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Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 14

Jan 7, 2020

Cancer-like metabolism makes brain grow

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

The size of the human brain increased profoundly during evolution. A certain gene that is only found in humans triggers brain stem cells to form a larger pool of stem cells. As a consequence, more neurons can arise, which paves the way to a bigger brain. This brain size gene is called ARHGAP11B and so far, how it works was completely unknown. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden now uncovered its mode of action. They show that the ARHGAP11B protein is located in the powerhouse of the cell—the mitochondria—and induces a metabolic pathway in the brain stem cells that is characteristic of cancer cells.

The research group of Wieland Huttner, a founding director of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, has been investigating the underlying the expansion of the brain during mammalian evolution for many years. In 2015, the group reported a key role for a gene that is only present in humans and in our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans. This gene, named ARHGAP11B, causes the so-called basal brain stem to expand in number and to eventually increase the production of neurons, leading to a bigger and more folded brain in the end. How the gene functions within the basal brain stem cells has been unknown so far.

Takashi Namba, a postdoctoral scientist in the research group of Wieland Huttner, wanted to find the answer to this question, together with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, and the Department of Medical Biochemistry at the Semmelweis University, Budapest. He found that the ARHGAP11B protein is located in mitochondria, the organelles that generate most of the cell’s source of chemical energy and hence are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. Takashi Namba explains the results: We found that ARHGAP11B interacts with a protein in the membrane of mitochondria that regulates a membrane pore. As a consequence of this interaction, the pores in the membrane are closing up, preventing calcium leakage from the mitochondria. The resulting higher calcium concentration causes the mitochondria to generate chemical energy by a metabolic pathway called glutaminolysis.

Dec 31, 2019

The War on Sensemaking, Daniel Schmachtenberger

Posted by in categories: evolution, sustainability

Let’s be clear.


What can we trust? Why is the ‘information ecology’ so damaged, and what would it take to make it healthy?

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Dec 31, 2019

HoloPort Testing Begins

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, evolution, internet

Holochain is a next generation protocol and an evolution of blockchain for web 3.0 leading to a more distributed world.


https://holo.host/
We are en route to build a more healthier, more empowered internet!

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Dec 25, 2019

Viewpoint: A Forbidden Transition Allowed for Stars

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, nuclear energy, physics

The discovery of an exceptionally strong “forbidden” beta-decay involving fluorine and neon could change our understanding of the fate of intermediate-mass stars.

Every year roughly 100 billion stars are born and just as many die. To understand the life cycle of a star, nuclear physicists and astrophysicists collaborate to unravel the physical processes that take place in the star’s interior. Their aim is to determine how the star responds to these processes and from that response predict the star’s final fate. Intermediate-mass stars, whose masses lie somewhere between 7 and 11 times that of our Sun, are thought to die via one of two very different routes: thermonuclear explosion or gravitational collapse. Which one happens depends on the conditions within the star when oxygen nuclei begin to fuse, triggering the star’s demise. Researchers have now, for the first time, measured a rare nuclear decay of fluorine to neon that is key to understanding the fate of these “in between” stars [1, 2]. Their calculations indicate that thermonuclear explosion and not gravitational collapse is the more likely expiration route.

The evolution and fate of a star strongly depend on its mass at birth. Low-mass stars—such as the Sun—transition first into red giants and then into white dwarfs made of carbon and oxygen as they shed their outer layers. Massive stars—those whose mass is at least 11 times greater than the Sun’s—also transition to red giants, but in the cores of these giants, nuclear fusion continues until the core has turned completely to iron. Once that happens, the star stops generating energy and starts collapsing under the force of gravity. The star’s core then compresses into a neutron star, while its outer layers are ejected in a supernova explosion. The evolution of intermediate-mass stars is less clear. Predictions indicate that they can explode both via the gravitational collapse mechanism of massive stars and by a thermonuclear process [36]. The key to finding out which happens lies in the properties of an isotope of neon and its ability to capture electrons.

Dec 24, 2019

Evolutionary Changes in Brain Potentially Make us More Prone to Anxiety

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

Neurochemicals such as serotonin and dopamine play crucial roles in cognitive and emotional functions of our brain. Vesicular monoamine transporter 1 (VMAT1) is one of the genes responsible for transporting neurotransmitters and regulating neuronal signaling. A research team led by Tohoku University has reconstructed ancestral VMAT1 proteins, revealing the functional changes in neurotransmitter uptake of VMAT1 throughout the course of human evolution.

Human bodies are made up of millions of cells. Each individual contains a specific set of instruction of codes that make up all of a living thing’s genetic material. These instructions are known as genomes. PhD candidate Daiki Sato and Professor Masakado Kawata of the Graduate School of Life Sciences at Tohoku University, and two of the authors involved in the current study, previously discovered VMAT1 to be one of the genes that had evolved throughout human lineage.

VMAT 1 contains two human-specific mutations, or where the genomes changed, with the change being represented as 130Glu to 130Gly and from 136Asn to 136Thr. Previous studies have shown that having the new 130Gly/136Thr variant decreases the uptake of neurotransmitters and is associated with higher depression and/or anxiety. In this study, Sato, Kawata and their colleagues revealed the evolutionary changes in neurotransmitter uptake of VMAT1 by reconstructing ancestral VMAT1 proteins. First they applied a fluorescent substrate to visualize and quantify the neurotransmitter uptake of each genotype. The ancestral (130Glu/136Asn) VMAT1 protein exhibited an increased uptake of neurotransmitters compared to a derived (130Gly/136Thr) genotype. Given that the derived (130Gly/136Thr) genotype is shown to be associated with depression and/or anxiety in modern human populations. “This results of our study reveal that our ancestors may have been able to withstand higher levels of anxiety or depression,” noted the authors.

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Dec 16, 2019

Physicist proposes a new approach in modeling the evolution of the universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

A physicist from RUDN University has proposed a new theoretical model for the interaction of spinor and gravitational fields. He considered the evolution of the universe within one of the variants of the widespread Bianchi cosmological model. In this case, a change in the calculated field parameters led to changes in the evolution of the universe under consideration. Upon reaching certain values, it began to shrink down to the Big Bang. The article was published in the journal The European Physical Journal Plus.

The spinor field is characterized by its behavior in interaction with gravitational fields. Dr. Bijan Saha of RUDN University focused on the study of a nonlinear spinor field. With its help, he explained the accelerated expansion of the universe. The study of a spinor field with a non-minimal coupling made it possible to describe not only the expansion of the universe, but also its subsequent contraction and the resulting Big Bang within the framework of the standard Bianchi .

The basic calculations performed by Bijan Saha allow moving away from the isotropic of the Friedman-Robertson-Walker universe (FRW) that is most often used. According to this traditional model, the properties of the universe are independent of the direction in which they are considered. The physicist has put forward an alternative: an anisotropic model in which such dependence exists. On the one hand, the “classical” isotropic model describes the of the modern universe with great precision. On the other hand, there are theoretical arguments and that lead to the conclusion that an anisotropic phase existed in the distant past.

Dec 11, 2019

CRISPR-resistant viruses build ‘safe rooms’ to shield genomes from DNA-dicing enzymes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Bacteria and the viruses that infect them are engaged in a molecular arms race as ancient as life itself. Evolution has equipped bacteria with an arsenal of immune enzymes, including CRISPR-Cas systems, that target and destroy viral DNA. But bacteria-killing viruses, also known as phages, have devised their own tools to help them outmaneuver even the most formidable of these bacterial defenses.

Now, scientists at UC San Francisco and UC San Diego have discovered a remarkable new strategy that some phages employ to avoid becoming the next casualty of these DNA-dicing enzymes: after they infect , these phages construct an impenetrable “safe room” inside of their host, which protects vulnerable phage DNA from antiviral enzymes. This compartment, which resembles a , is the most effective CRISPR shield ever discovered in viruses.

“In our experiments, these phages didn’t succumb to any of the DNA-targeting CRISPR systems they were challenged with. This is the first time that anyone has found phages that exhibit this level of pan-CRISPR resistance,” said Joseph Bondy-Denomy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UCSF. Bondy-Denomy led the research team that made the discovery, which is detailed in a paper published Dec. 9, 2019 in the journal Nature.

Dec 11, 2019

Astrobiology And The Search For Extraterrestrial Like Life

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, evolution, health

Ira Pastor, ideaXme exponential health ambassador, interviews Dr. Penelope “Penny” Boston, recent Director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute.

Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary scientific field concerned with the origins, early evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe, and considers the big question of whether extraterrestrial life exists, and if it does, how humans can detect it.

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Dec 10, 2019

AstroBiology and the Search for ExtraTerrestrial-Like Life!! — ideaXme — Dr. Penelope “Penny” Boston, PhD., Director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: alien life, astronomy, bioengineering, chemistry, DNA, Elon Musk, evolution, futurism, government, Mark Zuckerberg

Dec 3, 2019

We may finally know the answer to the biggest question, what happened before the Big Bang?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

The current Lambda CDM model may explain a great deal about the evolution and the chronology of the events that occurred in our Universe but it doesn’t paint the complete picture.

We know of the cosmic inflation that happened followed by the Big Bang itself however how these two are coherently connected has so far defied all our attempts to explain.

During the inflationary period, within less than a trillionth of a second, our universe grew from an infinitesimal point to an octillion (that’s 1 followed by 27 zeroes) times in size, which was followed by a more conventional and gradual period of expansion, nevertheless violent by our standards, which we know as the Big Bang.

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