Computer-generated genomes

All organisms on our planet store the molecular blueprint of life in a DNA code within their genome. The digital revolution in biology, driven by DNA sequencing, enables us to read the genomes of the myriads of microbes and multi-cellular organisms that populate our world. Today, the DNA sequences of over 200,000 microbial genomes are … Read more

How plants in the cabbage family look inward when sulfur is scarce

New research from Kyushu University in Japan provides a better understanding of how chemicals thought to impart unique health benefits to plants in the cabbage family are broken down to promote growth in conditions lacking sufficient sulfur and could aid in the future development of broccoli and cabbage that are even healthier for you. Researchers … Read more

Spectroscopy: A fine sense for molecules

Scientists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics have developed a unique laser technology for the analysis of the molecular composition of biological samples. It is capable of detecting minimal variations in the chemical make up of organic systems. At the biochemical level, organisms can be thought of as complex collections of different species of molecules. … Read more

Large scale feasts at ancient capital of Ulster drew crowds from across Iron Age Ireland

People transported animals over huge distances for mass gatherings at one of Ireland’s most iconic archaeological sites, research concludes. Dr Richard Madgwick of Cardiff University led the study, which analysed the bones of 35 animals excavated from Navan Fort, the legendary capital of Ulster. Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, Memorial University Newfoundland and the British … Read more

Storing data in everyday objects

Living beings contain their own assembly and operating instructions in the form of DNA. That’s not the case with inanimate objects: anyone wishing to 3D print an object also requires a set of instructions. If they then choose to print that same object again years later, they need access to the original digital information. The … Read more

Cutting nanoparticles down to size – new study

Scientists have been investigating how to make better use of nanoparticles in medicine for several decades. Significantly smaller than an average cell, nanoparticles are more similar in size to proteins. This makes them good at interacting with biomolecules and transporting drug molecules attached to their surface across cell membranes. To date, however, only a handful … Read more

Harvesting fog can provide fresh water in desert regions

Fog harvesting is a potential practical source of fresh water in foggy coastal deserts, and current solutions rely on meter scale nets/meshes. The mesh geometry, however, presents a physiologically inappropriate shape for millimeter scale bulk bodies, like insects. Fan Kiat Chan, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, offers biomimetic fog-gathering technologies based on Namib … Read more

Leftover grain from breweries could be converted into fuel for homes

A Queen’s University Belfast researcher has developed a low cost technique to convert left over barley from alcohol breweries into carbon, which could be used as a renewable fuel for homes in winter, charcoal for summer barbecues or water filters in developing countries. Breweries in the EU throw out around 3.4 million tons of unspent … Read more

Fire ants’ raft building skills react as fluid forces change

Fire ants build living rafts to survive floods and rainy seasons. Georgia Tech scientists are studying if a fire ant colony’s ability to respond to changes in their environment during a flood is an instinctual behavior and how fluid forces make them respond. Hungtang Ko and David Hu will present the science behind this insect behavior, focusing … Read more