Latest News

Core code cracked

Sequencers expose secret chromosome centre.

February’s celebrations hid a dark secret: the human genome sequencers hadn’t touched the hearts of our chromosomes. Now, at last, one chromosome’s inscrutable midpoint, its centromere, has given up its genetic secrets.

Centromeres look like the ’waist’ in an X. They share out chromosomes fairly when a cell divides. Defective centromeres may underlie many cancers, in which problems with chromosome movement

Rods barcode reactions

Stripes help chemists shop for molecules.

Scientists may soon be sticking bar-coded metal rods into molecules to see what they do in a crowd 1 . The rods could help to track the functions and interactions of genes, and may aid drug discovery.

At only a few thousandths of a millimetre long, the rods are small enough to fit inside a single red blood cell. Christine Keating, of Pennsylvania State University, and colleagues cast them inside cylindrical pores in a

Playing tag with the genome

A new way to find genes and map disease.

A new technique should aid the hunt for genes in the human genome sequence. The method, which tracks only switched-on genes in cells, will help researchers to distinguish between diseased and normal tissues, and could point the way to new treatments.

Andrew Simpson, of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues have produced a whopping 700,000 DNA tags, representing the genes that are active in 24 no

Viral gene therapy makes males more faithful and friendly

Spells and incantations step aside: scientists have found a genetic elixir of love. It makes males more faithful to females and more friendly to fellow males. It could also shed light on bonding disorders such as autism.

Larry Young of Emory University in Georgia and colleagues used a virus to deliver a gene straight to the part of voles’ brains responsible for rewards and addiction, the ventral pallidum. The gene made the animals’ brains more receptive to the hormone vasopressin 1

Planting pushed squirrels west

Museum exhibits’ genes record British forestry policies

Commercial forest planting in the north of England drew red squirrels westwards in the 1980s say UK researchers. This migration led to big changes in squirrel numbers and genetics.

The finding has implications for the protection of the endangered red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris). Many conservationists advocate leaving ’wildlife corridors’ for animals to travel between patches of fragmenting habitat. This is the first evi

Mice give skin cancer clue

Mouse studies emphasize children’s cancer risk from sunburn.

Serious sunburn in childhood may raise the risk of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer as an adult, research in mice suggests 1 . The experiments could lead to a better understanding of malignant melanoma and of how and when to protect ourselves from the sun.

“I have my kids wear hats and put sunscreen on like crazy now,” says the study’s leader Glenn Merlino, of the National Cancer Institu

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Physics and Astronomy

Wavefunction matching for solving quantum many-body problems

International research team cracks a hard physics problem. Strongly interacting systems play an important role in quantum physics and quantum chemistry. Stochastic methods such as Monte Carlo simulations are a…

Hubble Views the Dawn of a Sun-like Star

Looking like a glittering cosmic geode, a trio of dazzling stars blaze from the hollowed-out cavity of a reflection nebula in this new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The…

SwRI investigating unusual substorm in Earth’s magnetotail using MMS data

Research examines the nature of explosive events in the magnetosphere. Southwest Research Institute is investigating an unusual event in the Earth’s magnetotail, the elongated portion of the planet’s magnetosphere trailing…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

A second chance for new antibiotic agent

Significant attempts 20 years ago… The study focused on the protein peptide deformylase (PDF). Involved in protein maturation processes in cells, PDF is essential for the survival of bacteria. However,…

Searching for the microbial treasure

HIPS researchers discover new family of bacteria with high pharmaceutical potential. Most antibiotics used in human medicine originate from natural products derived from bacteria and other microbes. Novel microorganisms are…

Engineering a new color palette for single-molecule imaging

A new paper published in Nature Nanotechnology outlines a way to create dozens of new “colors” to multiplex single-molecule measurements. Researchers often study biomolecules such as proteins or amino acids…

Materials Sciences

Detector for continuously monitoring toxic gases

The material could be made as a thin coating to analyze air quality in industrial or home settings over time. Most systems used to detect toxic gases in industrial or…

New tech may lead to smaller, more powerful wireless devices

Good vibrations… What if your earbuds could do everything your smartphone can do already, except better? What sounds a bit like science fiction may actually not be so far off….

Columbia researchers “unzip” 2D materials with lasers

The new technique can modify the nanostructure of bulk and 2D crystals without a cleanroom or expensive etching equipment. In a new paper published on May 1 in the journal…

Information Technology

GARMI care robot becomes a universal assistant

From skill sets to an overall concept. At the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2024) in Yokohama, Japan, geriatronics researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) will present…

Animal brain inspired AI game changer for autonomous robots

First neuromorphic vision and control of a flying drone. A team of researchers at Delft University of Technology has developed a drone that flies autonomously using neuromorphic image processing and…

Smart Glasses as an everyday object

Humboldt Professor Dieter Schmalstieg does research at the University of Stuttgart. Dieter Schmalstieg, Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Visual Computing at the University of Stuttgart, has been awarded the Humboldt…