Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 6

Sep 19, 2023

The Fermi Paradox & Panspermia

Posted by in categories: evolution, existential risks

Our current theory of evolution holds that all life on Earth originated from a single, simple life form billions of years ago. But what if that life did not originate on Earth? In this episode we’ll explore the theory of Panspermia, that origin of life might be extraterrestrial in origin, and that the abiogenesis of that origin life form we descend from might have descended from the sky in a comet or some other alien source. We will explore the impact this concept would have on the Fermi Paradox if true.
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Sep 17, 2023

Overeating and addiction may have roots in early human brain evolution and prosocial behaviors

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

Research led by the Department of Anthropology and School of Biomedical Sciences, Kent State University, Ohio, has investigated neuropeptide Y innervation in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens of various primate species, including humans. The research was focused on understanding its role in brain evolution and any implications for human health, particularly regarding addiction and eating disorders.

In a paper, “Hedonic eating, obesity, and addiction result from increased neuropeptide Y in the nucleus accumbens during human ,” published in PNAS, the researchers suggest that the combination of increased neuropeptide Y (NPY) and dopamine (DA) within the human nucleus accumbens (NAc) may have allowed for enhanced . This same configuration may have also made humans exceptionally vulnerable to eating disorders and , hinting at addictive traits having a deep evolutionary origin.

NPY plays a role in the reward system, emotional behavior and is associated with increased alcohol use, drug addiction and . The NAc brain region is central to motivation and action, exhibiting one of the highest densities of NPY in the brain and is of great interest to researchers investigating brain-related promoters of addiction.

Sep 16, 2023

Vast Bubble of Galaxies Discovered — Believed To Be a Remnant From the Universe’s Inception

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

Astronomers have identified an immense bubble, Hoʻoleilana, 820 million light years away. This structure, believed to be a remnant from the universe’s inception and larger than predicted, offers valuable insights into galaxy evolution and the universe’s expansion dynamics.

A University of Hawaiʻi-led discovery of an immense bubble 820 million light years from Earth is believed to be a fossil-like remnant of the birth of the universe. Astronomer Brent Tully from the UH Institute for Astronomy and his team unexpectedly found the bubble within a web of galaxies. The entity has been given the name Hoʻoleilana, a term drawn from the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation chant evoking the origin of structure.

The new findings published on September 5 in The Astrophysical Journal.

Sep 16, 2023

Biological Masterpiece — Evolution Wired Human Brains To Act Like Supercomputers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, evolution, neuroscience, supercomputing

Researchers have confirmed that human brains are naturally wired to perform advanced calculations, similar to e a high-powered computer, to make sense of the world through a process known as Bayesian inference.

In a recent study published in Nature Communications.

<em>Nature Communications</em> is a peer-reviewed, open-access, multidisciplinary, scientific journal published by Nature Portfolio. It covers the natural sciences, including physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, and earth sciences. It began publishing in 2010 and has editorial offices in London, Berlin, New York City, and Shanghai.

Sep 15, 2023

Targeted evolution of adeno-associated virus capsids for systemic transgene delivery to microglia and tissue-resident macrophages

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

Cool paper that adds a useful tool to the gene therapist’s toolbox! Young et al. utilize an in vivo screening method to develop adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) which target microglia. They show that their AAVs transduce central nervous system microglia as well as tissue macrophages after intravenous injection. #biotechnology

Tissue macrophages, including microglia, are notoriously resistant to genetic manipulation. Here, we report the creation of Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) variants that efficiently and widely transduce microglia and tissue macrophages in vivo following intravenous delivery, with transgene expression of up to 80%. We use this technology to demonstrate manipulation of microglia gene expression and microglial ablation, thereby providing invaluable research tools for the study of these important cells.

Sep 14, 2023

Certain proteins in breast milk found to be essential for a baby’s healthy gut

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

Researchers have shown that high concentrations of key proteins in human breast milk, especially osteopontin and κ-casein, are associated with a greater abundance of two species of bacteria in the gut of babies: Clostridium butyricum and Parabacteroides distasonis, known to be beneficial for human health and used as probiotics. These results suggest that proteins in breast milk influence the abundance of beneficial gut microbes in infants, playing an important role in early immune and metabolic development

More than 320 million years of mammalian evolution has adapted breast milk to meet all the physiological needs of babies: it contains not only nutrients, but also hormones, antimicrobials, digestive enzymes, and growth factors. Furthermore, many of the proteins in breast milk, for example casein and milk fat globule membrane proteins, aren’t just sources of energy and molecular building blocks, but also directly stimulate immunity, at least under preclinical conditions.

Sep 13, 2023

Decoding the Universe’s Ghost: Project 8 Is Closing In on the Elusive Neutrino

Posted by in categories: evolution, particle physics

The humble neutrino, an elusive subatomic particle that passes effortlessly through normal matter, plays an outsized role among the particles that comprise our universe. To fully explain how our universe came to be, we need to know its mass. But, like so many of us, it avoids being weighed.

Now, an international team of researchers from the United States and Germany leading an ambitious quest called Project 8 reports that their distinctive strategy is a realistic contender to be the first to measure the neutrino mass. Once fully scaled up, Project 8 could help reveal how neutrinos influenced the early evolution of the universe as we know it.

In 2022, the KATRIN research team set an upper bound for how heavy the neutrino could possibly be. That milestone was a tour-de-force accomplishment that has been decades in the making. But these results simply narrow the search window. KATRIN will soon reach and may one day even exceed its targeted detection limits, but the featherweight neutrino might be lighter still, begging the question: “What’s next?”

Sep 12, 2023

Fundamental Biology Overturned: New Discovery Challenges Long-Held Views on “The Second Brain”

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

Following your gut. Losing your appetite. A gutsy move. Though we often consider the gut as merely a digestive tool, these common expressions reflect the central role the gut plays in a much wider range of essential functions.

The entire digestive tract is lined by the enteric nervous system (ENS), a vast network of millions of neurons and glial cells—the two primary cell types also found in the central nervous system. While often called the second brain, the ENS not only generates the same neurotransmitters but actually predates the evolution of the central nervous system in the brain.

The functions of the ENS are crucial to life and extend far beyond digestion, as it regulates immunity, gut secretions, and enables complex, bi-directional communication between the gut and the brain. This is why a happy gut co-exists with a happy brain, and why digestive issues can lead to changes in mood and behavior.

Sep 6, 2023

It’s reassuring to think humans are evolution’s ultimate destination — but research shows we may be an accident

Posted by in category: evolution

We may have become the most complex living creature in part by accident and replication of error.

Sep 6, 2023

The evolution of AAVs in cell and gene therapy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

AAV development for cell and gene therapy in 2023 is being impacted by manufacturing and regulation challenges, however advancing technologies offer opportunity, according to leaders in the field.

As proven by recent regulatory approvals sweeping the cell and gene therapy industry, particularly within Europe and the US, these pioneering treatments have demonstrated great capacity in helping to resolve hard-to-treat diseases.

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