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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
October 22, 2017 · 495 Reads

Top stories in science this week

Researchers have solved the last unknown protein structure of HIV-1

Researchers have solved the last unknown protein structure of HIV-1, the retrovirus that can cause AIDS. This will further explain how the virus infects human cells and how progeny viruses are assembled and released from infected cells.

Reference: Structure


Researchers have been able to halt breast cancer caused by obesity

Obesity leads to the release of cytokines into the bloodstream which impact the metabolism of breast cancer cells, making them more aggressive as a result. The research team has already been able to halt this mechanism with an antibody treatment.

Reference: Cell Metabolism

Scientists used novel MRI technique to predict spinal degeneration

A main cause for spinal disc degeneration is thought to be a change in the water content in the intervertebral disk. A research team used a novel magnetic resonance imaging technique, called apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps, which directly assessed the movements and dynamics of the water in the intervertebral disk and other spinal structures. The ADC maps provided precise assessments and correlations with degeneration.

Reference: PLOS

First evidence shows that new genes can arise from the non-coding sections of DNA

A yeast protein that evolved from scratch can fold into a compact three-dimensional shape — contrary to the general understanding of young proteins. Recent evidence suggests new genes can arise from the non-coding sections, or ‘junk,’ DNA and that those new genes could code for brand-new proteins. Scientists thought such newly evolved proteins were works-in-progress that could not fold into complex shapes the way more ancient proteins do.

Reference: Structure

Research reveals that it is possible to repurpose the function of mature cells across the body to harvest new tissues and organs

A new study reveals that it is possible to repurpose the function of different mature cells across the body and harvest new tissue and organs from these cells. The research tracks the transformation of genetically manipulated cells into melanocytes, which are responsible for the production of skin pigment and essential to the body’s auditory system.

Reference: Nature Communications

It can take just one mutation for some cells to turn cancerous, new research highlights

Cancer is the ugly side of natural selection. While mutations are rarely good for individual organisms, the same can’t be said for cells evolving out of control inside our bodies. Researchers have now calculated some solid statistics on the kinds of mutations different cancers require to get going, finding on average it takes between one and ten mutations for a cell to go from resident to rebel.

Reference: Cell

Our skin cells log past experiences to improve their wound-healing capabilities

Wounds, and even other harmful attacks that cause inflammation, are ‘remembered’ by stem cells in the skin, according to new research, and those ‘memories’ are used to heal our bodies faster the next time around. While stem cells don’t suddenly have brain-like memory-forming capabilities, this research has shown these amazing cells log past experiences to improve their wound-healing capabilities in the future. And at times this ability could actually have a negative result.

Reference: Nature

Researchers warn that over 30000 published studies could be wrong due to contaminated cells

A new investigation reveals more than 30,000 published scientific studies could be compromised by their use of misidentified cell lines, owing to so-called immortal cells contaminating other research cultures in the lab. The problem is as serious as it is simple: researchers studying lung cancer publish a new paper, only it turns out the tissue they were actually using in the lab were liver cells. Or what they thought were human cells were mice cells, or vice versa, or something else entirely.

Reference: PLOS One

A new study shows how insulin controls movement and shortage of fat molecules in liver

A new animal study shows how insulin controls the movement and storage of fat molecules in the liver and how a breakdown in this system could lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and changes in circulating lipid levels associated with cardiovascular disease.

Reference: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Scientists have created a 2D material no thicker than a few atoms and it’s never seen before in nature

Researchers from RMIT University have made a “once-in-a-decade” discovery that could change how we do chemistry and improve our electronics. The team created a two-dimensional material never seen before in nature that can be used as an efficient transistor.

Reference: Science

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