ScienceDaily: Featured - October 22, 2023
Featured research news
The fossils of a 170-million-year-old ancient marine reptile from the Age of Dinosaurs have been identified as the oldest-known mega-predatory pliosaur -- a group of ocean-dwelling reptiles closely related to the famous long-necked plesiosaurs. The findings are rare and add new knowledge to the evolution of plesiosaurs.
Stimulating muscle fibers with magnets causes them to grow in the same direction, aligning muscle cells within tissue. The findings offer a simpler, less time-consuming way for medical researchers to program muscle cell alignment, which is strongly tied to healthy muscle function.
Anthropologists challenge the traditional view of men as hunters and women as gatherers in prehistoric times. Their research reveals evidence of gender equality in roles and suggests that women were physically capable of hunting. The study sheds light on the gender bias in past research and calls for a more nuanced understanding of prehistoric gender roles.
An international team has spotted a remote blast of cosmic radio waves lasting less than a millisecond. This 'fast radio burst' (FRB) is the most distant ever detected. Its source was pinned down by the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in a galaxy so far away that its light took eight billion years to reach us. The FRB is also one of the most energetic ever observed; in a tiny fraction of a second it released the equivalent of our Sun's total emission over 30 years.
Bats may have lived in caves and used soundwaves to navigate much earlier than first thought.
People who eat just two servings of red meat per week may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people who eat fewer servings, and the risk increases with greater consumption, according to a new study. Researchers also found that replacing red meat with healthy plant-based protein sources, such as nuts and legumes, or modest amounts of dairy foods, was associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Baltic amber is a luxury material used in jewellery and handicrafts all over the world. Researchers have shown that Baltic amber arrived on the Iberian Peninsula at least in the 4th millennium BC, more than a millennium earlier than previously thought.
Researchers have shown it's theoretically possible for black holes to exist in perfectly balanced pairs -- held in equilibrium by a cosmological force -- mimicking a single black hole.
A team of researchers have mapped almost 6,000 proteins from different cell types within the eye by analyzing tiny drops of eye fluid that are routinely removed during surgery. The researchers used an AI model to create a 'proteomic clock' from this data that can predict a healthy person's age based on their protein profile. The clock revealed that diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and uveitis cause accelerated aging within specific cell types. Surprisingly, the researchers also detected proteins associated with Parkinson's disease within eye fluid, which they say could offer a pathway to earlier Parkinson's diagnoses.
A research team has discovered that parasites manipulate their hosts using stolen genes that they likely acquired through a phenomenon called horizontal gene transfer.
Researchers have invented an experimental wearable device that generates power from a user's bending finger and can create and store memories, in a promising step towards health monitoring and other technologies.
Formed millions to billions of years ago, diamonds can shine light into the darkest and oldest parts of the Earth's mantle. The analysis of ancient, superdeep diamonds dug up from mines in Brazil and Western Africa, has exposed new processes of how continents evolved and moved during the early evolution of complex life on Earth. These diamonds that were formed between 650 and 450 million years ago on the base of the supercontinent Gondwana, were analysed by an international team of experts, and have shown how supercontinents such as Gondwana were formed, stabilised, and how they move around the planet.
About 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals, who had lived for hundreds of thousands of years in the western part of the Eurasian continent, gave way to Homo sapiens, who had arrived from Africa. This replacement was not sudden, and the two species coexisted for a few millennia, resulting in the integration of Neanderthal DNA into the genome of Sapiens. Researchers have analyzed the distribution of the portion of DNA inherited from Neanderthals in the genomes of humans (Homo sapiens) over the last 40,000 years. These statistical analyses revealed subtle variations in time and geographical space.
Particle accelerators are crucial tools in a wide variety of areas in industry, research and the medical sector. The space these machines require ranges from a few square meters to large research centers. Using lasers to accelerate electrons within a photonic nanostructure constitutes a microscopic alternative with the potential of generating significantly lower costs and making devices considerably less bulky. Until now, no substantial energy gains were demonstrated. In other words, it has not been shown that electrons really have increased in speed significantly. Two teams of laser physicists have just succeeded in demonstrating a nanophotonic electron accelerator.
It is often claimed that using the snooze button can have negative effects on sleep and cognitive processes, but there has been no direct evidence to this effect. New research shows that snoozing may actually support the waking process for regular snoozers.
Octopuses are fascinating animals -- and serve as important model organisms in neuroscience, cognition research and developmental biology. To gain a deeper understanding of their biology and evolutionary history, validated data on the composition of their genome is needed, which has been lacking until now. Scientists have now been able to close this gap and, in a new study, determined impressive figures: 2.8 billion base pairs -- organized in 30 chromosomes. What sounds so simple is the result of complex, computer-assisted genome analyses and comparisons with the genomes of other cephalopod species.
Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer, is notoriously resistant to treatment, with recurrent GBM associated with survival of less than 10 months. Immunotherapies, which mobilize the body's immune defenses against a cancer, have not been effective for GBM, in part because the tumor's surrounding environment is largely impenetrable to assaults from the body's immune system. To convert this immunosuppressive environment into one amenable to an immune response, investigators engineered a novel oncolytic virus that can infect cancer cells and stimulate an anti-tumor immune response. Results demonstrated the safety and preliminary efficacy of the novel gene therapy approach in high-grade glioma patients, with prolonged survival in a subgroup of recurrent GBM patients immunologically 'familiar' with the virus.
When stacked in five layers in a rhombohedral pattern, graphene takes on a rare 'multiferroic' state, exhibiting both unconventional magnetism and an exotic electronic behavior known as ferro-valleytricity.
A new study looked at 926 polygenic risk scores for 310 diseases. It found that, on average, only 11% of individuals who develop disease are identified, while at the same time 5% of people who do not develop the disease test positive. Unaffected people usually outnumber those affected which results in far more false than true positive predictions.
The DNA double helix is composed of two DNA molecules whose sequences are complementary to each other. The stability of the duplex can be fine-tuned in the lab by controlling the amount and location of imperfect complementary sequences. Fluorescent markers bound to one of the matching DNA strands make the duplex visible, and fluorescence intensity increases with increasing duplex stability. Now, researchers have succeeded in creating fluorescent duplexes that can generate any of 16 million colors -- a work that surpasses the previous 256 colors limitation. This very large palette can be used to 'paint' with DNA and to accurately reproduce any digital image on a miniature 2D surface with 24-bit color depth.
Scientists have announced the results of an unprecedented collaboration to search for the source of the largest ever seismic event recorded on Mars. The study rules out a meteorite impact, suggesting instead that the quake was the result of enormous tectonic forces within Mars' crust.
Researchers say they have found 'definitive' archaeological evidence that seaweeds and other local freshwater plants were eaten in the mesolithic, through the Neolithic transition to farming and into the Early Middle Ages, suggesting that these resources, now rarely eaten in Europe, only became marginal much more recently.
New research considers how the financial industry can identify, manage and, if necessary, remove these individuals.
A new study has reconstructed the well-preserved but damaged skull of a great ape species that lived about 12 million years ago. The species, Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, may be crucial to understanding great ape and human evolution.
Populations of charismatic animals have recovered since hunting ban but now struggle to find enough food.