This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — Scientists of many varied backgrounds have been hard at work in recent years trying to figure out a way to control the intricate processes that go on in cells so as to allow them to manipulate them to do their bidding. Much of that work has involved trying to code the genes at the outset. Now a joint team of American and Swiss researchers, working out of ETH Zurich, has taken a completely different approach. As they describe in their paper published in Nature Biotechnology, they have figured out a way to create a feedback loop between a computer and yeast cells (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), to control the production of proteins. Researchers could use plant’s light switch to control cells © 2011 PhysOrg.com Citation: Biochemists create computer controlled feedback loop with yeast (2011, November 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-11-biochemists-feedback-loop-yeast.html Their discovery rests on the fact that yeast cells have a molecule in them called phytochrome that serves as a sort of switch, causing changes within the genetic structure that turns on a protein producing process, when a red light is shined on it. Interestingly, a darker red light causes the opposite effect; in its presence, the yeast cells go back to their original genetic structure and stop making the protein. Thus, using just two kinds of light the researchers can cause protein production to start or stop at their whim.What would be more interesting though is if the protein production process could be controlled through a feedback loop. To make this happen, the team introduced a so-called reporter molecule into the yeast cells that turn on (go fluorescent) when protein is being produced. Unfortunately, cell processes can’t be made to do their thing within certain constraints, such as say, turn on or off at specific time rates or intervals. To get around this problem, the team built a computer model to figure out how long light pulses should last in order for the yeast cells to produce the proteins when they wanted them too. They then set the whole process to working.What they constructed was a process that starts with a computer telling a red light when to shine, thus setting the yeast cells into action. The computer then monitors the reporter cells to note first when they come on, indicating proteins are being made. When just the right amount of time has elapsed, the computer then commands the red light to cease and the darker light to go on to cause the protein production to cease. The whole process can go on and on automatically because of the feedback loop, with a constant amount of proteins being produced all the while. And that’s the beauty of the whole thing, because if researchers can control yeast cells in such a manner, other applications quickly spring to mind, such as making drugs or creating biofuels. Though it may take time, this new process could very well revolutionize the way biological processes are manipulated. More information: In silico feedback for in vivo regulation of a gene expression circuit, Nature Biotechnology (2011) doi:10.1038/nbt.2018AbstractWe show that difficulties in regulating cellular behavior with synthetic biological circuits may be circumvented using in silico feedback control. By tracking a circuit’s output in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in real time, we precisely control its behavior using an in silico feedback algorithm to compute regulatory inputs implemented through a genetically encoded light-responsive module. Moving control functions outside the cell should enable more sophisticated manipulation of cellular processes whenever real-time measurements of cellular variables are possible. Sacharomyces cerevisiae cells in DIC microscopy. Credit: Wikipedia.
The thermoelectric converter module using an organic polymer material. Credit: Tech-on Citation: Fujifilm breaks record with thermoelectric material (2013, February 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-fujifilm-thermoelectric-material.html © 2013 Phys.org Explore further Explained: Thermoelectricity More information: via Tech-on (Phys.org)—Photographic film maker Fujifilm has been busy this year at the Nanotech 2013 conference being held in Tokyo. First came news of bendable/roll up speakers. Now the company is showing off a new thermoelectric material it’s developed that is so sensitive it can covert a difference in temperature of just 1°C to several kilowatts of electricity. At the conference, Fujifilm showed a person pressing their hand against a device that caused a toy car to begin circling around a track. It’s based on a thermoelectric material, representatives from the company told attendees that has the highest conversation efficiency of any other such material.Thermoelectric materials work by taking advantage of the temperature differences that exist on either side of a given substance. At the demonstration, the temperature difference is found between the heat from a human hand and the surrounding environment. In such materials, an electric charge can be created if a way is found to take advantage of the temperature gradient that exists in the material, i.e. causing charge carriers in it to diffuse from the warm side to the cooler side. The electricity produced from a thermoelectric material can be used to power a small device, or sent to a battery for storage.In addition to breaking the record for efficiency conversion, the new material is also an organic conductive polymer —and it can also be manufactured using a printing process. That means it can be produced in virtually any size needed. And because it is also bendable, it can be used as part of a wrapping apparatus, making it suitable for skin applications, such as a power generator for medical devices. Representatives for Fujifilm said it could also be used with solar cells to help make them more efficient, though they declined to give any other details regarding how the material was made. They added that another announcement will be forthcoming at the 60th JSAP Spring Meeting in March.What’s perhaps most exciting about the new material, is that it might be leading the way towards wearable materials that take advantage of our body heat, to power our personal devices—relieving us finally from the burden of having to constantly worry about making sure to recharge them. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2015 Phys.org Scientists believe that life first came to exist on planet Earth approximately three and a half to four billion years ago, a time called the Archaean aeon, when there was not yet an ozone layer to filer out UV radiation, or oxygen in the atmosphere to breathe—that meant that microbes that developed would have had to do so in a protected place. In this new effort, the researchers report that they believe they have found just such a haven.Newly found fossils in South Africa’s Baberton greenstone belt offer evidence that ancient microbes found refuge in cavities in tidal sediment, formed by air bubbles. The fossilized cells have been dated to 3.2 billion years ago and were found under a microbial mat that was believed to have been pushed to the surface by volcanic activity. The team conducted multiple tests on the mats and the microbes found hidden under them, including bulk carbon and SEM analysis and Raman micro-spectroscopy and report that the microbes were shaped like rods, growing in train like filaments, similar to many bacteria alive today. They note also that the microbes were quite uniform in shape and that they were able to control their diameter and length as modern microbes do. The fossils are also approximately 500 million years older than any other previous fossil found in a habitat, and thus represent some of the earliest forms of life ever found (the very earliest date back to approximately 3.43 billion years ago.)Interestingly, the researchers also note that most scientists agree that during the time that life was first coming about on Earth, the planet was very much like Mars is today, suggesting that the new find might offer some clues as to the best way to search for life on the Red planet, as new probes are designed and sent. More information: Martin Homann et al. Evidence for cavity-dwelling microbial life in 3.22 Ga tidal deposits, Geology (2016). DOI: 10.1130/G37272.1 , http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2015/12/04/G37272.1.abstractAbstractCavities are considered plausible and favorable habitats for life on early Earth. In such microenvironments, organisms may have found an adequate protection against the intense ultraviolet radiation that characterized the Archean ozone-free atmosphere. However, while there is clear evidence that benthic life existed in the Paleoarchean, the oldest traces of cavity-dwelling microbes (coelobionts) have been found in Neoarchean rocks. Here we present the results of a detailed investigation of early silicified cavities occurring in the oldest well-preserved siliciclastic tidal deposits, the 3.22 Ga Moodies Group of the Barberton Greenstone Belt (South Africa). Downward-growing microstromatolitic columns composed of kerogenous laminae are commonly present in planar, bedding-parallel, now silica-filled cavities that formed in sediments of the peritidal zone. In-situ δ13CPDB (PDB—Peedee belemnite) measurements of the kerogen range from –32.3‰ to –21.3‰ and are consistent with a biogenic origin. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of the silicified cavities shows well-preserved chains of cell-sized molds that are interpreted as fossil filamentous microorganisms. The geological context, the morphology of the microstromatolites, the δ13C composition of the kerogen, and the presence of microfossils all suggest that a microbial community inhabited the cavities. These results extend the geological record of coelobionts by ∼500 m.y., supporting the view that cavities were among the first ecological niches to have been occupied by early microorganisms. Earliest evidence of life found: 3.49 billion years ago Explore further Citation: Researchers find evidence of cavity-dwelling microbial life from 3 billion years ago (2015, December 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-evidence-cavity-dwelling-microbial-life-billion.html (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Germany and Switzerland has found examples of microbial life from over 3 billion years ago, that appeared to have evaded UV radiation by hiding in subsurface cavities. In their paper published in the journal Geology, the team describes where the fossilized cells were found, their testing techniques and why their finding is important. Journal information: Geology Raman micro-spectroscopy. A, B: Thin section photomicrographs (left) and corresponding Raman intensity maps (right) of the silicified cavities showing the downward-oriented accretion and the kerogenous composition of the dark laminae. Red colors indicate kerogen-rich areas. C: Representative first-order Raman spectrum of the kerogen with the characteristic disordered peaks for amorphous carbon (D and D’) and the graphite peak (G). Credit: Geology (2016). DOI: 10.1130/G37272.1 read more
© 2016 Phys.org Citation: Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia (2016, October 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-10-ancient-parrot-fossil-siberia.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes noticing the leg bone of a bird sitting in a box in his office recently, and immediately recognized that it was from a parrot. Fossil parrot from Siberia compared with selected extant taxa: (a,e,i,j,k) PIN 2614/218, Early Miocene of Tagay (Eastern Siberia); (b,f) Calyptorhynchus funereus (PIN 93-2-1), modern; (c,g) Aratinga euops (PIN 97-147-1), modern; (d,h) Lorius lory (PIN 92-23-1), modern. Upper row, dorsal view; middle row, plantar view; (i) lateral view; (j) medial view; (k) dorsomedial view. fmI, fossa of metatarsal I; fvd, distal vascular foramen; tra, accessory trochlea of metatarsal IV. Credit: More information: The first fossil parrot (Aves, Psittaciformes) from Siberia and its implications for the historical biogeography of Psittaciformes, Biology Letters, Published 25 October 2016.DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0717AbstractModern parrots (crown Psittaciformes) are a species-rich group of mostly tropical and subtropical birds with a very limited fossil record. A partial tarsometatarsus from the late Early Miocene of Siberia (Baikal Lake) is the first pre-Quaternary find of crown Psittaciformes in Asia (and Siberia in particular) and is also the northern-most find of this bird order worldwide. This find documents a broad geographical distribution of parrots during the warmest phase of the Miocene (the so-called ‘Miocene Climatic Optimum’), which has implications for the historical biogeography of Psittaciformes. The presence of parrots on both sides of the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Early Miocene implies a (most probably eastwards) trans-Beringian dispersal which likely took place about 16–18 Ma. The broad Eurasian distribution of parrots in the past further supports a hypothesis that ancestors of modern genera Coracopsis and Agapornis could reach Africa from Eurasia. Australian parrots need more protection The fossil was part of a large group of ancient animal bones dug from a site on the island of Baikal Lake at Tagay Bay in Siberia starting back in 2010—it has been dated to approximately 16 to 18 million years ago, putting it in the latter part of the Early Miocene. It has been identified as one of the bones that connects a parrots’ ankle and toes, which is called a tarsometatarsus.Most modern parrots live in tropical or sub-tropical areas, and it is quite surprising to find the remains of a parrot in an area that is bitterly cold for much of the year. But, Zelenkov notes, during the Early Miocene, the area was warmer. Also, there are some parrots that are known to live today in colder climates—one species lives in a part of the Himalayas, for example. He suggests that because the bone is so similar to the same bone in modern species, it is likely they looked similar.Finding the fossil in Siberia suggests that theories regarding how parrots came to live in North America might have to be revised—previously, ornithologists believed they came via the Berengia land bridge that once joined North America and Asia—now, it appears just as likely that they came across the Bering Strait.Because the fossil is so small, it is not possible to learn much else about the bird, Zelenkov notes. And because testing of it has been exhausted, study of the bone will cease, at least for now. But now that it is known that parrots lived in the area, future excavations will no doubt focus on finding parrot bones among the many others that are found. Journal information: Biology Letters Explore further read more
Citation: Millisecond pulsar PSR J0740+6620 has a white dwarf companion with helium atmosphere, study suggests (2019, March 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-millisecond-pulsar-psr-j07406620-white.html 16 arcsec × 16 arcsec GTC/OSIRIS Sloan r′ (left) and i′-band (right) images of the J0740 field. The images are smoothed with the Gaussian kernel of 3 pixels, compatible with the seeing value. The white circle shows the 3σ pulsar position uncertainty of ≈ 0.24 arcsec, which accounts for the optical astrometric referencing errors and the radio timing position uncertainties, corrected for the proper motion. The region of 2.3 × 2.3 arcsec within the black box in the right panel is enlarged and shown in the inset at the right-top corner of the image. The solid and dashed circles are 1σ position uncertainties of the pulsar and its possible binary companion, respectively. Image credit: Beronya et al., 2019. Pulsars are highly magnetized rotating neutron stars emitting a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The most rapidly rotating pulsars, with rotation periods below 30 milliseconds, are known as millisecond pulsars (MSPs).Astronomers believe that MSPs are formed in binary systems when the initially more massive component turns into a neutron star that is then spun-up due to accretion of matter from the secondary star. Observations conducted so far seem to support this theory as more than a half of known MSPs have been found to have stellar companions.Located some 1,300 light years away from the Earth, PSR J0740+6620 (or J0740 for short) is an MSP with a spin period of about 2.88 milliseconds. Previous studies of this pulsar suggested that it has a secondary star, most likely a white dwarf. Now, a new study published by Daria Beronya of Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and colleagues provides more evidence supporting this assumption.Using the Optical System for Imaging and low Resolution Integrated Spectroscopy (OSIRIS) of Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), Beronya’s team performed deep optical observations of J0740 in December 2017 in order to identify a possible companion of this pulsar.”We report detection of the likely companion of the binary millisecond pulsar J0740+6620 with the Gran Telescopio Canarias in the r′ and i′ bands. The position of the detected starlike source coincides with the pulsar coordinates within the 1σ uncertainty of ≈ 0.2 arcsec,” the astronomers wrote in the study.According to the paper, the companion has a minimum mass of about 0.2 solar masses, a temperature below 3,500 K and a cooling age of over five billion years. Furthermore, observational data indicates that the object has a pure helium atmosphere and is the reddest source among known white dwarf companions of MSPs.Although the researchers suppose that the detected source is a white dwarf companion of J0740, other possibilities cannot be excluded yet. Alternative explanations taken into account are that the object is a red dwarf, red subdwarf or a brown dwarf. Moreover, the identified source could be not associated with J0740 at all, residing even outside our Milky Way galaxy.Hence, in order to draw final conclusions about the nature of the discovered object, more observations are required.”Deep infrared observations are necessary to clarify the properties and nature of the detected source. For a cool white dwarf with a pure helium atmosphere one can expect the blackbody-like spectral energy distribution. Future proper motion measurements can confirm the association of the likely counterpart with J0740,” the astronomers noted. More information: D. M. Beronya et al. The ultracool helium-atmosphere white dwarf companion of PSR J0740+6620? arXiv:1902.11150 [astro-ph.SR]. arxiv.org/abs/1902.11150 New pulsar discovered during a search for a companion to a low-mass white dwarf A new study published February 28 on arXiv.org suggests that a millisecond pulsar known as PSR J0740+6620 has a stellar companion. The research provides evidence indicating that this object is most likely accompanied by an ultracool white dwarf exhibiting a pure helium atmosphere. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2019 Science X Network Explore further read more
Cucumbers are my nemesis. I want to fight every food in the melon family and many melon-adjacent foods, but melons avoid my primary disdain because they usually take their rightful place as easily avoidable fruit-salad filler. Cucumbers, though. Cucumbers. They hide in all kinds of things that otherwise seem safe to put in my mouth: sushi rolls, salads, sandwiches, the takeout “lunch bowls” that restaurants near my office sell for $14. Before you can solve a problem, you have to understand what it is: Why is it cucumbers for me, and broccoli or oysters for some other people? There’s no neat explanation, according to Paul Rozin, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “The great majority of people have a fair number of things they don’t like,” he says. There is evidence of genetic differences that make some people more sensitive to certain chemicals in food, but those people might actually prefer the taste of those chemicals. “Sensitivity doesn’t necessarily mean a person will be averse to something,” Rozin explains. Read the whole story: The Atlantic As far as I can remember, I’ve never liked cucumbers, mostly because they taste bad. If they’re present, they’re the first thing I notice, and it’s like someone has sprayed a middle schooler’s eau de toilette from 2002 on my food. Most other people appear to live on slightly different planes of cucumber reality from mine, which I’ve learned over several decades of watching people somehow eat them voluntarily. Still, my distaste for such an innocuous food feels vaguely shameful, and after much deliberation, I’m ready to switch sides. I’m ready to make myself like cucumbers. Getting there is unlikely to make any huge improvement in my life, but at the very least, I’d like to reroute my energy to a more interesting source of shame. And the good news, according to researchers, is that most people can reset their neural pathways to one day enjoy—or at least tolerate—a nice gazpacho. My cuke avoidance is what’s known as a food aversion, and although aversions are widespread in the United States, hating a food that others love is socially coded as fussy or unsophisticated. People with many or severe aversions often experience isolating anxiety or social opprobrium. For people like me, it’s more commonly just a nuisance that might inspire an occasional eye roll. read more
Enigma is the collection of works that go beyond a realistic or documentary representation with the intent to fulfill a more creative exchange with the audience. The photography exhibition by Saba Hasan, Ravi Dhingra, Nin Taneja and Puja Bahri that started off on 7 November shares their personal vision as fine artistes. Each of the images is independent dialogue with abstract concepts like spirituality, the enigma of life and the conundrum that we humans confront in the wondrous flow of time. Yet together, as a collective with common sensibilities they bring all these forces into a contour of colours, forms and emotional textures to give shape to an even larger, more fascinating enigma. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Hasan has made a lot of significant contributions in the realm of contemporary art and has successfully developed works across media like painting, photography, book installations, video and sound. Her photographs of the Hauz Khas park and lake area is being displayed at the show. She has built a large body of photographs tracing these walks from 2007 to 2014 and mirrored these walks around Lake Geneva, Jardins des Plantes, Kyoto’s Zen Gardens and New York’s Central Park. These photographs are in her style of an abstract artiste lifting the image from a specific place or period to echo multiple meanings. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSaba’s images are a result of a deeply solitary exploration of colors, lines, shadows, for the love of light, of water, of the place itself and her long relationship with it Dhingra, with his photographs tries to bring out the emotions attached with every subject- the state of happiness, feelings of being sad, neglect and plight. He wants the viewer to get involved with the photographs and feel the emotions.Taneja, in her art works draws an analogy between ‘The Sun’ and ‘The woman’. Both are creators that stand tall by some invisible force. Almost all her paintings have a circular ball of energy. the sun. Her abstract figurative works follow a rhythm that verbalise her own relation with different patterns in life, in a calm state of mind connecting with nature.Bahri’s repertoire includes paintings, digital and video art, and sculpture. She exhibits widely in India and abroad. She works as an interface between the folk and contemporary arts. read more
Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) is a global initiative of Plan to promote girl’s rights and lift them out of poverty. It is geared towards equipping, enabling and engaging girls of all ages to acquire the assets, skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in life. Plan India is attempting to initiate change at a number of levels (local, national and international) with the assistance of a number of partners.An historic milestone for girl’s rights was reached on December 19, 2011 – as the UN General Assembly formally declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Plan globally helped lead the call for this commemorative day as part of the Because I Am A Girl initiative. Plan India’s BIAAG goal is that girls enroll and complete quality primary and secondary education in a safe and supportive community environment and acquires the skills they need to access decent economic opportunities. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Girls have time and space to become active citizens and develop safe social networks and life skills. Plan India will continue to bring out an annual report on the State of the Girl Child. Plan India works in partnership with girls, boys, their families and communities and government institutions to realise its goal in achieving gender equality and girl’s empowerment and rights.The BIAAG Urban Programme or Safer Cities is a joint programme developed in partnership between Plan, Women in Cities International, and UN-HABITAT. The over arching goal of the programme is to build safe, accountable, and inclusive cities with and for adolescent girls in all their diversity. Let Girls Be Born is one of the flagship projects of Plan India which endeavours to empower the community against gender based sex selective elimination and ensure the right of girls to equality, identity, survival and citizenship. read more
Mariah Carey is working on a holiday movie with Brett Ratner. According to Deadline, the diva is expected to play a key role in the Christmas film and Ratner will serve as a producer. It will also feature her songs along with other tracks by different artists.Carey was last seen on the big screen in Lee Daniels’ The Butler in 2013, while Brett Ratner directed Hercules and Horrible Bosses 2 last year.The two friends recently sparked romance rumours after they were caught getting cozy in St Barts, France during their weekend birthdays.
Kolkata: A man was arrested after about 4,970 ampules of restricted narcotic drug valued at Rs 5 lakh in the international market was seized from him in West Bengal’s Malda district, senior NCB officer said on Wednesday. “Investigation revealed that ampules containing a close to 10 liters of Buprenorphin were seized from Malda district’s Kaliachawk area in the late hours on Tuesday. The drug was sourced from Kaliachawk’s Mojapur area and was destined to Murshidaad district’s Lalgola,” the officer said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life The Kolkata team of Narcotics Control Bureau arrested Kalu for the illegal possession of the drug and recovered cash worth Rs. 2000 and three credit cards. Buprenorphin is an opioid used to treat opioid addiction, acute pain, and chronic pain. It cannot be brought or sold without doctor’s prescription. “The accused and the seized contraband would be produced in court on Wednesday,” he added. read more