106 articles from FRIDAY 1.7.2022

Keeping the energy in the room

It may seem like technology advances year after year, as if by magic. But behind every incremental improvement and breakthrough revolution is a team of scientists and engineers hard at work.

Study: How placentas evolved in mammals

The fossil record tells us about ancient life through the preserved remains of body parts like bones, teeth and turtle shells. But how to study the history of soft tissues and organs, which can decay quickly, leaving little evidence behind?

Montana bio station researchers discuss mine risks to salmon rivers

Recently, a group of 23 science and policy experts from the U.S. and Canada published a review of mining risks to watersheds ranging from Montana to British Columbia and Alaska. The paper brought together experts in salmon ecology, watershed science, mining impacts and mining policy to integrate knowledge across research fields that often work independently from one another.

Keeping the energy in the room

Researchers are developing precision optical sensors for telescopes and observatories. The team has now improved the spectra resolution of their superconducting sensor, a major step in their ultimate goal: analyzing the composition of exoplanets.

How placentas evolved in mammals

The fossil record tells us about ancient life through the preserved remains of body parts like bones, teeth and turtle shells. But how to study the history of soft tissues and organs, which can decay quickly, leaving little evidence behind? In a new study, scientists use gene expression patterns, called transcriptomics, to investigate the ancient origins of one organ: the placenta, which is vital...

New method boosts the study of regulation of gene activity

One way cells can control the activities of their genes is by adding small chemical modifications to the DNA that determine which genes are turned on or off. Methyl groups are one of these chemical modifications or tags. Researchers have found that in bacteria DNA methylation plays a role in regulating virulence, reproduction and gene expression. In other organisms, including humans, DNA...

New method boosts the study of regulation of gene activity

Researchers report the development of a chemical-based sequencing method to quantify different epigenetic markers simultaneously. Their method, called NT-seq, short for nitrite treatment followed by next-generation sequencing, is a sequencing method for detecting multiple types of DNA methylation genome-wide.

'Soft' CRISPR may offer a new fix for genetic defects

Scientists have developed a new CRISPR-based technology that could offer a safer approach to correcting genetic defects. The new 'soft' CRISPR approach makes use of natural DNA repair machinery, providing a foundation for novel gene therapy strategies with the potential to cure a large spectrum of genetic diseases.

There’s a shortage of monkeypox vaccine. Could one dose instead of two suffice?

As the monkeypox outbreak grows, the preferred vaccine to combat it is in short supply—a problem that’s only getting worse now that countries are expanding access to the vaccine. But there is a strategy that could double overnight the number of people who can be vaccinated: use a single shot instead of the recommended two. Compelling data from monkey and human studies suggest...

Rise of the dinosaurs traced back to their adaptation to cold

Covering of feathers left them able to cope when other creatures died off in mass extinction event, scientists sayFossil hunters have traced the rise of the dinosaurs back to the freezing winters the beasts endured while roaming around the far north.Footprints of the animals and stone deposits from north-west China suggest dinosaurs became adapted to the cold in polar regions before a mass...

Hidden in genetics: The evolutionary relationships of two groups of ancient invertebrates revealed

Kamptozoa and Bryozoa are two phyla of small aquatic invertebrates. They are related to snails and clams (collectively called mollusks), bristleworms, earthworms, and leeches (collectively called annelids), and ribbon worms (nemertea). But their precise position on the tree of life, and how closely related they are to these other animals, has always puzzled evolutionary biologists. Previous...

'Soft' CRISPR may offer a new fix for genetic defects

Curing debilitating genetic diseases is one of the great challenges of modern medicine. During the past decade, development of CRISPR technologies and advancements in genetics research brought new hope for patients and their families, although the safety of these new methods is still of significant concern.

Dinosaurs took over amid ice, not warmth, says a new study of ancient mass extinction

Many of us know the conventional theory of how the dinosaurs died 66 million years ago: in Earth's fiery collision with a meteorite, and a following global winter as dust and debris choked the atmosphere. But there was a previous extinction, far more mysterious and less discussed: the one 202 million years ago, which killed off the big reptiles who up until then ruled the planet, and apparently...

Did fuzzy coats help dinosaurs survive one of Earth’s worst extinctions?

Dinosaurs lived in an endless summer, surrounded by steaming jungles and lush swamps—at least if movies such as Fantasia and Jurassic World are to be believed. But that classic image is changing. Paleontologists now know some dinosaurs lived in comparatively chilly habitats with months of darkness and occasional snow on the ground. Frigid conditions like...

Advocating a new paradigm for electron simulations

Although most fundamental mathematical equations that describe electronic structures are long known, they are too complex to be solved in practice. This has hampered progress in physics, chemistry and the material sciences. Thanks to modern high-performance computing clusters and the establishment of the simulation method density functional theory (DFT), researchers were able to change this...