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  • Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern
    [NEWS] lee.siegel@utah.edu 801-244-5399 University of Utah Global warming may bring more curvy jet streams during winter SALT LAKE CITY, April 16, 2014 - Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern …
  • New species discovery sheds light on herbivore evolution
    [NEWS] onepress@plos.org 415-590-3558 PLOS Fossil extends knowledge on caseid eating habits and time period A new fossil may provide evidence that large caseid herbivores, the largest known terrestrial vertebrates of their time, evolved from small non-herbivorous members of that group, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in t…
  • Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon
    [NEWS] leitzell@iiasa.ac.at 43-223-680-7316 International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers including the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). …
  • Climate change: The role of oceanic carbon reservoir over glacial cycles
    [NEWS] pxwang@tongji.edu.cn Science China Press Glacial cycles at 104-yr time scale have been the focus of Quaternary paleoclimatology over the last century. In recent years with the emergence of continuous high-resolution records (ice cores, deep-sea sediments etc.) from the longer geological past, increasing evidence underscores the significance of …
  • 'Problem wells' source of greenhouse gas at unexpected stage of natural gas production
    [NEWS] ekgardner@purdue.edu 765-494-2081 Purdue University WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - High levels of the greenhouse gas methane were found above shale gas wells at a production point not thought to be an important emissions source, according to a study jointly led by Purdue and Cornell universities. The findings could have implications for the evaluation of …



  • Preventing Flu Virus Replication

    Influenza Virus Particles
    Image: CDC/Frederick Murphy

    With influenza viruses developing resistance to current antiviral drugs, it is increasingly important that new antiviral drugs be developed. University of Texas at Austin researchers have identified a protein in influenza A viruses that could be a potential target for new antiviral drugs. When viruses infect cells, they use the host's own genetic machinery to make more virus particles. The body responds with its own antiviral protein DDX21, which blocks the viral replication process. The influenza A virus then counters with the viral protein NS1, which blocks DDX21 and allows viral replication to continue.

    Robert Krug, an author on the study states, "If you could figure out how to stop NS1 from binding to DDX21, you could stop the virus cold." The researchers found that DDX21 binds to a viral protein called PB1, which is needed for replication. When the viral protein NS1 blocks DDX21, PB1 is then free to promote viral replication. Potentially, antiviral drugs that target NS1 could be developed to prevent flu virus replication.

    Learn more about this study:

    Preventing Flu Virus Replication originally appeared on About.com Biology on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 10:05:52.

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  • Regenerating Living Organs

    University of Edinburgh researchers have accomplished something that has not been done before. They have successfully regenerated a living organ: the thymus. The thymus is a small glandular organ that produces specific immune cells called lymphocytes. The thymus normally deteriorates and shrinks with age. In the study, the researchers were able to reactivate the thymus in mice by increasing the levels of a specific protein. The protein, FOXN1, induced certain cells to rebuild the thymus.

    According to researcher Dr. Rob Buckle, "This interesting study suggests that organ regeneration in a mammal can be directed by manipulation of a single protein, which is likely to have broad implications for other areas of regenerative biology." The researchers are hopeful that information gained from this study could be used to develop new treatments for individuals with dysfunctional immune systems.

    Learn more about this study, see:

    Regenerating Living Organs originally appeared on About.com Biology on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 13:26:14.

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  • Invention of the 'Mini Heart'

    Human Heart
    Image: Dream Designs FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    George Washington University researchers have invented a new organ that aids in blood circulation. This organ functions as a 'mini heart' by helping blood to flow in veins with non-functioning valves. The 'mini heart' is a cuff of cardiac muscle cells that is able to contract to help pump blood through the venous portion of the cardiovascular system.

    According to researcher Narine Sarvazyan, "We are suggesting, for the first time, to use stem cells to create, rather than just repair damaged organs. We can make a new heart outside of one's own heart, and by placing it in the lower extremities, significantly improve venous blood flow." The ability to create a new organ from a person's own adult stem cells represents an advancement in tissue engineering technology.

    Learn more about this study, see:

    Invention of the 'Mini Heart' originally appeared on About.com Biology on Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 05:00:25.

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  • Potential Treatment For Rare Cilia Disorders

    Cilia in Lung Trachea Epithelium
    Credit: Louisa Howard

    Duke University researchers have gained insight into how defective cilia cause a variety of different diseases. Cilia are organelles in some cells that aid in cellular locomotion and the detection of cell signaling molecules. Genetic defects in cilia have been linked to diseases and disorders such as blindness, heart and kidney disease, obesity, and learning difficulties.

    According to researcher Nicholas Katsanis, "Understanding cilia dysfunction is important, because its association with so many disorders pose a significant societal and medical burden. And we look forward to seeing whether the insights we have learned in these studies are applicable to other disease." The researchers discovered that a malfunction in the cellular system responsible for removing damaged proteins plays a key role in cilia dysfunction. They are hopeful that this discovery may lead to a treatment for cilia disorders.

    Learn more about this study, see:

    Potential Treatment For Rare Cilia Disorders originally appeared on About.com Biology on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 05:00:34.

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  • Why Cells Don't Repair DNA Damage During Mitosis

    When imposing repair on broken DNA strands during mitosis, some telomeres are seen to fuse together (one dot).
    Image Credit: A. Orthwein/Durocher Lab

    Researchers have solved the mystery of why cells shut off DNA repair processes during cell division. It is because a dividing cell does not recognize the difference between damaged DNA stands and telomeres. Telomeres are protective caps that are located on the ends of chromosomes. Repairing DNA during mitosis can lead to telomere fusion.

    When the researchers altered cells so that they would repair DNA during mitosis, some of the telomeres fused together and the chromosomes were defective. According to lead author Dr. Alexandre Orthwein, "They (dividing cells) take the drastic action of turning off DNA repair, a process that is usually highly beneficial, to prevent chromosomes from fusing with each other by mistake." It is unclear as to why this happens, but the researchers state that this discovery provides new insights into the cell division process.

    Learn more about this study, see:

    Why Cells Don't Repair DNA Damage During Mitosis originally appeared on About.com Biology on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 10:19:49.

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