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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
January 21, 2018 · 454 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers have developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types

The test, called CancerSEEK, is a unique noninvasive, multianalyte test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood. The test is aimed at screening for eight common cancer types that account for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S. Five of the cancers covered by the test currently have no screening test.

Reference: Science


Scientists have figured out how to make wounds heals without scars

Whether it’s a surgical procedure, clumsy shaving, or that traumatic biking incident that happened when you were five, just about everyone has a scar they wish would just fade away. And while there’s not a whole lot that can be done for scars that are already there, in 2017 researchers figured out how to make fresh wounds heal as normal, regenerated skin, instead of the usual scar tissue – something that was previously thought to be impossible in mammals.

Reference: Science

Scientists turned skin cells into stem cells using CRISPR technology

In a scientific first, researchers have turned skin cells from mice into stem cells by activating a specific gene in the cells using CRISPR technology. The innovative approach offers a potentially simpler technique to produce the valuable cell type and provides important insights into the cellular reprogramming process.

Reference: Cell Stem Cell

Researchers created a synthetic virus that could be used to develop a vaccine against smallpox

Researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to advance public health measures.

Reference: PLOS One

Scientists used a new strategy to fight cancer by shutting down specific enzymes

Turning off enzymes that are important for the survival of growing cells is a promising strategy to fight cancer. But to be able to shut down only one specific enzyme out of thousands in the body, drugs have to be tailored to exactly fit their target. This is particularly difficult for membrane proteins, since they only function when incorporated into the cell lipid envelope, and often cannot be studied in isolation.

Reference: Cell Chemical Biology

Biologists designed artificial proteins entirely from scratch and it functions

Artificial biology is working toward creating a genuinely new organism. Researchers are designing and building proteins that can fold and mimic the chemical processes that sustain life. Now they have confirmed that at least one of their new proteins can catalyze biological reactions in E. coli, meaning that a protein designed entirely from scratch functions in cells as a genuine enzyme.

Reference: Nature Chemical Biology

Scientists can now see how cells package chromosomes into highly condensed structures

Genome folding now has a playbook. A new step-by-step account spells out in minute-time resolution how cells rapidly pack long tangles of chromosomes into the tiny, tightly wound bundles needed for cell division. Cells reel chromosomes into loops, and then wind the loops into spiral staircase structures.

Reference: Science

Researchers have identified two new breast cancer genes that also cause Lynch syndrome

The two genes were previously known to cause Lynch syndrome, an inherited condition that raises the risk of colorectal, ovarian, stomach, and endometrial cancer. Lynch syndrome is the most common inherited cause of colorectal cancer, accounting for about 3 percent of newly diagnosed cases.

Reference: Genetics in Medicine

Researchers developed a unique method to make optically active structures

Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind technique for creating entirely new classes of optical materials and devices that could lead to light bending and cloaking devices — news to make the ears of Star Trek’s Spock perk up. Using DNA as a key tool, the scientists took gold nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes and arranged them in two and three dimensions to form optically active superlattices. The structures could be programmed to exhibit almost any colour across the visible spectrum.

Reference: Science

Physicists draw experiments to unite the two biggest theories- quantum mechanics and general relativity

Quantum mechanics is the modelling of discrete particles as probabilities that don’t truly exist until we’ve nailed down a measurement. Not that quantum physics is vague – a century of testing has made it one of the most robust theories in science. Alongside quantum mechanics is the general theory of relativity, which describes gravity acting on a continuous, seamless fabric of space and time. General relativity is also one of the most reliable theories we have in science, allowing us to predict the movements of objects on a large scale with pin-point accuracy.

Reference: Physical Review Letters

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