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Feb 25, 2024

The Last Piece of Our Genome: Sequencing the Y Chromosome

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

Groundbreaking research led by a global group of over 100 researchers will enable a more in-depth exploration of human genetic variation as fully sequencing the Y chromosome, a feat that has challenged scientists for years, has been accomplished for the first time. In this interview, we speak to Dylan Taylor about this impactful research and how it may shape our understanding of human genetics.

Please could you introduce yourself and your current research activities?

I am Dylan Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate and NIH F31 fellow in the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University. My work with the T2T consortium focuses on exploring how a complete reference genome can improve our ability to study human genetic variation and how it impacts human traits and health.

Feb 25, 2024

Genomic evidence for rediploidization and adaptive evolution following the whole-genome triplication

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Polyploidization-rediploidization process plays an important role in plant adaptive evolution. Here, the authors assemble the genomes of mangrove species Sonneratia alba and its inland relative Lagerstroemia speciosa, and reveal genomic evidence for rediploidization and adaptive evolution after the whole-genome triplication.

Feb 25, 2024

Single-molecule RNA sizing enables quantitative analysis of alternative transcription termination

Posted by in category: futurism

The development of RNA technologies demands accurate assessment of transcript size and heterogeneity. Here, authors report a nanopore-based approach to study full-length RNA transcripts at the single-molecule level, identify premature transcription termination and study rolling-circle transcription.

Feb 25, 2024

René Descartes’ Legacy: The Persistence of Mind-Body Dualism

Posted by in category: neuroscience

René Descartes’ mind-body dualism—the view that the mind and body are different kinds of things—haunts cognitive science to this day.

Feb 25, 2024

Revolutionary mRNA Vaccine for Pancreatic Cancer

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

I have written a lot about vaccines that treat cancer. Now we have another new mRNA vaccine to treat pancreatic cancer that has shown promising results in phase 1 clinical trials and is now entering a larger phase 2 clinical trial. This is exciting news for a deadly cancer that attacks tens of thousands of people each year.

The mRNA vaccine technology is going to be one of the leading technologies for cancer treatments going forward. If it can make a meaningful dent in the course of pancreatic cancer, it may well become one of the primary tools for oncologists in treating this pernicious disease.

As I usually do, let’s review this vaccine and the clinical trial results.

Feb 25, 2024

Gut fungi have effects beyond the gut through the gut-brain axis: here’s what scientists learnt

Posted by in category: neuroscience

[NEW POST] Most research on the role of gut microbiota in the gut-brain axis has focused on bacteria, while fungi living inside the gut have been overlooked. What do we know about the role of gut fungi in the communication between the gut and the brain?

Feb 25, 2024

Astrophysicists Create Virtual Universe To Trace Milky Way’s Origins

Posted by in categories: mathematics, physics, space

New mathematical models of our Milky Way Galaxy are helping a team of Argentine, Chilean and Spanish astrophysicists trace the origins of our galaxy back through time.

Feb 25, 2024

A mass of 17 billion suns: Growing black hole is the most luminous object ever observed by astronomers

Posted by in category: cosmology

A new study published in Nature Astronomy describes the most luminous object ever observed by astronomers. It is a black hole with a mass of 17 billion Suns, swallowing a greater amount of mass than the sun every single day.

It has been known about for several decades, but since it is so bright, astronomers assumed it must be a nearby star. Only recent observations revealed its extreme distance and luminosity.

The object has been dubbed J0529-4351. This name simply refers to its coordinates on the celestial sphere—a way of projecting the objects in the sky onto the inside of a sphere. It is a type of object called a quasar.

Feb 25, 2024

Liver-derived extracellular vesicles improve whole-body glycaemic control via inter-organ communication

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Miotto et al. show that in mice, liver-derived extracellular vesicles act on skeletal muscle and the pancreas and increase glucose effectiveness and insulin secretion, thereby modulating glycaemic control.

Feb 25, 2024

Physicists Develop New Significantly More Efficient Solar Cell

Posted by in categories: computing, physics, solar power, sustainability

Physicists at Paderborn University have enhanced solar cell efficiency significantly using tetracene, an organic material, based on complex computer simulations. They discovered that defects at the tetracene-silicon interface boost energy transfer, promising a new solar cell design with drastically improved performance.

Physicists at Paderborn University have used complex computer simulations to create a novel solar cell design that boasts substantially higher efficiency than existing options. The enhancement in performance is attributed to a slender coating of an organic compound named tetracene. The results have recently been published in the renowned journal Physical Review Letters.

“The annual energy of solar radiation on Earth amounts to over one trillion kilowatt-hours and thus exceeds the global energy demand by more than 5,000 times. Photovoltaics, i.e. the generation of electricity from sunlight, therefore offers a large and still largely untapped potential for the supply of clean and renewable energy. Silicon solar cells used for this purpose currently dominate the market, but have efficiency limits,” explains Prof Dr Wolf Gero Schmidt, physicist and Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Paderborn University. One reason for this is that some of the energy from short-wave radiation is not converted into electricity, but into unwanted heat.

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