A study conducted by University of Utah genetics researchers shows that the steroid hormone ecdysone controls an important phase in the embryonic development of insects, providing an unexpected parallel with the role of the hormone in controlling metamorphosis. The studys findings also give scientists new insights into how steroids control maturation in higher organisms.
Carl S. Thummel, Ph.D., a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of human genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said that although other studies have established a critical role for ecdysone in controlling insect metamorphosis, very little was known about roles for the hormone during embryonic development.
To find the answer, Thummel and Tatiana Kozlova, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research associate, looked at the activation pattern of the receptor for ecdysone. They found that this receptor is highly activated in an extraembryonic tissue called amnioserosa, a tissue that does not itself form part of the embryo, but is nonetheless required for embryonic development. Thummel said the source of ecdysone in the early embryo, prior to the development of the insect endocrine organ, has always baffled scientists. "Our findings suggest that the earliest source of hormone is the amnioserosa," he said, "although other sources are likely to contribute at later times."
Cindy Fazzi | EurekAlert!
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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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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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