Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 59

Mar 26, 2022

Engage! Webb Telescope prepares to unlock the secrets of galactic evolution

Posted by in categories: environmental, evolution, space

The first galaxies in the universe are a mystery to us — but that could soon change.

The cosmos has come a long way (pun intended). But the most fantastic story of all time isn’t fully understood — especially the early chapters, ‘written’ in history during the first two to three hundred million years of the universe’s 13.8 billion-year existence.

The James Webb Space Telescope could be the key. The observatory can look about three times as far back in time than the iconic Hubble. The Webb will detect infrared wavelengths long enough to pierce through the dense smog of all the light and dust that sits between Earth and the furthest galactic posts, revealing information about the ancient universe where these wavelengths began their journey through space billions of years ago.

Continue reading “Engage! Webb Telescope prepares to unlock the secrets of galactic evolution” »

Mar 23, 2022

Gene Editing Now Has A Next-Generation CRISPR Tool

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

The creation of new proteins and peptides for use with CRISPR represents the next stage in the evolution of this technology.

Mar 22, 2022

The Sun is losing mass. And once featured Saturn-like rings?

Posted by in categories: evolution, space

These features could have a special significance for the Earth’s evolution.

When it comes to the universe and all of its mysteries, there are many things we know we don’t know. Some are minor and mostly inconsequential, but there are other cosmological unknowns that leave huge blanks in our understanding of how things work on large and small scales. How our planet was created is one such mystery. Let’s go all the way back to the beginning when the Sun was just a clump of gas and dust to understand how our solar system may have formed.

## How stars form.

Continue reading “The Sun is losing mass. And once featured Saturn-like rings?” »

Mar 19, 2022

Evolutionary transition from a single RNA replicator to a multiple replicator network

Posted by in category: evolution

Long-term experimental evolution shows that a single polymerase-encoding RNA replicator can evolve into a complex replicator network, shedding light on how a molecular replicator could have developed complexity before the emergence of life.

Mar 16, 2022

A talk by David Pearce for the Stepping into the Future conference 2022

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, evolution, health, neuroscience, transhumanism

Synopsis: No sentient being in the evolutionary history of life has enjoyed good health as defined by the World Health Organization. The founding constitution of the World Health Organization commits the international community to a daringly ambitious conception of health: “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing”. Health as so conceived is inconsistent with evolution via natural selection. Lifelong good health is inconsistent with a Darwinian genome. Indeed, the vision of the World Health Organization evokes the World Transhumanist Association. Transhumanists aspire to a civilization of superhappiness, superlongevity and superintelligence; but even an architecture of mind based on information-sensitive gradients of bliss cannot yield complete well-being. Post-Darwinian life will be sublime, but “complete” well-being is posthuman – more akin to Buddhist nirvana. So the aim of this talk is twofold. First, I shall explore the therapeutic interventions needed to underwrite the WHO conception of good health for everyone – or rather, a recognisable approximation of lifelong good health. What genes, allelic combinations and metabolic pathways must be targeted to deliver a biohappiness revolution: life based entirely on gradients of well-being? How can we devise a more civilized signalling system for human and nonhuman animal life than gradients of mental and physical pain? Secondly, how can genome reformists shift the Overton window of political discourse in favour of hedonic uplift? How can prospective parents worldwide – and the World Health Organization – be encouraged to embrace genome reform? For only germline engineering can fix the problem of suffering and create a happy biosphere for all sentient beings.…id-pearce/

Mar 13, 2022

The dark side of the universe: How black holes became supermassive

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics

Black holes are among the most compelling mysteries of the universe. Nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole. And at the center of nearly every galaxy there is a supermassive black hole that’s millions to billions of times more massive than the sun. Understanding black holes, and how they become supermassive, could shed light on the evolution of the universe.

Three at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have recently developed a model to explain the formation of supermassive black holes, as well as the nature of another phenomenon: . In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, theoretical physicists Hooman Davoudiasl, Peter Denton, and Julia Gehrlein describe a cosmological phase transition that facilitated the formation of supermassive black holes in a dark sector of the .

A cosmological phase transition is akin to a more familiar type of phase transition: bringing water to a boil. When water reaches the exact right temperature, it erupts into bubbles and vapor. Imagine that process taking place with a primordial state of matter. Then, shift the process in reverse so it has a cooling effect and magnify it to the scale of the universe.

Mar 11, 2022

A DNA “Oracle” for Predicting the Future Evolution of Gene Regulation

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

Researchers created a mathematical framework to examine the genome and detect signatures of natural selection, deciphering the evolutionary past and future of non-coding DNA.

Despite the sheer number of genes that each human cell contains, these so-called “coding” DNA sequences comprise just 1% of our entire genome. The remaining 99% is made up of “non-coding” DNA — which, unlike coding DNA, does not carry the instructions to build proteins.

One vital function of this non-coding DNA, also called “regulatory” DNA, is to help turn genes on and off, controlling how much (if any) of a protein is made. Over time, as cells replicate their DNA to grow and divide, mutations often crop up in these non-coding regions — sometimes tweaking their function and changing the way they control gene expression. Many of these mutations are trivial, and some are even beneficial. Occasionally, though, they can be associated with increased risk of common diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, or more life-threatening ones, including cancer.

Mar 11, 2022

Future Evolution: How Will Humans Change in the Next 10,000 Years?

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, climatology, evolution, existential risks

READER QUESTION: If humans don’t die out in a climate apocalypse or asteroid impact in the next 10,000 years, are we likely to evolve further into a more advanced species than what we are at the moment? Harry Bonas, 57, Nigeria

Humanity is the unlikely result of four billion years of evolution.

From self-replicating molecules in Archean seas, to eyeless fish in the Cambrian deep, to mammals scurrying from dinosaurs in the dark, and then, finally, improbably, ourselves—evolution shaped us.

Mar 6, 2022

Detailed Supercomputer Simulation of the Universe Creates Structures Very Similar to the Milky Way

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics, supercomputing

In their pursuit of understanding cosmic evolution, scientists rely on a two-pronged approach. Using advanced instruments, astronomical surveys attempt to look farther and farther into space (and back in time) to study the earliest periods of the Universe. At the same time, scientists create simulations that attempt to model how the Universe has evolved based on our understanding of physics. When the two match, astrophysicists and cosmologists know they are on the right track!

In recent years, increasingly-detailed simulations have been made using increasingly sophisticated supercomputers, which have yielded increasingly accurate results. Recently, an international team of researchers led by the University of Helsinki conducted the most accurate simulations to date. Known as SIBELIUS-DARK, these simulations accurately predicted the evolution of our corner of the cosmos from the Big Bang to the present day.

In addition to the University of Helsinki, the team was comprised of researchers from the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) and the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University, the Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics at Leiden University, the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, and The Oskar Klein Centre at Stockholm University. The team’s results are published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Feb 28, 2022

Largest bacterium ever discovered is longer than a housefly

Posted by in category: evolution

Biologists have discovered the largest bacterium ever found, with a single cell measuring a mammoth 2 cm (0.8 in) long. Visible to the naked eye, this new species has some bizarre characteristics that make it like a missing link in the evolution of complex cells like those in humans.

Most species of bacteria measure between one and five micrometers long, but the biggest previously known was Thiomargarita namibiensis, which tops out at 750 micrometers or 0.75 mm. But this newly identified species blows everything else out of the water – its average length is a whopping 9,000 micrometers (0.9 cm/0.4 in), with the largest recorded specimen reaching 2 cm. This single cell is longer than your everyday housefly.

This gigantic size completely upends the accepted scientific understanding of how big bacteria could possibly get. It was long believed that the size of bacteria was limited by the distance that the molecules they exchange with their environment could travel. If nutrients can’t make the journey from their membrane to their interior, and if toxins can’t do the reverse trip, the organism wouldn’t be viable.

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