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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
December 13, 2017 · 375 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Groundbreaking new CRISPR technique reverses genetic disease symptoms in mice

CRISPR-Cas9 technology allows scientists to insert or remove genes by making a cut in a DNA molecule; an ability that has applications ranging from the creation of pigs with lower levels of body fat to the eradication of certain diseases. However, the technique also has the potential to create genetic mutations that may produce undesired side effects.

Reference: Cell


Taking hormonal contraceptives increases risk of developing breast cancer, study finds

New research has added to the growing pile of evidence that taking hormonal contraceptives increases your relative risk of developing breast cancer. While these findings fall in line with what we already know, the study focused mostly on formulations and delivery methods that have been developed since the mid-1990s – meaning that even newer contraceptives on the market are still adding to the problem.

Reference: The New England Journal of Medicine

Scientists have developed plastic objects that can connect to WiFi without any electronics

Scientists have developed new 3D-printed plastic objects that can hook up to Wi-Fi without the aid of any electronics or batteries, meaning household devices could get a lot smarter in the future without the need for any circuitry.

Reference: SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition

A new study finds that viruses share some genes exclusively with cells that are not their hosts

A new study reveals that viruses share genes across the three superkingdoms of life, from the single-celled microbes known as bacteria and archaea, to eukarya, a group that includes animals, plants, fungi and all other living things. Most of this unusual sharing occurs between eukarya and bacteria and their viruses

Reference: Frontiers in Microbiology

Research shows that a stronger single-dose vaccine could provide faster protection in cholera epidemics

Each year there are more than three million cases of cholera worldwide, a disease transmitted through contaminated food and water that hits developing countries particularly hard. While the standard regimen for protecting against cholera with existing non-living oral cholera vaccines includes administering two doses over a two-week period, research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) now shows that giving a stronger single-dose of a live oral vaccine could be an effective tool in controlling outbreaks more quickly.

Reference: Clinical and Vaccine Immunology

Researchers have discovered that lipids in liver tumours satisfy energy needs of cancer cells

Lipid, also known as fat, is an optimal energy source and an important cell component. Much is required for the rapid and uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Researchers have now discovered that the protein mTOR stimulates the production of lipids in liver tumors to satisfy the increased nutrient turnover and energy needs of cancer cells among other functions.

Reference: Cancer Cell

New form of matter ‘excitonium’ that can act as a superfluid and superconductor has been discovered

Researchers have announced an exciting finding – the discovery of a new form of matter: excitonium. This material is made up of a kind of boson, a composite particle that could allow the matter to act as a superfluid, superconductor, or even as an insulating electronic crystal.

Reference: Science

Scientists transferred quantum data between different materials for the first time

Scientists just took a big step towards the goal of quantum computers, and even a quantum internet to connect them, after successfully using photons to transfer quantum information between a cold atomic gas and a solid crystal.

Reference: Nature

Researchers have designed a “Living Tattoo” using genetically programmed bacteria

Researchers at MIT have invented a temporary “tattoo” made from genetically programmed living cells. Their prototype looks like a stick-on patch with a pattern in the shape of a tree. It’s divided into sections printed with a slurry containing live bacteria that fluoresce when they come into contact with particular compounds. When the skin under the patch has been exposed to these substances, the corresponding section of the tree lights up.

Reference: Advanced Material

Astronomers just found the second super-earth at a star 111 light years away

The search for extra-solar planets has turned up some very interesting discoveries. Aside from planets that are more-massive versions of their Solar counterparts (aka. Super-Jupiters and Super-Earths), there have been plenty of planets that straddle the line between classifications.

Reference: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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