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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Nov 14, 2018

An Interview With Leonid Gavrilov And Natalia Gavrilova

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

An interview with Drs. Leonid Gavrilov and Natalia Gavrilova on the demography of life extension.


Many people are concerned that vastly extended healthy lifespan might lead us to catastrophic overpopulation, and the best way to mitigate this fear is probably to talk to an experienced demographer. To learn more about this and other interesting questions related to life extension, we spoke to Drs. Leonid Gavrilov and Natalia Gavrilova, respectively Principal Investigator and Research Associate at the Center on Aging in Chicago University. Both of them have specialized in the biodemography of aging and longevity and possess nearly endless resumes.

Natalia and Leonid, your field of expertise is the biodemography of aging and longevity. What drew you to this field of research?

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Nov 9, 2018

Draw-your-own electrodes set to speed up development of micro detection devices

Posted by in category: biological

Miniature devices for sensing biological molecules could be developed quicker thanks to a rapid prototyping method.

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Nov 8, 2018

Embryos remember the chemicals that they encounter

Posted by in category: biological

We all start out as a clump of identical cells. As these cells divide and multiply, they gradually take on distinct identities, acquiring the traits necessary to form, for instance, muscle tissue, bone, or nerves. A recent study from Rockefeller scientists offers new insight into how these cellular identities are cultivated over the course of development.

According to the study, published in eLife, cells retain a memory of the chemical signals to which they are exposed. And, the researchers show, embryos that fail to form these memories remain a clump of clones, never realizing their unique biological potential.

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Nov 7, 2018

Philosophy Professor Sees ‘Plato’s Cave’ in Today’s Technologies

Posted by in category: biological

What is life?

That fundamental question fascinated Babette Babich, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, when she was an undergraduate student, so she majored in biology.

But the answer she was looking for was not to be found in the natural sciences. Instead, she discovered it in the dense texts of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger, philosophers whose ideas about life fueled her desire to explore that critical question.

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Nov 7, 2018

Astronomers discover new luminous high-redshift quasar

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

An international team of astronomers has detected a new luminous quasar at a redshift of 7.02. The newly found quasi-stellar object (QSO), designated DELS J003836.10–152723.6, is the most luminous quasar known at a redshift of over 7.0. The discovery is reported in a paper published October 29 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Powered by the most , bright at high redshift are important for astronomers as they are perceived as the brightest beacons highlighting the chemical evolution of the universe most effectively. They are the most luminous and most distant, compact objects in the observable universe and their spectrum can be used, for instance, to estimate the mass of supermassive (SMBHs).

However, QSOs are extremely rare and difficult to find. So far, only two quasars with redshifts over 7.0 have been identified. This limits our understanding of SMBH growth mechanism and reionization history.

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Nov 6, 2018

Family tree of 400 million people shows genetics has limited influence on longevity

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, life extension

A new study by Calico found that our genes determine our lifespan much less than previously accepted and lifespan heritability is less than seven percent.


Although long life tends to run in families, genetics has far less influence on life span than previously thought, according to a new analysis of an aggregated set of family trees of more than 400 million people. The results suggest that the heritability of life span is well below past estimates, which failed to account for our tendency to select partners with similar traits to our own. The research, from Calico Life Sciences and Ancestry, was published in Genetics.

“We can potentially learn many things about the biology of aging from human genetics, but if the heritability of is low, it tempers our expectations about what types of things we can learn and how easy it will be,” says lead author Graham Ruby. “It helps contextualize the questions that scientists studying aging can effectively ask.”

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Nov 5, 2018

Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa, scientists find

Posted by in category: evolution

The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

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Nov 4, 2018

7 Ways The ‘Biological Century’ Will Transform Healthcare

Posted by in category: biological

From conquering death to automatic insulin deliveries, we will be able to finetune our biology to a once-unthinkable degree.

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Nov 3, 2018

Manta rays feed using ricochet separation, a novel nonclogging filtration mechanism

Posted by in categories: biological, engineering, particle physics

Solid-liquid filtration is a ubiquitous process found in industrial and biological systems. Although implementations vary widely, almost all filtration systems are based on a small set of fundamental separation mechanisms, including sieve, cross-flow, hydrosol, and cyclonic separation. Anatomical studies showed that manta rays have a highly specialized filter-feeding apparatus that does not resemble previously described filtration systems. We examined the fluid flow around the manta filter-feeding apparatus using a combination of physical modeling and computational fluid dynamics. Our results indicate that manta rays use a unique solid-fluid separation mechanism in which direct interception of particles with wing-like structures causes particles to “ricochet” away from the filter pores. This filtration mechanism separates particles smaller than the pore size, allows high flow rates, and resists clogging.

Several fundamental mechanisms for solid-fluid separation have been described in the biological and engineering literature, including sieve (1, 2), cross-flow (3–6), hydrosol , and cyclonic separation. Sieve filtration passes a mixture of particles and fluid through a structure with regularly sized pores, causing the particles to be retained while the fluid is drained. Although effective, sieve filters must have pore sizes smaller than the particle size, and they inevitably clog in use (2, 8, 9). Cross-flow filtration is similar to sieving, except that the incoming flow runs parallel rather than perpendicular to the filter. This configuration shears captured particles off the filter’s surface, which reduces but does not eliminate clogging (5, 6). Unlike sieve and cross-flow filters, hydrosol and cyclonic filtration do not require regularly sized pores.

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Nov 2, 2018

How do jumping genes cause disease, drive evolution?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

Almost half of our DNA sequences are made up of jumping genes—also known as transposons. They jump around the genome in developing sperm and egg cells and are important to evolution. But their mobilization can also cause new mutations that lead to diseases, such as hemophilia and cancer. Remarkably little is known about when and where their movements occur in developing reproductive cells, the key process that ensures their propagation in future generations, but can lead to genetic disorders for the hosts.

To address this problem, a team of Carnegie researchers developed new techniques to track the mobilization of jumping genes. They found that during a particular period of , a group of jumping-genes called retrotransposons hijacks special called nurse cells that nurture the developing eggs. These jumping genes use nurse cells to produce invasive material (copies of themselves called ) that move into a nearby egg and then mobilize into the egg’s DNA. The research is published in the July 26 on-line issue of Cell.

Animals have unwittingly developed a powerful system to suppress jumping gene activity that uses small, non-coding RNAs called piRNAs, which recognize jumping genes and suppress their activity. Occasionally, jumping genes still manage to move, suggesting that they employ some special tactics to escape piRNA control. However, tracking the mobilization of jumping genes to understand their tactics has been a daunting task.

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