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Radhika Gupta verified badge
Electronics Engineer | Editor at The Surg
October 29, 2017 · 493 Reads

Top stories in science this week

An unprecedented study has revealed 65 new breast cancer risk gene loci

In what’s being billed as the world’s largest collective study on the genetics of breast cancer, researchers have discovered 65 new gene variants that appear to be responsible for increasing the risk of developing the disease. The additions nearly double the number of genetic markers known to scientists, providing a trove of data for future studies to investigate in search of better understanding, new detection methods, and potentially more effective treatments.

Reference: Nature Genetics


Scientists have successfully mapped advanced artificial limbs in the brain

Scientists have used functional MRI to show how the brain re-maps motor and sensory pathways following targeted motor and sensory reinnervation (TMSR), a neuroprosthetic approach where residual limb nerves are rerouted towards intact muscles and skin regions to control a robotic limb.

Reference: Brain

Researchers have discovered that bacteria possess the sense of touch

Although bacteria have no sensory organs in the classical sense, they are still masters in perceiving their environment. A research group has now discovered that bacteria not only respond to chemical signals, but also possess a sense of touch. The researchers demonstrate how bacteria recognize surfaces and respond to this mechanical stimulus within seconds. This mechanism is also used by pathogens to colonize and attack their host cells.

Reference: Science

Scientists discovered that proteins can be made to conduct electricity like metals

When pushing the boundaries of discovery, sometimes even the most experienced of scientists can get a surprise jolt from a completely unpredictable result. About four years ago, Stuart Lindsay’s research team got a lab result that even he couldn’t quite believe. As with most scientific surprises, it goes against all conventional wisdom: the first evidence of a protein that could conduct electricity like a metal.

Reference: Nano Futures

Researchers discovered a new technique to filter light with nanoporous materials

Nanoparticles are tiny particles made up of a central solid core to which molecules called ligands are often attached. Nanoparticles can self-assemble into lattice-like formations that have unique optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties. Experimentalists produced thin lattice structures made up of two kinds of nanoparticles: one with a magnetite core and another with a gold core.

Reference: Science

Scientists have discovered a material that could store the quantum state of individual atoms

Now, scientists have discovered a material that might be up to the task. The challenge in this type of storage is preserving the quantum state of individual atoms, and a new study suggests that copper iridate – a compound of copper, iridium, and oxygen – might have the atomic geometry required to fulfill this role.

Reference: JACS

A new kind of DNA edit in the brain has been discovered in animals under stress

A new kind of epigenetic edit recently discovered in the brain cells of mammals has been found to occur when the individual has been stressed, hinting at underlying neurological functions. Researchers still aren’t entirely sure how this particular type of epigenetic modification works, but its elevated presence in mice that suffer through rough times suggests it could play a central role in a number of neuropsychiatric problems.

Reference: Nature Communications

A new algorithm could let scientists reprogram any cell into another type of cell

One of the most defining scientific discoveries in recent decades is the development of induced pluripotent stem cells, which lets scientists revert adult cells back into an embryonic-like blank state and then manipulating them to become a particular kind of tissue.

Reference: PNAS

A new study suggests that ovarian cancer takes begins in the fallopian tubes rather than in the ovaries

A new study looking at how ovarian cancer starts has suggested it takes hold in the fallopian tubes, between the ovaries and the uterus, rather than in the ovaries themselves. This discovery could transform the way we detect and treat this deadly disease. Ovarian cancer is notoriously hard to catch early and is usually well-developed by the time it’s discovered – so catching it earlier could be crucial in saving lives.

Reference: Nature Communications


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