Our DNA is most similar to chimpanzees, our closest relatives. Recent research that finally deciphered the entire genome of the gorilla, however, held a surprise. A sizable portion of our genome is closer to a gorilla's than to a chimp's, and this revelation could affect the way we look at our evolutionary tree.
Researchers who recently used functionalized magnetic resonance imaging to pin down the exact source of creativity in the brain have found that the left hemisphere of the brain, thought to be the logic and math portion, actually plays a critical role in creative thinking.
Using a new model to explain how mammalian cells establish the sense of direction necessary to move, researchers at the University of Texas have predicted how bacteria like Escherichia coli that cause food poisoning can hijack a cell’s sense of direction. They then confirmed those predictions in living cells.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women's Hospital have devised a simple blood test that can predict whether sickle cell patients are at high risk for painful complications of the disease. To perform the test, the researchers measure how well blood samples flow through a microfluidic device.
According to a 2003 study by German and American scientists, a component of the Lily of the Valley scent known as Bourgeonal alters the calcium balance of human sperm, which acts to attract the sperm to the source of the scent. The finding the sperm can smell inspired new studies and even a book title, but it is now at risk of being debunked after recent research in Germany.
Scientists at RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Japan, with help from colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, have invented a polymer film loaded with antibodies that can capture tumor cells. This could be an important diagnostic tool because during metastasis cancerous tumor cells float around the bloodstream, nearly impossible to detect.
Providing new information about the little-understood evolution of the diversity of sizes and shapes in nature is a recent study identifying genetic differences between two closely related species of Nasonia wasps. Digging deeply, the research team identified the chromosomal location of “wing size” gene, the differences in DNA sequences of the genes, and the regulatory controls that govern the genes.
Carbon nanoparticles can be coated to make them attach to cancer cells, but getting them in the correct position can be difficult. A research team in Texas has magnetized nanoparticles so that they can be moved with a magnetic field. Administered using fiber optics, the method is non-destructive to healthy cells and carbon nanoparticles also fluoresce.
“Rolling” is a common mechanism cells use to navigate through the body. White blood cells, for example, roll along a blood vessel’s walls to reach inflamed areas. A team of biotechnology experts have invented a microfluidic device that uses this natural cell-rolling mechanism to sort cells. The device features tiny channels coated with sticky molecules that bind weakly with certain cells, forcing them to roll into a different spot.
An international team led by evolutionary biologist and Rutgers University professor Debashish Bhattacharya has shed light on the early events leading to photosynthesis. In sequencing the 70 million base pair nuclear genome of the ancient one-celled alga Cyanophora , the team was able to trace the origin of the underlying mechanics of photosynthesis further than ever before.
The TRR 61 project has been keeping about 150 scientists in Germany and China busy since 2008. The goal is to understand how large natural systems, such as biorganisms are assembled from numerous diverse small molecular structures. The first papers from the first stage of the project, which looks at self-assembly mechanisms, have recently been published.
Separating complex mixtures of cells can offer valuable information for diagnosing and treating disease. However, it may be necessary to search through billions of other cells to collect rare cells. A team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital has now demonstrated a new microfluidic device that can isolate target cells much faster than existing devices.
A new implantable sensor developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute can wirelessly transmit data from the site of a recent orthopedic surgery. Inexpensive to make and highly reliable, this new sensor holds the promise of more accurate, more cost-effective, and less invasive post-surgery monitoring and diagnosis.
X-ray crystallography has become crucial to modern biological imaging, but large single crystals for high-quality data acquisition are difficult to grow. Plus, radiation damages delicate samples. A new technique, femtosecond diffraction imaging, could solve both problems at once and still deliver high-quality images.
Biosensors used in medical diagnostics are typically very specific, detecting within a fixed dynamic ranges. Researchers recently designed a new type of biosensor that copies nature’s approach, which is to employ many different sensors all looking for a common target over a wide range.
Recent studies using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron have revealed, for the first time, one of the molecular mechanisms that regulates the beating of heart cells by controlling the movement of sodium in out of the cells—and what calcium has to do with it.
It’s a mystery that has puzzled researchers for years: In a cell undergoing mitotic cell division, what internal signals cause its chromosomes to align on a center axis? Using fluorescence microscopy, Tomomi Kiyomitsu at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research found the solution by observing something no one had noticed before.
In a recent study, participants played a video game in which they learned the locations of stores in a virtual city. The study showed that they recalled the locations better also received a painless boost from tiny electrodes buried deep inside their brains. The finding may have uses in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2010, Svante Pääbo and his colleagues decoded the genetic information from small fragment of a human finger bone discovered in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. Now, the Leipzig, Germany-based team has develop sensitive techniques to allow them to sequence every position in the genome of this extinct group of humans using less than 10 mg of bone.
Using a stimulated emission depletion microscopy technology developed by a Max Planck Institute researcher in Germany, scientists have, for the first time, managed to record detailed live images inside the brain of a living mouse. These images, resolving to a previously impossible 70 nm, have made the minute structures visible which allow nerve cells to communicate with each other.
The future of disease diagnosis may lie in a breathalyzer-like technology currently under development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. New research demonstrates a simple but sensitive method that can distinguish normal and disease-state glucose metabolism by a quick assay of blood or exhaled air.
A research team led by investigators at Mayo Clinic in Florida has found that a small device worn on a patient's brow can be useful in monitoring blood oxygen in stroke patients in the hospital. Unlike a pulse oximeter, which also performs this task, the head patch uses near-infrared spectroscopy to quickly the presence of another stroke.
After years of collaboration, John Rogers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University engineer Yonggang Huang are getting closer to perfecting their elastic electronics, tiny, wavy silicon circuitry that is thinner than a hair and can bend and stretch with the body.
Imec and Genalyte announce that they have successfully developed and produced a set of disposable silicon photonics biosensor chips to be used in Genalyte diagnostic and molecular detection equipment. The chips combine imec’s standard silicon photonic waveguide devices with bio-compatible modifications jointly developed by imec and Genalyte.
Defective proteins that are not disposed of by the body can cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The 26S proteasome is responsible for this house-keeping duty, and for the first time an international team of scientists have observed the structure of this biological machinery.