It’s been something of a mystery to scientists - how are blind mice able to synchronize their biological rhythms to day and night? New research by a team of scientists, including one from the University of Toronto, seems to have uncovered the answer.
Rods and cones in the outer retina are the eyes’ main photoreceptors, explains Nicholas Mrosovsky, professor emeritus in zoology at U of T. When these rods and cones degenerate, mammals and animals become blind. Despite this, however, some animals can synchronize their biological clocks to the day/night cycle, a problem that has perplexed scientists for the past decade.
"We believed there must be some other specialized receptor for detecting night and day. We now have evidence that this long sought-after photoreceptor is a layer of cells, located in the inner retina, that contain melanopsin, a pigment chemically related to other opsins [a type of protein] found in the rods and cones of the outer retina."
Janet Wong | EurekAlert!
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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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