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Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 8

Mar 23, 2024

Changes in Protein Folding Can Drive Evolution

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

In cells, like the snowflake yeast in this image byTony Burnetti, proteins are translated and folded into very specific, three-dimensional shapes. | Cell And Molecular Biology.

Mar 22, 2024

Genetic Modification of Brain Organoids

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

Brain organoids have become increasingly used systems allowing 3D-modeling of human brain development, evolution, and disease. To be able to make full use of these modeling systems, researchers have developed a growing toolkit of genetic modification techniques. These techniques can be applied to mature brain organoids or to the preceding embryoid bodies (EBs) and founding cells. This review will describe techniques used for transient and stable genetic modification of brain organoids and discuss their current use and respective advantages and disadvantages. Transient approaches include adeno-associated virus (AAV) and electroporation-based techniques, whereas stable genetic modification approaches make use of lentivirus (including viral stamping), transposon and CRISPR/Cas9 systems. Finally, an outlook as to likely future developments and applications regarding genetic modifications of brain organoids will be presented.

The development of brain organoids (Kadoshima et al., 2013; Lancaster et al., 2013) has opened up new ways to study brain development and evolution as well as neurodevelopmental disorders. Brain organoids are multicellular 3D structures that mimic certain aspects of the cytoarchitecture and cell-type composition of certain brain regions over a particular developmental time window (Heide et al., 2018). These structures are generated by differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) or embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into embryoid bodies followed by, or combined, with neural induction (Kadoshima et al., 2013; Lancaster et al., 2013). In principle, two different classes of brain organoid protocols can be distinguished, namely: (i) the self-patterning protocols which produce whole-brain organoids; and (ii) the pre-patterning protocols which produce brain region-specific organoids (Heide et al., 2018).

Mar 22, 2024

Earth’s Deep Secrets: Breakthrough Study Discovers Ancient Mantle Flow Beneath Philippine Sea Plate

Posted by in categories: evolution, materials

Scientists from China and Japan have identified unique features of the flow field in the lower mantle. Through their study of seismic anisotropy in the upper section of the lower mantle beneath the Philippine Sea Plate, they discovered that the ancient lower mantle flow field is still preserved there.

The study was published in Nature Geoscience.

The lower mantle is an important layer of the Earth and may play an important role in the evolution and material cycling of Earth’s interior. It is generally believed to be not only the final destination of subducted slabs, but also the birthplace of mantle plumes, which are two major styles in the evolution and material cycling of the Earth’s surface and interior. However, our knowledge of the characteristics of the flow field and geodynamics of the lower mantle is still deficient.

Mar 21, 2024

Method to detect dark matter could lead to a better understanding of galaxy evolution

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, particle physics

Everyone loves a two-for-one deal—even physicists looking to tackle unanswered questions about the cosmos. Now, scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory are getting just such a twofer: Particle detectors originally developed to look for dark matter are now in a position to be included aboard the Line Emission Mapper (LEM), a space-based X-ray probe mission proposed for the 2030s.

Mar 21, 2024

Human brains preserve in diverse environments for at least 12 000 years

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

Human brains preserve in diverse environments for at least 12 000 years—new research in Proceedings B this week: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2023.

Soft tissue preservation in the geological record is relatively rare, and when an archaeologist digs a human skull out of the…


The brain is thought to be among the first human organs to decompose after death. The discovery of brains preserved in the archaeological record is therefore regarded as unusual. Although mechanisms such as dehydration, freezing, saponification, and tanning are known to allow for the preservation of the brain on short time scales in association with other soft tissues (≲4000 years), discoveries of older brains, especially in the absence of other soft tissues, are rare. Here, we collated an archive of more than 4,400 human brains preserved in the archaeological record across approximately 12 000 years, more than 1,300 of which constitute the only soft tissue preserved amongst otherwise skeletonized remains. We found that brains of this type persist on time scales exceeding those preserved by other means, which suggests an unknown mechanism may be responsible for preservation particular to the central nervous system. The untapped archive of preserved ancient brains represents an opportunity for bioarchaeological studies of human evolution, health and disease.

Continue reading “Human brains preserve in diverse environments for at least 12 000 years” »

Mar 21, 2024

What is emergent gravity, and will it rewrite physics?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics

In Verlinde’s picture of emergent gravity, as soon as you enter low-density regions — basically, anything outside the solar system — gravity behaves differently than we would expect from Einstein’s theory of general relativity. At large scales, there is a natural inward pull to space itself, which forces matter to clump up more tightly than it otherwise would.

This idea was exciting because it allowed astronomers to find a way to test this new theory. Observers could take this new theory of gravity and put it in models of galaxy structure and evolution to find differences between it and models of dark matter.

Over the years, however, the experimental results have been mixed. Some early tests favored emergent gravity over dark matter when it came to the rotation rates of stars. But more recent observations haven’t found an advantage. And dark matter can also explain much more than galaxy rotation rates; tests within galaxy clusters have found emergent gravity coming up short.

Mar 20, 2024

Spatial study of lung cancer reveals immune markers of response to immunotherapy

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

Through Broad’s Scientists in the Classroom program, Broad researchers visit every 8th grade classroom in Cambridge each year to talk about genetics and evolution.

Every summer, 18 high school students spend six weeks at Broad working side-by-side with mentors on cutting-edge research.

In November 2022, Broad’s Genomics Platform sequenced its 500,000th whole human genome, a mere four years after sequencing its 100,000th.

Mar 19, 2024

New Phospholipid Discovery Rewrites the Story of the Origin of Life

Posted by in categories: chemistry, evolution

Approximately 4 billion years ago, Earth was in the process of creating conditions suitable for life. Origin-of-life scientists often wonder if the type of chemistry found on the early Earth was similar to what life requires today. They know that spherical collections of fats, called protocells, were the precursor to cells during this emergence of life. But how did simple protocells first arise and diversify to eventually lead to life on Earth?

Now, Scripps Research scientists have discovered one plausible pathway for how protocells may have first formed and chemically progressed to allow for a diversity of functions.

Continue reading “New Phospholipid Discovery Rewrites the Story of the Origin of Life” »

Mar 16, 2024

Scientists make breakthrough in process of creating artificial life in the lab

Posted by in categories: evolution, innovation

Our understanding of RNA evolution still has a long way to go, but this experiment has made a huge leap forward.

Mar 16, 2024

Squeezing Oscillations in a Multimode Bosonic Josephson Junction

Posted by in categories: engineering, evolution, quantum physics

We use two 1D quasicondensates in a double potential well to realize a bosonic Josephson junction, a microscopic system that gives rise to interesting quantum phenomena resulting from the interplay of quantum tunneling and interaction. The multimode characteristics within the quasicondensates make the system suitable as a quantum field simulator. To prepare quantum states, we split a single condensate into two and, consequently, we witness the dynamical evolution of quantum fluctuations in the relative degree of freedom between the two split condensates. We demonstrate how to use these dynamics to effectively prepare more strongly correlated quantum states and how those influence spatial phase coherence.

Our work introduces innovative methods for engineering correlations and entanglement in the external degree of freedom of interacting many-body systems. It is a leap forward in understanding and harnessing quantum correlations, paving the way for exciting possibilities in quantum simulation research.

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