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Possible marker of life spotted on venus

Planet Venus (stock image; elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © Igor_Filonenko / stock.adobe.com An international team of astronomers today announced the discovery of a rare molecule -- phosphine -- in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. Astronomers have speculated for decades…

Possible marker of life spotted on venus

Planet Venus (stock image; elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © Igor_Filonenko / stock.adobe.com An international team of astronomers today announced the discovery of a rare molecule -- phosphine -- in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. Astronomers have speculated for decades…

Possible marker of life spotted on venus

Planet Venus (stock image; elements furnished by NASA). Credit: © Igor_Filonenko / stock.adobe.com An international team of astronomers today announced the discovery of a rare molecule -- phosphine -- in the clouds of Venus. On Earth, this gas is only made industrially or by microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments. Astronomers have speculated for decades…

Researchers discover a specific brain circuit damaged by social isolation during...

Person and shadow, loneliness concept (stock image). Credit: © Jorm S / stock.adobe.com Loneliness is recognized as a serious threat to mental health. Even as our world becomes increasingly connected over digital platforms, young people in our society are feeling a growing sense of isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many countries to implement social…

Vikings had smallpox and may have helped spread the world’s deadliest...

Viking ship (stock image). Credit: © Alex Stemmer / stock.adobe.com Scientists have discovered extinct strains of smallpox in the teeth of Viking skeletons -- proving for the first time that the killer disease plagued humanity for at least 1400 years. Smallpox spread from person to person via infectious droplets, killed around a third of sufferers…

Lab-made virus mimics COVID-19 virus

Laboratory researcher, concept photo (stock image). Credit: © tilialucida / stock.adobe.com Airborne and potentially deadly, the virus that causes COVID-19 can only be studied safely under high-level biosafety conditions. Scientists handling the infectious virus must wear full-body biohazard suits with pressurized respirators, and work inside laboratories with multiple containment levels and specialized ventilation systems. While…

Age-related impairments reversed in animal model

Eosinophils surrounded by red blood cells (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / stock.adobe.com Frailty and immune decline are two main features of old age. Researchers from the University of Bern and the University Hospital Bern now demonstrate in an animal model that these two age-related impairments can be halted and even partially reversed using a…

Driving bacteria to produce potential antibiotic, antiparasitic compounds

Bacteria illustration (stock image). Credit: © Paulista / stock.adobe.com Researchers have developed a method to spur the production of new antibiotic or antiparasitic compounds hiding in the genomes of actinobacteria, which are the source of drugs such as actinomycin and streptomycin and are known to harbor other untapped chemical riches. The scientists report their findings…

Why are plants green?

Leaves in sunlight (stock image). Credit: © Olivier Le Moal / stock.adobe.com When sunlight shining on a leaf changes rapidly, plants must protect themselves from the ensuing sudden surges of solar energy. To cope with these changes, photosynthetic organisms -- from plants to bacteria -- have developed numerous tactics. Scientists have been unable, however, to…

Receptor makes mice strong and slim

Mouse on exercise wheel (stock image). Credit: © Emilia Stasiak / stock.adobe.com Increasing abdominal girth and shrinking muscles are two common side effects of aging. Researchers at the University of Bonn have discovered a receptor in mice that regulates both effects. Experiments with human cell cultures suggest that the corresponding signaling pathways might also exist…

Viruses can steal our genetic code to create new human-virus genes

Influenza virus illustration (stock image). Credit: © Kateryna_Kon / stock.adobe.com Like a scene out of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," a virus infects a host and converts it into a factory for making more copies of itself. Now researchers have shown that a large group of viruses, including the influenza viruses and other serious pathogens,…

Scientists decode how the brain senses smell

Illustration of brain with olfactory bulb highlighted (stock image). Credit: © pankajstock123 / stock.adobe.com Scientists have further decoded how mammalian brains perceive odors and distinguish one smell from thousands of others. In experiments in mice, NYU Grossman School of Medicine researchers have for the first time created an electrical signature that is perceived as an…

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice

Red blood cells in artery illustration (stock image). Credit: © vipman4 / stock.adobe.com In 2005, University of California, Berkeley, researchers made the surprising discovery that making conjoined twins out of young and old mice -- such that they share blood and organs -- can rejuvenate tissues and reverse the signs of aging in the old…

Tomato’s hidden mutations revealed in study of 100 varieties

Tomato varieties (stock image). Credit: © Christian BERND / stock.adobe.com Human appetites have transformed the tomato -- DNA and all. After centuries of breeding, what was once a South American berry roughly the size of a pea now takes all sorts of shapes and sizes, from cherry-like to hefty heirloom fruit. Today, scientists are teasing…

Super-potent human antibodies protect against COVID-19 in animal tests

Coronavirus illustration (stock image). Credit: © Mauro Rodrigues / stock.adobe.com A team led by Scripps Research has discovered antibodies in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients that provide powerful protection against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease, when tested in animals and human cell cultures. The research, published today in Science, offers a paradigm…

Showtime for photosynthesis

Close-up of green leaf (stock image). Credit: © Quality Stock Arts / stock.adobe.com Using a unique combination of nanoscale imaging and chemical analysis, an international team of researchers has revealed a key step in the molecular mechanism behind the water splitting reaction of photosynthesis, a finding that could help inform the design of renewable energy…

Scientists engineer human cells with squid-like transparency

Swimming squid (stock image). Credit: © Zac / stock.adobe.com Octopuses, squids and other sea creatures can perform a disappearing act by using specialized tissues in their bodies to manipulate the transmission and reflection of light, and now researchers at the University of California, Irvine have engineered human cells to have similar transparent abilities. In a…

Evolution of pandemic coronavirus outlines path from animals to humans

Coronavirus illustration (stock image). Credit: © Antonio Rodriguez / stock.adobe.com A team of scientists studying the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, found that it was especially well-suited to jump from animals to humans by shapeshifting as it gained the ability to infect human cells. Conducting a genetic analysis, researchers…

Microbial cyborgs: Bacteria supplying power

Bacteria illustration (stock image). Credit: © Paulista / stock.adobe.com Electronic devices are still made of lifeless materials. One day, however, "microbial cyborgs" might be used in fuel cells, biosensors, or bioreactors. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have created the necessary prerequisite by developing a programmable, biohybrid system consisting of a nanocomposite and the…

Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 offer insights into virus evolution

Illustration of coronavirus under a microscope (stock image). Credit: © merklicht.de / Adobe Stock By analysing virus genomes from over 7,500 people infected with Covid-19, a UCL-led research team has characterised patterns of diversity of SARS-CoV-2 virus genome, offering clues to direct drugs and vaccine targets. The study, led by the UCL Genetics Institute, identified…

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