Zeran Li, as an undergraduate student in biological sciences at Purdue University, led a research team that uncovered an enzyme's role in the regulation of eye size in the fish. If the enzyme's role is similar in human eyes, it could be relevant to human vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
In a curious evolutionary twist, biologists from the University of Buffalo report, several species of a commonly studied fruit fly appear to have incorporated genetic material from a virus into their genomes. This discovery of virus-like genes in the DNA of a commonly studied fruit fly could enable research on whether animals hijack viral genes as an anti-viral defense.
When it comes to intelligence, what factors distinguish the brains of exceptionally smart humans from those of average humans? Size and prefrontal cortex activity contribute, but new research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that another 10% of individual differences in intelligence can be explained by the strength of neural pathways connecting the left prefrontal cortex to the rest of the brain.
Processing biological samples on a small substrate the size of a computer chip is becoming a common task for biotechnology applications. Given the small working area, however, probing samples on the substrate with light can be difficult. Researchers in Singapore have now developed an optical fiber system that is able to deliver light to microfluidic chips with high efficiency.
Researchers from Drexel University are in the process of refining a sensor technology that they developed to measure samples at the cellular level. Constructed from a tiny vibrating piezoelectric cantilever, the sensor may become an accurate method for quickly detecting traces of DNA in liquid samples.
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University this week reported that it will receive up to $37 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips to study complex human physiology outside the body. The aim is to simulate the entire body’s physiology.
A new method for looking at how proteins fold inside mammal cells is allowing researchers to take snapshots of the cell's protein-making machinery—called ribosomes—in various stages of protein production. The scientists can then piece together the snapshots to reconstruct how proteins fold during their synthesis. The findings could one day lead to better flu vaccines, the researchers say.
Researchers analyzing meteorite fragments that fell on a frozen lake in Canada have developed an explanation for the origin of life's handedness—why living things only use molecules with specific orientations. The work also gave the strongest evidence to date that liquid water inside an asteroid leads to a strong preference of left-handed over right-handed forms of some common protein amino acids in meteorites.
A Cleveland Clinic research team is developing virtual models of human knee joints to better understand how tissues and their individual cells react to heavy loads—virtual models that someday can be used to understand damage mechanisms caused by the aging process or debilitating diseases, such as osteoarthritis.
Muscle contractions are controlled by the interplay between myosin and actin filaments and two other proteins, tropomyosin and troponin, which regulate how myosin binds to actin. Theoretical models have described exactly how these muscle proteins interact, but until now it has never been observed in detail. Researchers managed to image the actin-myosin-tropomyosin complex with an unprecedented accuracy of 0.8 nm.
Recent research shows for the first time that a new genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. The method builds on knowledge of splicing, in which it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy.
According to a report from research on the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the biological mechanism of sunburn—the reddish, painful, protective immune response from UV radiation—is a consequence of RNA damage to skin cells. The findings open the way to perhaps eventually blocking the inflammatory process, the scientists said, and have implications for a range of medical conditions and treatments.
Researchers at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and their spin-off company Mimetas are set to soon launch their ’organs-on-a-chip’ product for drug development. These devices are composed of hundreds of micro-organs mimicked on a chip, with minuscule channels that serve as blood vessels.
Researchers at Harvard University have developed a novel biomimetic strategy that delivers life-saving nanotherapeutics directly to obstructed blood vessels, dissolving blood clots before they cause serious damage or even death. This new approach enables thrombus dissolution while using only a fraction of the drug dose normally required, minimizing bleeding side effects that currently limit the use of clot-busting drugs.
Government health experts said Thursday there are few reasons to continue using metal-on-metal hip implants, amid growing evidence that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles. The devices were originally marketed as a longer-lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models. But recent data from the U.K. and other foreign countries suggests they are more likely to deteriorate.
Combining an algorithm with a recently-developed add-on technique for commercial microscopes, University of Illinois researchers have created a fast, non-invasive 3D method for studying cells without the use of fluorescence or contrast agents. They recently used the advance to reveal helical sub-cellular structure inside E. coli .
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have recently been able, for the first time, to watch viruses infecting individual bacteria by transferring their DNA, and to measure the rate at which that transfer occurs. Previous studies have involved bulk measurements, but the new technique can see the actions of individual viruses.
Identification of the parts of the brain are responsible for the things that reach our awareness is one of the main puzzles in neurobiology today. New findings from researchers in Europe using electrophysiological methods now support the view that the content of consciousness is not localized in a unique cortical area.
Using a recently developed MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging, along with a new analytical software tool designed specifically for examining microstructures, researchers at Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center have found that concussion victims have unique spatial patterns of brain abnormalities that change over time.
Cocaine is one of the most commonly used (and abused) plant-derived drugs in the world, but we have almost no modern information on how plants produce this complex nitrogen-containing compound. The recent discovery of the first enzyme in the pathway sheds new light on the evolution of cocaine alkaloids.
Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory this week publicly releasing the first installment out of 500 TB of data so far collected in their groundbreaking project to construct the first whole-brain wiring diagram of a vertebrate brain, that of the mouse.
Researchers in Germany have for years been studying fire beetles of the genus Melanophila and their sophisticated infrared sensors, which these pyrophilous insects use to detect forest fires. They have unraveled the functional principle of this photomechanical sensor and have started to work on a technical reconstruction.
Blood tests convey vital medical information, but the sight of a needle often causes anxiety and results take time. A new device developed by a team of researchers in Israel, however, can reveal much the same information as traditional blood test in real-time, simply by shining a light through the skin.
Microscopes provide valuable insights in the structure and dynamics of cells, in particular when the latter remain in their natural environment. This is difficult to do, but a team of researchers in Germany and the U.S. have now developed a new method to visualize cell structures of an eighth of a micrometer in size in living fish larvae.
In order to reactivate silenced genes, a cell needs to remove certain “off” markers called methyl groups from the DNA. Scientists have recently shown that this process involves an intermediate step and an enzyme that also plays a role in the development of blood cancer. The finding could lead to new ideas for cancer-fighting therapies.