Using gold to read cancer’s messages

A novel blood test that uses gold nanoparticles to detect cancer has also been shown to identify signals released by cancer cells which could result in earlier diagnosis and better treatment. New research has revealed the nanotechnology developed by University of Queensland scientists can detect and monitor extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the bloodstream. Australian Institute … Read more Using gold to read cancer’s messages

Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

The first articulated Neanderthal skeleton to come out of the ground for over 20 years has been unearthed at one of the most important sites of mid-20th century archaeology: Shanidar Cave, in the foothills of Iraqi Kurdistan. Researchers say the new find offers an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the “mortuary practices” of this lost species … Read more Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

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 Computer-generated genomes

‘Ghost’ of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes

Ancestors of modern West Africans interbred with a yet-undiscovered species of archaic human, similar to how ancient Europeans mated with Neanderthals, researchers report. Their work helps inform how archaic hominins added to the genetic variation of present-day Africans, which has been poorly understood, in part because of the sparse fossil record in Africa and the … Read more ‘Ghost’ of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes

Huge bacteria-eating viruses close gap between life and non-life

Scientists have discovered hundreds of unusually large, bacteria-killing viruses with capabilities normally associated with living organisms, blurring the line between living microbes and viral machines. These phages β€” short for bacteriophages, so-called because they β€œeat” bacteria β€” are of a size and complexity considered typical of life, carry numerous genes normally found in bacteria and … Read more Huge bacteria-eating viruses close gap between life and non-life

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

KAUST global research team first to observe inherited DNA expressions

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a graduate research university of science and technology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, today announced new research demonstrating that corals pass patterns of DNA to their offspring. This ground-breaking research marks the first-time this process has been observed in animals within the field of biology. The research … Read more KAUST global research team first to observe inherited DNA expressions

The hornwort genome and early land plant evolution

Bryophytes are a group of plants that include mosses, liverworts and hornworts. They are often referred to as the early land plants marking the transition from freshwater to a terrestrial ecosystem. The timing of the conquest of land and the relationships among the main lineages of plants have been contentious for a long time. In … Read more The hornwort genome and early land plant evolution

New study identifies Neanderthal ancestry in African populations and describes its origin

When the first Neanderthal genome was sequenced, using DNA collected from ancient bones, it was accompanied by the discovery that modern humans in Asia, Europe and America inherited approximately 2% of their DNA from Neanderthals – proving humans and Neanderthals had interbred after humans left Africa. Since that study, new methods have continued to catalogue … Read more New study identifies Neanderthal ancestry in African populations and describes its origin

Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife

Conservationists should be wary of assuming that genetic diversity loss in wildlife is always caused by humans, as new research published today by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) reveals that, in the case of a population of southern African lions (Panthera leo), it’s likely caused by ecological rather than human factors. Published … Read more Humans not always to blame for genetic diversity loss in wildlife