Category Archives: News & Archives

Gibbon genome sequence deepens understanding of primates rapid chromosomal rearrangements

With the completion of the sequencing and analysis of the gibbon genome, scientists now know more about why this small ape has a rapid rate of chromosomal rearrangements, providing information that broadens understanding of chromosomal biology. Chromosomes, essentially the packaging that encases the genetic information stored in the DNA sequence, are fundamental to cellular function and…
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New cancer immunotherapy drug approved

A new type of cancer drug that harnesses the body’s immune system to fight tumors has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Keytruda (pembrolizumab), which blocks a protein called PD-1 that tumors use to evade immune cells, is approved for patients with advanced melanoma who fail other treatments. Cancer researchers “have been almost…
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Sniffing out alien life: Stinky chemicals may be key

If Professor Hubert Farnsworth's "Smell-O-Scope" actually existed, astrobiologists would have pointed it at dozens of alien planets by now. The Professor's odor-detecting invention, which was featured in several episodes of the animated sci-fi series "Futurama," would be a good life-hunting tool, researchers say, because alien organisms may betray their presence by pumping stinky chemicals into their home…
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Scientists grow an organ in an animal from cells created in lab

  Laboratory-grown replacement organs have moved a step closer with the completion of a new study. Scientists have grown a fully functional organ from transplanted laboratory-created cells in a living animal for the first time. The researchers have created a thymus -- an organ next to the heart that produces immune cells known as T…
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New analysis links tree height to climate

What limits the height of trees? Is it the fraction of their photosynthetic energy they devote to productive new leaves? Or is it their ability to hoist water hundreds of feet into the air, supplying the green, solar-powered sugar factories in those leaves? Both factors -- resource allocation and hydraulic limitation -- might play a…
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Plants may use newly discovered molecular language to communicate

  A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, one that allows them to share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with one another. The finding by Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, throws open the door…
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This extreme Antarctic insect has the tiniest genome

  The Antarctic midge is a simple insect: no wings, a slender black body and an adult life span of not much more than a week. So perhaps it's fitting the bug is now on record as the owner of the tiniest insect genome ever sequenced. At just 99 million base pairs of nucleotides (DNA's…
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Dramatic growth of grafted stem cells in rat spinal cord

Building upon previous research, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veteran's Affairs San Diego Healthcare System report that neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and grafted into rats after a spinal cord injury produced cells with tens of thousands of axons extending virtually the entire length…
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How Do People Survive Ebola?

  Ebola is a frightening, highly lethal virus — in the current outbreak in West Africa, about 60 percent of people infected with the pathogen have died. Although in the minority, some people do recover from infection. Doctors don't know for certain who will survive Ebola, and there is no specific treatment or cure for the…
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