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Feb 29, 2024

Radio waves reprogram bacteria to become vital drugs with 91% efficacy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Researchers from Australia and a private biotechnology firm in the US have successfully demonstrated the use of high-frequency radio waves to temporarily open up bacterial cell walls to introduce new genetic material into them.


High frequency radio waves are a far efficient method to add DNA to bacterial cells than conventional approaches such as heat shock.

Feb 29, 2024

Q&A: How a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease could also work for type 2 diabetes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Of the 38 million Americans who have diabetes, at least 90% have type 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes occurs over time and is characterized by a loss of the cells in the pancreas that make the hormone insulin, which helps the body manage sugar.

These cells make another protein, called islet amyloid polypeptide or IAPP, which has been found clumped together in many type 2 diabetes patients. The formation of IAPP clusters is comparable to how a protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients sticks together to eventually form the signature plaques associated with that disease.

Researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated more similarities between IAPP clusters and those in Alzheimer’s. The team previously showed that a can block the formation of small, toxic Alzheimer’s protein clusters. Now, in a recently published paper in Protein Science, the researchers have used a similar peptide to block the formation of IAPP clusters.

Feb 29, 2024

Is Artificial Consciousness Possible? #psychologicalscience #humanintelligence #mind

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The past decade’s breathtaking progress in artificial intelligence research saw robots learn to walk and improve image recognition accuracy from 50% to 91%. The prospect of artificial consciousness creates a new urgency for understanding what consciousness is.

Feb 29, 2024

Scientists identify burned bodies using technique devised for extracting DNA from woolly mammoths, Neanderthals

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A technique originally devised to extract DNA from woolly mammoths and other ancient archaeological specimens can be used to potentially identify badly burned human remains, according to a new study from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

The research is published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Fire victims may be identified through dental records if the teeth are preserved and such records exist. Frequently, DNA testing is the only way to identify badly burned bodies. Researchers can extract usable DNA from bones subjected to conditions between 200 and 250 degrees Celsius; between 350 and 550 degrees, there is a steep drop-off in the concentration of DNA.

Feb 29, 2024

Scientists are building tunnels under South Dakota for a $3 billion experiment that could solve some of the universe’s grandest mysteries

Posted by in category: particle physics

To study tiny “ghost particles” known as neutrinos, scientists with Fermilab’s DUNE project will beam them from Illinois to caverns in South Dakota.

Feb 29, 2024

Fire-resistant sodium battery balances safety, cost and performance

Posted by in categories: innovation, materials

A sodium battery developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin significantly reduces fire risks from the technology, while also relying on inexpensive, abundant materials to serve as its building blocks.

Though battery fires are rare, increased battery usage means these incidents are on the rise.

Continue reading “Fire-resistant sodium battery balances safety, cost and performance” »

Feb 29, 2024

Meet the SpaceX Crew-8 astronauts launching to the ISS on March 2

Posted by in category: space travel

Four new astronauts are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on Saturday (March 2) as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission.

Crew-8, the eighth operational commercial crew mission for NASA, will lift off Saturday at 11:16 p.m. EST (0416 GMT on March 3) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida using the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, situated atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will then dock with the orbiting lab the following day around 2:10 p.m. EST (1910 GMT).

Feb 29, 2024

‘Air-breathing’ propulsion tech could unlock unlimited propellant for satellites

Posted by in category: satellites

Earth’s orbit is so populated that the space industry is now developing technologies to remove space debris caused by satellites from an over-crowded low Earth orbit (LEO).

One untapped orbit above Earth does exist, though. The so-called very low Earth orbit (VLEO) would allow satellites to fly in a less crowded space closer to home and take more detailed pictures of our planet.

Feb 29, 2024

East Valley’s $25M International Dark Sky Discovery Center will feature observatory, planetarium

Posted by in category: futurism

The nonprofit group behind the East Valley project has been raising millions of dollars behind the scenes for several years.

Feb 29, 2024

Scientists reveal how first cells could have formed on Earth

Posted by in categories: chemistry, evolution

Roughly 4 billion years ago, Earth was developing 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.

The findings, published online on February 29, 2024, in the journal Chem, suggest that a chemical process called phosphorylation (where are added to the molecule) may have occurred earlier than previously expected. This would lead to more structurally complex, double chained protocells capable of harboring chemical reactions and dividing with a diverse range of functionalities. By revealing how protocells formed, scientists can better understand how could have taken place.

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