News Round-Up September 14th-20th

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

Controlling nerve cells. Scientists have developed a new method for controlling nerve cells – by using sound waves. Named ‘sonogenetics’ this is an important development that hopefully will be able to be applied the brain cells in humans to treat diseases.

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Cure for sickle cell disease. By using a combination of stem cell transplant and low dose radiation therapy, doctors have been able to significantly improve the quality of life and cure patients with sickle cell disease. The previous alternative involved dangerous chemotherapy.

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

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

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News Round-Up August 23rd-30th

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

Hypothesised fat-burning regulatory genes. Researchers have proposed a genetic pathway that is involved in adipocyte thermogenesis – in lamens terms – genes that regulate heat generation from fat in fat cells in the human body.

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Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis. Some people are genetically prone to have low vitamin D levels (as Vit D is produced by the body when sunlight hits the skin), and this has now been associated with a higher risk of developing MS.

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Novel antibiotic from chestnut leaves. Working on historical botanical cures for infections, a novel antibiotic has been discovered in chestnut leaves, which is active against super bugs – such as ones with high levels of antibiotic resistance.

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Ants self-medicating. Despite being poisonous, for the first time, ants have been shown to consume foods rich in hydrogen peroxide, if they have a dangerous fungal disease, as a method to treat themselves.

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

Stewart Barker                                                                                                                   The University of Sheffield                                                                                                     @Stewart_Barker

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