Researchers at Leeds have identified the gene which gives us bigger brains – the evolutionary attribute separating us from other animals. The gene came to light during a study by Geoff Woods, Jacquie Bond and Emma Roberts into the disease microcephaly, in which people are born with a smaller brain (and head).
Dr Woods, a clinical geneticist at St Jamess, noticed a high instance of microcephaly among his Pakistani patients. He found that, in the 1960s, a dam project in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir had displaced a large number of people, some of whom came to live in Bradford. Many were from large, inter-related families, making it possible to trace a genetic link to the disease.
The researchers found mutations in a gene known as ASPM, which controls the brain’s growth during foetal development. In microcephalic patients, brain growth slows after 20-30 weeks, so when born, their brains are smaller.
Vanessa Bridge | alfa
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
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For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
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Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
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