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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Nov 19, 2019

Getting fewer than seven hours of sleep may be aging you prematurely

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

Chronic sleep loss could be linked to one sign of premature aging in the body, according to a new study published in Communications Biology. Using fitness tracker data, researchers showed that consumer sleep trackers can shine a light on the high costs of not getting enough sleep.

Nov 19, 2019

Targeting Gut Microbes May Help Stroke Recovery

Posted by in category: biological

Growing evidence from mouse studies suggests that a healthy microbiome might improve poststroke outcomes.

Nov 18, 2019

The measurements of the expansion of the universe don’t add up

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics

Physicists use two types of measurements to calculate the expansion rate of the universe, but their results do not coincide, which may make it necessary to update the cosmological model. “It’s like trying to thread a cosmic needle,” explains researcher Licia Verde of the University of Barcelona, co-author of an article on the implications of this problem.

More than a hundred scientists met this summer at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California (U.S.) to try to clarify what is happening with the discordant data on the expansion rate of the , an issue that affects the very origin, evolution and fate of our cosmos. Their conclusions have been published in Nature Astronomy journal.

“The problem lies in the Hubble constant (H0), a parameter which value—it is actually not a constant because it changes with time—indicates how fast the Universe is currently expanding,” points out cosmologist Licia Verde, an ICREA researcher at the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICC-UB) and the main author of the article.

Nov 18, 2019

Life-long epigenetic programming of cortical architecture

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, food, genetics, life extension, neuroscience

The evolution of human diets led to preferences toward polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content with ‘Western’ diets enriched in ω-6 PUFAs. Mounting evidence points to ω-6 PUFA excess limiting metabolic and cognitive processes that define longevity in humans. When chosen during pregnancy, ω-6 PUFA-enriched ‘Western’ diets can reprogram maternal bodily metabolism with maternal nutrient supply precipitating the body-wide imprinting of molecular and cellular adaptations at the level of long-range intercellular signaling networks in the unborn fetus. Even though unfavorable neurological outcomes are amongst the most common complications of intrauterine ω-6 PUFA excess, cellular underpinnings of life-long modifications to brain architecture remain unknown. Here, we show that nutritional ω-6 PUFA-derived endocannabinoids desensitize CB1 cannabinoid receptors, thus inducing epigenetic repression of transcriptional regulatory networks controlling neuronal differentiation. We found that cortical neurons lose their positional identity and axonal selectivity when mouse fetuses are exposed to excess ω-6 PUFAs in utero. Conversion of ω-6 PUFAs into endocannabinoids disrupted the temporal precision of signaling at neuronal CB1 cannabinoid receptors, chiefly deregulating Stat3-dependent transcriptional cascades otherwise required to execute neuronal differentiation programs. Global proteomics identified the immunoglobulin family of cell adhesion molecules (IgCAMs) as direct substrates, with DNA methylation and chromatin accessibility profiling uncovering epigenetic reprogramming at 1400 sites in neurons after prolonged cannabinoid exposure. We found anxiety and depression-like behavioral traits to manifest in adult offspring, which is consistent with genetic models of reduced IgCAM expression, to suggest causality for cortical wiring defects. Overall, our data uncover a regulatory mechanism whose disruption by maternal food choices could limit an offspring’s brain function for life.


  • Immediate Communication
  • Published: 18 November 2019
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Nov 17, 2019

Research sheds light on the underlying mechanics of soft filaments

Posted by in categories: biological, cyborgs, physics, robotics/AI, wearables

Artificial muscles will power the soft robots and wearable devices of the future. But more needs to be understood about the underlying mechanics of these powerful structures in order to design and build new devices.

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have uncovered some of the fundamental physical properties of artificial muscle fibers.

“Thin soft filaments that can easily stretch, bend, twist or shear are capable of extreme deformations that lead to knot-like, braid-like or loop-like structures that can store or release energy easily,” said L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics. “This has been exploited by a number of experimental groups recently to create prototypical artificial muscle fibers. But how the topology, geometry and mechanics of these slender fibers come together during this process was not completely clear. Our study explains the theoretical principles underlying these shape transformations, and sheds light on the underlying design principles.”

Nov 15, 2019

Does Telomere Testing Really Work, Enhancing Longevity & Much More

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

Is it accurate?

Does it really show your so-called “biological vs. chronological” age?

And once you do get your results, how can you lengthen your telomeres?

Nov 14, 2019

How human brain development diverged from great apes

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

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have presented new insights into the development of the human brain and differences in this process compared to other great apes. The study reveals features of brain development that are unique to humans, and outlines how these processes have diverged from those in other primates.

Since humans diverged from a common ancestor shared with chimpanzees and the other great apes, the has changed dramatically. However, the genetic and developmental processes responsible for this divergence are not understood. Cerebral organoids (brain-like tissues), grown from stem cells in a dish, offer the possibility to study the evolution of early brain development in the laboratory.

Sabina Kanton, Michael James Boyle and Zhisong He, co-first authors of the study, together with Gray Camp, Barbara Treutlein and colleagues analyzed human through their development from to explore the dynamics of gene expression and regulation using methods called single-cell RNA-seq and ATAC-seq. The authors also examined chimpanzee and macaque cerebral organoids to understand how organoid development differs in humans.

Nov 14, 2019

Museums put ancient DNA to work for wildlife

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, evolution, existential risks, genetics

Scientists who are trying to save species at the brink of extinction are finding help in an unexpected place.

Heather Farrington, curator of zoology for the Cincinnati Museum Center, is using DNA from specimens collected more than 100 years ago to help understand the evolution and stresses faced by today’s animals.

Farrington runs the museum’s new state-of-the-art genetics laboratory, which helps researchers study populations of animals over time.

Nov 14, 2019

An unusual type of polymorphism in a liquid crystal

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, computing

Polymorphism is a remarkable concept in chemistry, materials science, computer science, and biology. Whether it is the ability of a material to exist in two or more crystal structures, a single interface connecting to two different entities, or alternative phenotypes of an organism, polymorphism determines function and properties. In materials science, polymorphism can be found in an impressively wide range of materials, including crystalline materials, minerals, metals, alloys, and polymers. Here we report on polymorphism in a liquid crystal. A bent-core liquid crystal with a single chiral side chain forms two structurally and morphologically significantly different liquid crystal phases solely depending on the cooling rate from the isotropic liquid state. On slow cooling, the thermodynamically more stable oblique columnar phase forms, and on rapid cooling, a not heretofore reported helical microfilament phase. Since structure determines function and properties, the structural color for these phases also differs.

Nov 13, 2019

Evolution can reconfigure gene networks to deal with environmental change

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

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have unravelled the genetic mechanisms behind tiny waterfleas’ ability to adapt to increased levels of phosphorus pollution in lakes.

By mapping networks of to the physiological responses of ancient and modern waterfleas (Daphnia), the researchers, based in the University’s School of Biosciences, were able to show that a cluster of over 800 genes, many of them involved in , evolved to become “plastic”, or flexible.

This allows the modern Daphnia to adjust its gene expression according to the amount of phosphorus present in the environment. This is particularly fascinating as their 700-year-old ancestors were incapable of such a plastic response.

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