Generally speaking, we go to great lengths to rid our bodies of foreign bacteria, whether it’s by brushing our teeth, washing our hands or taking antibiotics. But new research suggests that when it comes to treating tumors, we may one day invite the bugs in. According to a study published yesterday in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a bacterium that normally resides in soil, dust and dead flesh quickly destroys large tumors in mice when injected along
In news that will surely fan the flames of the heated debate over genetically modified crops, scientists have found evidence that genes from GM plants can spread far and wide to native ones. According to a report published today in the journal Nature, wild corn from the remote mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico contains transgenic DNA. This, the researchers note, bolsters concerns that such unintentional contamination can threaten the genetic diversity of natural crops.
DNA analyses of the Oaxaca
It’s official: English football teams score fewer goals.
Soccer teams worldwide are scoring more goals than they ought to be, whereas English teams seem to follow statistical expectations. The news may delight fans outside England, but it is puzzling the physicists who have found that the chance of a high-scoring game is significantly greater than it may first appear 1 .
John Greenhough and colleagues at Warwick University in Coventry, England, analysed the s
Hubble spots atmosphere on planet 150 light years away.
Astronomers have glimpsed the atmosphere of a planet in a solar system other than our own for the first time. The feat is a first step towards detecting planets capable of supporting life elsewhere in the Universe.
David Charbonneau, of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and colleagues, pointed the Hubble space telescope at the planet, which lies 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus. Of the 7
Rewiring the egg: mechanism remains murky.
From a scientific viewpoint, the cloning of human embryos may be more of a step than a leap, say sceptics. If the signals that turn adult cells into embryonic ones can be found, the creation of cloned embryos for tissue repair may become redundant.
Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Massachusetts, now report that they have created cloned human embryos. They aimed to make blastocysts, hollow balls of cells fr
The size and types of the largest local land animals vary greatly from place to place, prompting scientists to question what controls the success of animals of certain sizes over others. Now a report published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the size of a landmass limits the maximal body size of its top animal.
Gary Burness and Jared Diamond of the University of California School of Medicine, together with Timothy Flannery of the South
New research is helping to unravel the machinery that allows a mosquito to sniff out its human quarry, which could lead to more and better ways of foiling the disease-spreading insects. A report published today in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes four genes that appear to produce odor-sensing molecules in Africas Anopheles gambiae, a carrier of malaria, the number two killer in the developing world. Understanding how such genes operate could en
An immune system chemical may undo skin damage by sunlight.
A chemical involved in immune-system signalling may be able to reverse some types of skin damage caused by sunlight. It could reduce sunburn by activating DNA-repair mechanisms, a new study suggests, raising the possibility that the chemical might be used to prevent or treat skin cancer 1 .
High-energy ultraviolet light is thought to promote skin cancer by damaging the DNA within cells. Skin cancer,
Programmed molecules build themselves into a bone-mimic.
Scientists in the United States have made self-assembling synthetic bone 1 . Carefully designed building-blocks join up to mimic bone’s complex molecular-scale architecture, bringing better prosthetics a step closer.
Materials engineers are keen to emulate the strength and toughness of biominerals such as bone, tooth and shell. Mollusc shells, for example, a composite of the mineral calcium carbonate a
While prion diseases seem to be waning in humans, they could be waxing in sheep.
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) may claim only around 200 victims, a new model predicts 1 . This degenerative brain disease is thought to occur when people are exposed to misfolded prion proteins from meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease).
Meanwhile, another study warns that a huge BSE epidemic could be brewing in the UK
Machine learning algorithms are shedding light on neoantigen T cell-receptor pairs. Researchers and data scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed an artificial intelligence…
Fertilisation is one of the most fundamental biological processes, yet its underlying molecular mechanisms are unresolved. An international team of scientists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and…
The size of a grain of sand, dispersed microfliers could monitor air pollution, airborne disease and environmental contamination. Northwestern University engineers have added a new capability to electronic microchips: flight….
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, present a unique optical amplifier that is expected to revolutionise both space and fiber communication. The new amplifier offers high performance, is compact…