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  • January 18, 2016
  • 04:07 PM
  • 636 views

Thwarting abnormal neural development with a new mutation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered how to reverse the abnormal axonal development characteristic of CFEOM3, a congenital disease that affects the muscles that control eye movements. The work shows how creating a specific mutation rescued abnormal axonal growth in the developing mouse brain.

... Read more »

Minoura, I., Takazaki, H., Ayukawa, R., Saruta, C., Hachikubo, Y., Uchimura, S., Hida, T., Kamiguchi, H., Shimogori, T., & Muto, E. (2016) Reversal of axonal growth defects in an extraocular fibrosis model by engineering the kinesin–microtubule interface. Nature Communications, 10058. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10058  

  • January 15, 2016
  • 12:08 PM
  • 855 views

Amazon resilience buoyed by diversity

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Previous research has suggested that the Amazon could reach a tipping point when rainforest gives way to a grassy savannah. Could this really happen? A new modeling study suggests the diversity of the Amazon could prevent such a drastic change.... Read more »

Levine NM, Zhang K, Longo M, Baccini A, Phillips OL, Lewis SL, Alvarez-Dávila E, Segalin de Andrade AC, Brienen RJ, Erwin TL.... (2015) Ecosystem heterogeneity determines the ecological resilience of the Amazon to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26711984  

  • January 13, 2016
  • 07:00 PM
  • 637 views

Electrolithoautotrophs

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Learn what electrolithoautotrophs are and how the scientists proved that A. ferrooxidans can use electric potential to fuel growth.... Read more »

  • January 11, 2016
  • 07:06 AM
  • 576 views

Natural clays can help in the fight against bacteria

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Natural clay (such as Oregon Blue clay) can help in killing a broad range of bacterial pathogens including antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Published in:

Scientific Reports

Study Further:

Researchers have reported that natural antibacterial clays upon hydration and topical application can kill human pathogens and these pathogens also include antibiotic resistant strains. They noted that only certain clays are bactericidal in nature. Those clays having soluble reduced met........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2016
  • 01:45 PM
  • 779 views

Are you multicellular? Thank a random mutation that created a new protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago. With that random act, a new protein function was born that helped our single-celled ancestor transition into an organized multicellular organism. That’s the scenario — done with some molecular time travel — that emerged from basic research in the lab of University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda.... Read more »

Anderson, D., Whitney, D., Hanson-Smith, V., Woznica, A., Campodonico-Burnett, W., Volkman, B., King, N., Prehoda, K., & Thornton, J. (2016) Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10147  

  • December 27, 2015
  • 07:00 PM
  • 684 views

Black smokers and electroecosystems

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

Black smokers are deep-sea hydrothermal vents found in the ocean. Now scientists believe that they may host electroecosystems in which the primary producers use electric currents as their energy source.... Read more »

Nakamura, R., Takashima, T., Kato, S., Takai, K., Yamamoto, M., & Hashimoto, K. (2010) Electrical Current Generation across a Black Smoker Chimney. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 49(42), 7692-7694. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201003311  

  • December 24, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 1,051 views

It came from planet X: ‘Forbidden’ substances on super-Earths

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Using mathematical models, scientists have ‘looked’ into the interior of super-Earths and discovered that they may contain compounds that are forbidden by the classical rules of chemistry — these substances may increase the heat transfer rate and strengthen the magnetic field on these planets.... Read more »

  • December 21, 2015
  • 11:43 AM
  • 858 views

Unsmellable Snake Camouflages Its Scent

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish





If your favorite activity is lying motionless on the ground, you'd better make sure hungry animals can't find you. Snakes and other creatures that hunt by ambush, waiting for their prey to wander past, often have impressive visual camouflage. But at least one type of viper seems to disguise itself in another way, too: its smell is undetectable to predators.

Puff adders (Bitis arietans) are big, fat vipers that move around very little while they wait for prey. They're widespread in Af... Read more »

Miller AK, Maritz B, McKay S, Glaudas X, & Alexander GJ. (2015) An ambusher's arsenal: chemical crypsis in the puff adder (Bitis arietans). Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 282(1821). PMID: 26674950  

  • December 21, 2015
  • 07:45 AM
  • 976 views

Music of the Macromolecules

by Shane Caldwell in Helical Translations

A molecule is like an instrument in an orchestra. Find out about the symphony inside your own cells.... Read more »

C. Wilson, R. V. Agafonov, M. Hoemberger, S. Kutter, A. Zorba, J. Halpin, V. Buosi, R. Otten, D. Waterman, D. L. Theobald, D. Kern. (2015) Using ancient protein kinases to unravel a modern cancer drug’s mechanism. Science, 882-886. info:/10.1126/science.aaa1823

  • December 18, 2015
  • 11:24 AM
  • 926 views

Beyond the headlines: clarifying the connection between healthy diets, resource use, and greenhouse gas emissions

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A recent study looking at the impact of USDA-recommended diets on the environment has received significant media attention. Some of these reports have been a bit misleading, so read here to learn the details about this important study that should impact US dietary policy!... Read more »

  • December 10, 2015
  • 08:36 PM
  • 930 views

LSD changes consciousness by reorganizing human brain networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

LSD is known to cause changes in consciousness, including “ego-dissolution”, or a loss of the sense of self. Despite a detailed knowledge of the action of LSD at specific serotonin receptors, it has not been understood how this these pharmacological effects can translate into such a profound effect on consciousness.... Read more »

Lebedev, A., Lövdén, M., Rosenthal, G., Feilding, A., Nutt, D., & Carhart-Harris, R. (2015) Finding the self by losing the self: Neural correlates of ego-dissolution under psilocybin. Human Brain Mapping, 36(8), 3137-3153. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.22833  

  • December 10, 2015
  • 03:22 PM
  • 787 views

Eyes on Environment: where fuel goes, water cannot follow

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

Water and energy policy have long been separate despite the deep link between energy production and freshwater consumption. Here we discuss a new study examining this link with policy implications about how to prevent resource scarcity.... Read more »

Holland RA, Scott KA, Flörke M, Brown G, Ewers RM, Farmer E, Kapos V, Muggeridge A, Scharlemann JP, Taylor G.... (2015) Global impacts of energy demand on the freshwater resources of nations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(48). PMID: 26627262  

  • December 4, 2015
  • 04:02 PM
  • 847 views

A Camera That Sees Methane

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Swedish scientists have built a camera that makes methane gas visible. The tool could help researchers study greenhouses gases and answer tricky questions about climate change. It's also good for visualizing cow farts.

Magnus Gålfalk of Linköping University explains that the camera works using infrared spectroscopy. Called "hyperspectral imaging," the method simultaneously captures a spectrum of infrared light for every pixel in a photo. Many gases absorb infrared light, Gålfalk says, ........ Read more »

Gålfalk, M., Olofsson, G., Crill, P., & Bastviken, D. (2015) Making methane visible. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2877  

  • December 2, 2015
  • 07:47 PM
  • 793 views

The Many Stories of Climate Change

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

World leaders meet in Paris this week to agree to legally binding agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In honor of this historic conference, I take a look at a few stories around the world about how climate change already influences our global civilization.... Read more »

  • December 1, 2015
  • 04:03 PM
  • 657 views

Antidepressant medication protects against compounds linked to dementia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In addition to treating depression, a commonly used antidepressant medication also protects against compounds that can cause memory loss and dementia, a Loyola University Medical Center study has found. The study found that blood levels of two neurotoxic compounds dropped significantly in depressed patients after they were treated with the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro).... Read more »

Halaris, A., Myint, A., Savant, V., Meresh, E., Lim, E., Guillemin, G., Hoppensteadt, D., Fareed, J., & Sinacore, J. (2015) Does escitalopram reduce neurotoxicity in major depression?. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 118-126. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.04.026  

  • November 30, 2015
  • 07:01 AM
  • 983 views

How Spicy Would You Like That Chemotherapy?

by Shane Caldwell in Helical Translations

A molecule from chili peppers can be modified to bind to a protein involved in cancer progression. How would a molecule similar to hot pepper spice be used to fight cancer?... Read more »

  • November 27, 2015
  • 09:28 AM
  • 703 views

Designer proteins helping biomedicine

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

Professor Meiering and her colleagues were able to incorporate both structure and function into the design process by using bioinformatics to leverage information from nature. They then analyzed what they made and measured how long it took for the folded, functional protein to unfold and breakdown... Read more »

Broom A, Ma SM, Xia K, Rafalia H, Trainor K, Colón W, Gosavi S, & Meiering EM. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(47), 14605-10. PMID: 26554002  

  • November 24, 2015
  • 02:52 PM
  • 615 views

Insights into protein structure could change the future of biomedicine

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a new way to create designer proteins that have the potential to transform biotechnology and personalized medicines.

In a range of experiments Professor Elizabeth Meiering, in collaboration with colleagues from India and the United States, created a protein that can withstand a range of physiological and environmental conditions – a problem that has challenged chemists looking to create super stable, highly functional proteins.... Read more »

Broom, A., Ma, S., Xia, K., Rafalia, H., Trainor, K., Colon, W., Gosavi, S., & Meiering, E. (2015) Designed protein reveals structural determinants of extreme kinetic stability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1510748112  

  • November 15, 2015
  • 03:19 PM
  • 773 views

The rise of do-it-yourself biology

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The Wilson Center’s Synthetic Biology Project has released a short documentary on the growth of the do-it-yourself biology (DIYbio) movement as seen through a community DIYbio lab in Baltimore, Maryland. ... Read more »

The Wilson Center. (2015) The rise of do-it-yourself biology: A look at the Baltimore Underground Science Space. Synthetic Biology Project. info:other/Link

  • November 11, 2015
  • 11:10 AM
  • 841 views

Short-term stability and long-term collapse: exploring the complex behavior of the Antarctic ice sheet

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

A recent study indicates that Antarctic sea ice is growing, but what about its long-term evolution? Read on to see what scientists have discovered about the Antarctic's future.... Read more »

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