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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
January 28, 2018 · 255 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Scientists created the worlds first monkey clones by the same method that made Dolly the sheep

The first primate clones made by somatic cell nuclear transfer are two genetically identical long-tailed macaques have recently been born. Researchers named the newborns Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua after the Chinese adjective ‘Zhonghua,’ which means Chinese nation or people. The technical milestone makes it a realistic possibility for labs to conduct research with customizable populations of genetically uniform monkeys.

Reference: Cell

Researchers identified distinct roles and locations in the brain of AKT protein  which is instrumental in memory formation

For five years, the assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder has been working to better understand a protein called AKT, which is ubiquitous in brain tissue and instrumental in enabling the brain to adapt to new experiences and lay down new memories. Until now, scientists have known very little about what it does in the brain.

Reference: eLife

Repurposed drug used to treat Hepatitis C found to be effective against Zika Virus

In both cell cultures and mouse models, a drug used to treat Hepatitis C effectively protected and rescued neural cells infected by the Zika virus — and blocked transmission of the virus to mouse fetuses. Researchers say their findings support further investigation of using the repurposed drug as a potential treatment for Zika-infected adults, including pregnant women.

Reference: Scientific Reports

Naturally occurring mineral ‘calcite’ could serve as safe material in implants to reinforce bones and joints

Researchers have published a concept to use a naturally occurring mineral called calcite to “grow” scales that can attach to soft materials. The setup could one day serve as waterproof implants to reinforce bones or joints.

Reference: Nature Communications

Researchers for the first time demonstrated how depletion of sugar causes cancer cell death

It was long believed that sugar served as one of the main energy sources for cancer cells. However, the team discovered that in some cancer cells, tiny levels of sugar that were incapable of providing sufficient energy ensured the survival of the cancer cells. This meant that there is a previously undiscovered role of sugar for survival, besides providing energy. The team subsequently found that sugar has a novel signalling function in cancer cells whereby its deprivation would trigger voltage differences across cancer cell membrane, leading to a flowing of calcium ions into the cells and subsequently cell death.

Reference: Science Signaling

Researchers report a new mechanism for regulating glucose uptake by the liver in type-2 diabetes treatment

Abnormalities in glucose uptake by the liver (or hepatic glucose uptake; HGU) cause elevations in blood glucose levels following meals, a state that is known as postprandial hyperglycemia. Such abnormalities are observed in obesity and type 2 diabetes and result in an increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Although the exact mechanism of HGU impairment is unknown, there is evidence that it is mediated by abnormal regulation of the enzyme hepatic glucokinase and the glucokinase regulatory protein (GKRP).

Reference: Nature Communications

Scientists have discovered a new type of virus abundant in the ocean which can lead to evolutionary insights

Researchers have identified a new type of virus that is abundant in the world’s oceans but has escaped detection until now. The unusual characteristics of these bacteria-killing viruses could lead to evolutionary insights, the researchers report in a new study.

Reference: Nature

Engineers have designed a chip that behaves just like brain cell connections

Engineers have designed an artificial synapse in such a way that they can precisely control the strength of an electric current flowing across it, similar to the way ions flow between neurons. The team has built a small chip with artificial synapses, made from silicon germanium. In simulations, the researchers found that the chip and its synapses could be used to recognize samples of handwriting, with 95 percent accuracy.

Reference: Nature Materials 

Researchers have identified an enzyme that is absent in healthy colon tissue but abundant in colon cancer cells

Researchers have identified an enzyme that is absent in healthy colon tissue but abundant in colon cancer cells, according to a new report. The enzyme appears to drive the conversion of normal colon tissue into cancer by attaching sugar molecules, or glycans, to certain proteins in the cell.

Reference: Journal of Biological Chemistry

Researchers built a superconducting switch that ‘learns’ like biological system and is envisioned as a new type of artificial intelligence

The switch is called a synapse, like its biological counterpart, and it supplies a missing piece for so-called neuromorphic computers. Envisioned as a new type of artificial intelligence, such computers could boost perception and decision-making for applications such as self-driving cars and cancer diagnosis.

Reference: Science Advances

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