Biologists at the University of Liverpool have discovered how the plagues of the Middle Ages have made around 10% of Europeans resistant to HIV.
Scientists have known for some time that these individuals carry a genetic mutation (known as CCR5-Ä32) that prevents the virus from entering the cells of the immune system but have been unable to account for the high levels of the gene in Scandinavia and relatively low levels in areas bordering the Mediterranean. They have also been puzzled by the fact that HIV emerged only recently and could not have played a role in raising the frequency of the mutation to the high levels found in some Europeans today.
Professor Christopher Duncan and Dr Susan Scott from the University’s School of Biological Sciences, whose research is published in the March edition of Journal of Medical Genetics, attribute the frequency of the CCR5-Ä32 mutation to its protection from another deadly viral disease, acting over a sustained period in bygone historic times. Some scientists have suggested this disease could have been smallpox or even bubonic plague but bubonic plague is a bacterial disease rather than a virus and is not blocked by the CCR5-Ä32 mutation.
Kate Spark | alfa
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This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
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Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
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A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
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Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
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