News Round-up November 23rd-29th

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Hello, and welcome to the #bioscinews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

The Tardigrade genome was sequenced and found to contain more foreign genes than any previously sequenced animal genome. Tardigrades are extromophiles, meaning they can survive in conditions that would kill most organisms (they’ve even survived the cold and radiation of space!). It is thought that these wondrous little creatures pick up this foreign DNA when they dessicate (which helps them survive extreme conditions), in a similar way to Bdelloid rotifers. Since Bdelloids also dessicate to survive unideal conditions, there is a possibility that horizontal gene transfer is more common among extremophilic animals than previously thought.

Tardigrades!

A new immunotherapy method may change how Type I Diabetes is treated in the future, and may even help prevent the progression of the disease. Since Type I Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, the new approach targets the regulatory T (T-reg) cells of the immune system. In affected patients, the T-reg cells target the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and destroy them, meaning that Type I diabetics need to inject insulin daily to combat this lack of insulin production by their bodies. By replacing the T-reg cells in a patient, researchers have prevented diabetic symptoms in early-onset patients and the slowing of the disease progression was also observed. Hopefully, further trials will continue to show promise.

New Diabetes Treatment (1)

 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Devon Smith, The University of Sheffield, @devoncaira

Julie Blommaert, The University of Innsbruck, @jblommaert92

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News Round-Up August 16th-22nd

Bioscience news 1

Hello, and welcome to the #bioscisews round-up! This is the place where you can find all the important biosci new stories from the past week, in a short, digestible paragraph.

This week’s news

Publication of the California two-spot octopus genome. This was an investigation into the unique neural and morphological features of cephalopods, and has lead to some speculation of the evolution of brains in non-mammals.

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Novel regenerative cell line discovered in mouse livers. After the previous discovery that cells are thought to differentiate into new hepatocytes (therefore having the ability to repair the liver), they actually differentiated into a different cell type. And the hunt was on for the progenitor cells. This study suggests they have been found in the liver of mice!

hybrid hepatocyets

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Ancient cats outcompeted ancient dogs. Actually, it’s not as simple as that. The diversification of ancient carnivores in North America was heavily affected by other carnivorous families. At least two families of canids (dogs), were outcompeted by other canids, and felids (Cats), which then proliferated further in their absence, affecting the canid species present today. So it’s not a case of cats versus dogs, it’s more of a carnivorous free-for-all!

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Book pages that clean water. The ‘Drinkable Book’ contains both a guide on why water should be filtered, with pages that can be removed and used to purify a reported 100 L of water. The paper contains nanoparticles of copper and silver, commonly used in hospitals for their antibacterial properties.

A man leafing through the book

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20 year old frozen sperm helps to save a critically endangered ferret species. In a remarkable effort to save the critically endangered black-footed ferret, conservationists have produced highly important, genetically variable offspring from artificial insemination using sperm frozen 20 years ago. This is impressive from a technological perspective, as it shows that artificial insemination with 20 year old sperm is possible, raising hopes for other endangered species. Additionally, not relying on the current small pool of genetic diversity but instead mixing in some diversity from several generations back, can offer some increased diversity and prevent potential deadly genetic bottlenecks commonly seen in species brought back from the brink of extinction.

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Hope you enjoyed this week’s news round-up, thanks for reading!

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

Julie Blommaert                                                                                                             @Julie_B92