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Bioengineers Make “Mini-Brains” of Neurons and Supporting Cells

October 1, 2015

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Scientists Make a Mini Brain

New research from Brown University details a relatively accessible method for making a working (though not thinking) sphere of central nervous system tissue. If you need a working miniature brain — say for drug testing, to test neural tissue transplants, or to experiment with how stem cells work — a new paper describes how to […]

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Scientists Reveal Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

October 1, 2015

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Researchers Reveal Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

Newly published research details the effects of human genetic variation, finding that each person possesses on average about 150 variants capable of disabling genes. A massive effort to study human genetic variation has ended with publication of two papers in the September 30 issue of the journal Nature that catalog the genomes of more than […]

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Neurologists Speed Up Connectome Analysis by More Than 10-Fold

September 30, 2015

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Scientists Speed Up Reconstruction of Connections between Nerve Cells

Using a new tools called SegEM, scientists from the Max Planck Institute are able to speed up the reconstruction of connections between nerve cells more than ten-fold. Unraveling the connectivity maps between nerve cells in brains is a huge scientific endeavor – called connectomics. The main limitation to mapping large parts of the brain is […]

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Researchers Decode Root Structure of Muscular Disease

September 29, 2015

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Root Structure of Muscular Disease Decoded

In a newly published study, a team of scientists from Rice University and Baylor College reveal the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease. Their success at obtaining a structural map of a protein known as leiomodin 2 (Lmod2) attached to two actin subunits offers a path forward for […]

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Bioengineers Develop a New System for Human Genome Editing

September 29, 2015

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Scientists Develop a New System for Human Genome Editing

A team of scientists from MIT, Harvard and Wageningen University have developed a new system for human genome editing that has potential to increase the power and precision of DNA engineering. A team including the scientist who first harnessed the CRISPR-Cas9 system for mammalian genome editing has now identified a different CRISPR system with the […]

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B12 Identified as a Key Part of Photoreceptor Proteins

September 28, 2015

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Scientists Identify and Map B12-dependent Photoreceptor

A team of scientists has discovered and mapped a light-sensing protein that uses vitamin B12 to perform key functions, including gene regulation. The result, derived from studying proteins from the bacterium Thermus thermophilus, involves at least two findings of broad interest. First, it expands our knowledge of the biological role of vitamin B12, which was […]

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Yale Researchers Develop a New Platform to View Metabolism

September 25, 2015

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Scientists Develop New Platform to Vview Metabolism

Scientists from Yale University have developed a new platform to view metabolism, taking a very big step forward in terms of understanding how metabolism interfaces with function in the cell. Metabolism is essential for the maintenance of life, in organisms ranging from yeast to humans. To deepen understanding of metabolism and its role in diseases […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal How the Brain Encodes Time and Place

September 24, 2015

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Neuroscientists Reveal How the Brain Encodes Time and Place

Neuroscientists from MIT have now identified a brain circuit that processes the “when” and “where” components of memory, revealing that this information is split even before it reaches the hippocampus. This circuit, which connects the hippocampus and a region of the cortex known as entorhinal cortex, separates location and timing into two streams of information. […]

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Harvard Examines the Response to Light and Temperature Shifts in Northeastern Forests

September 21, 2015

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Researchers Conduct Climate Change Test for Forests

Biologists from Harvard University are examining whether the earlier arrival of warm weather will clash with genetic programming of plants. Harvard scientists are taking a hard look at northeastern forests for evidence of a potential springtime scramble, one that could be triggered if age-old growth cues are disrupted by climate change. Researchers in the Department […]

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Free Mate Choice Enhances Reproductive Success

September 15, 2015

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Free Mate Choice Enhances Reproductive Success

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute show that behavioral compatibility plays an important role in mate choice in zebra finches. Zebra finches allowed to breed with their preferred partner achieved a 37 percent higher reproductive success compared to pairs that were forced to mate. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen observed […]

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Suburbanization, Estrogen Contamination is Changing the Amphibian Populations

September 9, 2015

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Estrogen Contamination is Changing the Amphibian Populations

New research from Yale University reveals that estrogen in suburban yards is changing the ratio of male and female green frogs at nearby ponds. Green frogs in the suburbs are seeing a gender revolution. Higher levels of estrogen in areas where there are shrubs, vegetable gardens, and manicured lawns are disrupting frogs’ endocrine systems, according […]

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A New Way to Attack Malarial Parasites in Blood Cells

September 8, 2015

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A New Way to Attack Malarial Parasite in Blood Cells

Researchers from Yale University detail a new way to attack malarial parasites in blood cells. Yale University researchers have found a new way to slow the development of malarial parasites within blood cells they infect, even in some drug-resistant strains that are on the rise in many parts of the world. Malarial parasites are transmitted […]

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New Species of Flea Beetle Discovered, Burumoseria Yuae

September 4, 2015

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A New Species of Burumoseria Csiki Burumoseria Yuae

Researchers detail the discovery of a new species of flea beetle, Burumoseria yuae. Nausea, vomiting and weakness are but a few of the symptoms one might anticipate after eating leaves from the Taiwanese shrub Erycibe henryi. This wild plant produces powerful toxins as a self-defense against herbaceous insects and other creatures that might otherwise feast […]

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Brazilian Wasp Venom Kills Cancer Cells Without Harming Normal Cells

September 2, 2015

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Brazilian Wasp Venom Kills Cancer Cells Without Harming Normal Cells

A newly published study shows how Brazilian wasp venom selectively kills cancer cells without harming normal cells. The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A Biophysical Journal study published September 1 reveals exactly how the venom’s toxin–called MP1 (Polybia-MP1)–selectively kills cancer cells without […]

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Pentecopterus – A Giant Sea Scorpion from the Prehistoric Seas

September 1, 2015

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Biologists Discover Giant Sea Scorpion Pentecopterus

Geologists discovered the fossils of Pentecopterus in a meteorite crater by the Upper Iowa River in northeastern Iowa. You don’t name a sea creature after an ancient Greek warship unless it’s built like a predator. That’s certainly true of the recently discovered Pentecopterus, a giant sea scorpion with the sleek features of a penteconter, one […]

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Newly Identified Memory Pathway Could Prevent PTSD

September 1, 2015

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Newly Identified Pathway Could Prevent PTSD

In a newly published study, a team of researchers show that blocking amygdala cells’ interactions with serotonin after trauma may prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. About 8 million Americans suffer from nightmares and flashbacks to a traumatic event. This condition, known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is particularly common among soldiers who have been in combat, […]

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Fossils Reveal Dogs Evolved as the Climate Changed

August 31, 2015

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Brown Study Shows Dogs Evolved With Climate Change

A new study from Brown University shows how dogs evolved in response to changes in climate over the last 40 million years, demonstrating that predators are sensitive to climate change because it alters the hunting opportunities in their habitat. Brown University — Old dogs can teach humans new things about evolution. In Nature Communications a […]

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Biologists Identify a New Approach to Cancer Immunotherapy

August 27, 2015

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A New Approach to Cancer Immunotherapy

Scientists from Yale University have identified a new way to boost immune response by metabolically “rewiring” immune cells. Inside a tumor, immune cells and cancer cells battle for survival. The advantage may go to the cells that metabolize the most glucose, say Yale researchers who have identified a new way to boost immune response by […]

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