news 2020


Life Sciences

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Agronomy / Food Science - Life Sciences - 03.12.2020
More frequently sheared sheep are happier mothers
More frequently sheared pregnant sheep are more active, have lower stress levels and produce lambs with finer wool, according to University of Queensland research. Dr Edward Narayan from UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Science and the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) , said research found merino ewes sheared twice during pregnancy, rather than the industry standard of once, fared significantly better.

Life Sciences - 02.12.2020
Swift action needed to help critically endangered parrot
Swift action needed to help critically endangered parrot
There could be fewer than 300 swift parrots left in the wild, according to new research from The Australian National University (ANU).

Health - Life Sciences - 02.12.2020
Lung-on-chip provides new insight on response to early TB infection
Scientists have developed a lung-on-chip model to study how the body responds to early tuberculosis (TB) infection, according to findings published in eLife . TB is a disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis ( M. tuberculosis ) and most often affects the lungs. The model reveals that respiratory system cells, called alveolar epithelial cells, play an essential role in controlling early TB infection.

Life Sciences - Health - 02.12.2020
Big data analysis suggests role of brain connectivity in epilepsy-related atrophy
Large multi-site study accurately predicts damage to grey matter by disease An international study has found a link between the brain's network connections and grey matter atrophy caused by certain types of epilepsy, a major step forward in our understanding of the disease. In neuroscience, it is becoming increasingly clear that the brain's connectome is as important as its anatomy when studying human disease.

Life Sciences - 01.12.2020
Fingerprints’ moisture-regulating mechanism strengthens human touch - study
Human fingerprints have a self-regulating moisture mechanism that not only helps us to avoid dropping our smartphone, but could help scientists to develop better prosthetic limbs, robotic equipment and virtual reality environments, a new study reveals. Primates - including humans, monkeys and apes - have evolved epidermal ridges on their hands and feet with a higher density of sweat glands than elsewhere on their bodies.

Life Sciences - 30.11.2020
How insect wings evolved from the legs of an ancestral crustacean
It sounds like a just-so story-"How the Insect Got its Wings"-but it's really a mystery that has puzzled biologists for over a century. Intriguing and competing theories of insect wing evolution have emerged in recent years, but none were entirely satisfactory. Finally, a team from the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, has settled the controversy, using clues from long-ago scientific papers as well as state-of-the-art genomic approaches.

Life Sciences - Environment - 30.11.2020
New aggressive alga threatening the health of Caribbean coral reefs
New aggressive alga threatening the health of Caribbean coral reefs
Hurricanes, pollution, disease, bleaching and the effects of an increasingly warmer planet are all negatively impacting the health of coral reefs around the world. However, those in the Caribbean are facing a new threat - an aggressive, golden-brown, crust-like alga that is rapidly overgrowing shallow reefs.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 30.11.2020
Molecular mechanism of long-term memory discovered
Molecular mechanism of long-term memory discovered
Researchers at the University of Basel have discovered a molecular mechanism that plays a central role in intact long-term memory. This mechanism is also involved in physiological memory loss in old age. Many life forms, from worms to humans, have differentiated memory functions, such as short-term and long-term memory.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 30.11.2020
Conversing with infants may affect their brain circuitry
Stanford researchers studied fiveto eight-month-old babies and found that caregivers' speech is associated with activation in brain regions that are involved in language comprehension. While babies aren't known for being great conversationalists, talking to them can still be worthwhile. A new Stanford study finds that engaging in "conversations" with adults may help infant brains develop, especially those areas involved in language comprehension.

Life Sciences - Health - 30.11.2020
New Technique Isolates Brain Cells Associated With Parkinson’s Disease
Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a new technique for isolating a type of brain cell associated with Parkinson's disease symptoms, enabling them to study that cell type in detail. The technique, which works only in specially bred mice, costs less than previous methods for isolating these brain cells, said Alyssa Lawler, a Ph.D.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 27.11.2020
How epithelial cells ward off viruses
How epithelial cells ward off viruses
The cytosolic sensor NLRP1 identifies viruses as non-self and triggers inflammatory responses The ability to differentiate between self and potentially harmful non-self is vital for the integrity and survival of organisms. In most organisms, the so-called innate immune system is responsible for the recognition of such intruders.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 27.11.2020
Identificat un mecanisme cerebral essencial per a la capacitat de recordar
(C) Image of the hippocampus (blue cells) showing the innervation it receives from medial septum inhibitor axons (red). Under normal conditions, the innervation of the medial septum (GABA) limits the activation of interneurons (PV) in the hippocampus during the memories, thus allowing the reactivation of neurons (pyr) that encode memory.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 26.11.2020
Ancient bird with sickle-shaped beak offers insights into evolution
A 68 million-year-old fossil of a crow-sized bird discovered in Madagascar offers new insights into the evolution of face and beak shape of modern birds' ancestors, according to a new study involving UCL researchers. The findings are helping scientists to understand convergent evolution of complex anatomy.

Environment - Life Sciences - 26.11.2020
Natural sewage treatment plants float on the Zambezi River
Natural sewage treatment plants float on the Zambezi River
Sprawling carpets of floating plants are the result of too many nutrients. However, they could become part of solution strategies, Eawag researchers show. They are a beautiful sight to behold: carpets of floating plants such as the water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) in the Zambezi catchment. However, they are also an indicator of inadequate wastewater management in urban and industrial regions of tropical developing countries.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.11.2020
Foreign vs. own DNA: How an innate immune sensor tells friend from foe
How do molecules involved in activating our immune system discriminate between our own DNA and foreign pathogens? Researchers from the Thomä group, in collaboration with the EPFL, deciphered the structural and functional basis of a DNA-sensing molecule when it comes in contact with the cell's own DNA, providing crucial insights into the recognition of self vs.

Health - Life Sciences - 26.11.2020
World's first research programme to identify scarring gene launched
World’s first research programme to identify scarring gene launched
A world-leading £1.5 million research programme that aims to achieve scar free healing within a generation has been launched today [26 November] by The Scar Free Foundation, the only medical research charity which focuses solely on scarring. The five-year research study led by the University of Bristol will identify the gene(s) that causes scarring and inform future treatments.

Life Sciences - Health - 26.11.2020
Foreign vs own DNA: How an innate immune sensor tells the difference
Scientists at EPFL and the Friedrich Miescher Institute have used cryo-electron microscopy to explain how a DNA-sensing biomolecule that is key to our innate immunity response is inactivated when it comes in contact with the cell's own DNA. A biomolecule that gained considerable attention over the past few years is cGAS, a "DNA sensor" that is involved in kickstarting immune responses in the body.

Computer Science - Life Sciences - 25.11.2020
Analysing Plant Cells With 3D Images
A new image processing programme makes it possible to view and analyse plant cells in detail in 3D. Bioscientists and computer scientists at Heidelberg University helped to develop the open-source software called PlantSeg. It is based on methods of machine learning and can be used to study the process of morphogenesis - how the shape of plants develops - at the cellular level.

Life Sciences - 25.11.2020
Research creates hydrogen-producing living droplets, paving way for alternative future energy sources
Research creates hydrogen-producing living droplets, paving way for alternative future energy sources
Scientists have built tiny droplet-based microbial factories that produce hydrogen, instead of oxygen, when exposed to daylight in air. The findings of the international research team, led by the University of Bristol in collaboration with the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, are published today.

Life Sciences - Health - 25.11.2020
Study identifies new functions in the gene that causes Machado-Joseph disease
Rods (type of photoreceptor) isolated from the retina of a control mouse (Atxn3 +/+) and a mouse with the silenced gene Atxn3 (Atxn3-/-). We can see the elongation of the external segment or neurosensorial cilium (OS plus CC) when there is no ATXN3 protein. For more than twenty years, the UB team has conducted research on the genetic causes of the retina hereditary diseases.
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