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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

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.

Nov 10, 2019

A natural biomolecule has been measured acting like a quantum wave for the first time

Posted by in categories: biological, quantum physics

Physicists have watched a chain of 15 amino acids interfere with itself, in an experiment that paves the way for a new era of quantum biology.

Nov 8, 2019

Scientists further refine how quickly the universe is expanding

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

Wielding state-of-the-art technologies and techniques, a team of Clemson University astrophysicists has added a novel approach to quantifying one of the most fundamental laws of the universe.

In a paper published Friday, Nov. 8, in The Astrophysical Journal, Clemson scientists Marco Ajello, Abhishek Desai, Lea Marcotulli and Dieter Hartmann have collaborated with six other scientists around the world to devise a new measurement of the Hubble Constant, the unit of measure used to describe the rate of expansion of the .

“Cosmology is about understanding the evolution of our universe—how it evolved in the past, what it is doing now and what will happen in the future,” said Ajello, an associate professor in the College of Science’s department of physics and astronomy. “Our knowledge rests on a number of parameters—including the Hubble Constant—that we strive to measure as precisely as possible. In this paper, our team analyzed data obtained from both orbiting and ground-based telescopes to come up with one of the newest measurements yet of how quickly the universe is expanding.”

Nov 7, 2019

Discover Thomson Reuters

Posted by in categories: biological, food

ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — It may sound like science fiction, but in a few short years the family dinner table may be laden with steak from a printer and other proteins produced from air, methane or volcanic microbes.

With the explosive success of vegan beef and burger substitutes developed by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the alternative protein sector just keeps growing.

According to investment bank Barclays, alternative meat sales could reach $140 billion — or 10% of the global meat industry — within a decade, or a 10-fold increase from current levels.

Nov 4, 2019

Emerald Ash Borer and its Enemy Wasps

Posted by in categories: biological, futurism

A recent study shows that male emerald ash borers infected with a deadly fungus readily transmit the fungus when mating, opening doors for future biological control efforts.

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