New research, published in the open access journal BMC Biology, features a detailed anatomical and genetic examination of the changes that result from living life in the dark.
A team of researchers led by J Martin Collinson from the University of Aberdeen has carried out the first molecular study of the entire process of lens development in a subterranean animal - the Iberian mole, Talpa occidentalis, which has permanently closed eyes unlike the closely related European mole found in gardens throughout Britain.
According to Collinson "Our results show that there are primary developmental defects in the lens of this insectivore. As a result, the adult lens is composed of a disrupted epithelium and a disorganised mass of immature and nucleated fibre cells."
The genetic information the authors amassed shows that the internal defects in the animals' eyes are not the result of an adult degenerative condition but because development of the eye lens fibres, which starts normally, is not completed. The expression of some genes that are central to eye development is also abnormal.
Graeme Baldwin | alfa
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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