruses at virology blog.
- British citizens who lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 cannot donate organs to an American. During that period of time, they may have unwittingly eaten beef products contaminated with prions from cows with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE or mad cow disease. These prions may cause a severe and fatal neurodegenerative disease in humans.
- A new generation of X-ray sources, free-electron X-ray lasers, achieve laser pulses shorter than 70 femtoseconds. The beam intensities of these lasers are ten billion times brighter than the sun. They have a potential imaging precision down to the atomic scale.
- Microbe are ubiquitous in Earth’s atmosphere, and many serve as the starting point for ice crystals to begin to form. Ice-nucleating microbes produce specific proteins on the surface of their cells which catalyze the formation of ice crystals at relatively high temperatures. They can be used by ski resorts to encourage snowfall.
I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.