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Archives for : gennaio2014

3D Virus Model Could Lead to Cure for Common Cold

See on Scoop.itVirology News

A cure for the common cold may be just around the corner.

A three-dimensional model of the rhinovirus C, the virus behind up to half of all childhood colds, reveals why effective treatment for the ailment remains elusive and could open the door to a cure.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madisoncreated a meticulous topographical model, of the virus, which was only discovered in 2006. The model showed the virus is distinct from other cold viruses.


Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

Yah, sure: every time a 3-D model is made, it’s going to result in a vaccine.  Sure!  NOT!  But it’s nice work


See on www.voanews.com

Focus: Device Couples Light to Atom and Quantum Motion – Physics

See on Scoop.itPhysics

Focus: Device Couples Light to Atom and Quantum Motion Physics … proposed hybrid devices that combine cQED with optomechanics.
See on physics.aps.org

Novel Genetic Patterns May Make Us Rethink Biology and Individuality – The Almagest

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science

Professor of Genetics Scott Williams, PhD, of the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (iQBS) at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, has made two novel discoveries: first, a person can have several DNA mutations in parts of their body, with their original DNA in the rest—resulting in several different genotypes in one individual—and second, some of the same genetic mutations occur in unrelated people. We think of each person’s DNA as unique, so if an individual can have more than one genotype, this may alter our very concept of what it means to be a human, and impact how we think about using forensic or criminal DNA analysis, paternity testing, prenatal testing, or genetic screening for breast cancer risk, for example. Williams’ surprising results indicate that genetic mutations do not always happen purely at random, as scientists have previously thought. His work, done in collaboration with Professor of Genetics Jason Moore, PhD, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University, was published in PLOS Genetics journal.[1]


Genetic mutations can occur in the cells that are passed on from parent to child and may cause birth defects. Other genetic mutations occur after an egg is fertilized, throughout childhood or adult life, after people are exposed to sunlight, radiation, carcinogenic chemicals, viruses, or other items that can damage DNA. These later or “somatic” mutations do not affect sperm or egg cells, so they are not inherited from parents or passed down to children. Somatic mutations can cause cancer or other diseases, but do not always do so. However, if the mutated cell continues to divide, the person can develop tissue, or a part thereof, with a different DNA sequence from the rest of his or her body.

“We are in reality diverse beings in that a single person is genetically not a single entity—to be philosophical in ways I do not yet understand—what does it mean to be a person if we are variable within?” says Williams, the study’s senior author, and founding Director of the Center for Integrative Biomedical Sciences in iQBS. “What makes you a person? Is it your memory? Your genes?” He continues, “We have always thought, ‘your genome is your genome.’ The data suggest that it is not completely true.”

In the past, it was always thought that each person contains only one DNA sequence (genetic constitution). Only recently, with the computational power of advanced genetic analysis tools that examine all the genes in one individual, have scientists been able to systematically look for this somatic variation. “This study is an example of the type of biomedical research project that is made possible by bringing together interdisciplinary teams of scientists with expertise in the biological, computational and statistical sciences.” says Jason Moore, Director of the iQBS, who is also Associate Director for Bioinformatics at the Cancer Center, Third Century Professor, and Professor of Community and Family Medicine at Geisel.

Having multiple genotypes from mutations within one’s own body is somewhat analogous to chimerism, a condition in which one person has cells inside his or her body that originated from another person (i.e., following an organ or blood donation; or sometimes a mother and child—or twins—exchange DNA during pregnancy. Also, occasionally a person finds out that, prior to birth, he or she had a twin who did not survive, whose genetic material is still contained within their own body).[2] Chimerism has resulted in some famous DNA cases: one in which a mother had genetic testing that “proved” that she was unrelated to two of her three biological sons.[3]


As suggested by Maria Schnee (newphoenix.info)


1 Williams, Scott, et al., Recurrent tissue-specific mtDNA mutations are common in humans. http://www.plosgenetics.org/doi/pgen.1003929.


2 Strain L, Dean JC, Hamilton MP, Bonthron D. A true hermaphrodite chimera resulting from embryo amalgamation after in vitro fertilization. N Engl J Med 1998;(338):166-9/


3 Norton AT and Zehner O. Project MUSE: Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Inspiration. http://www.academia.edu.


See on www.thealmagest.com

Global temperature will rise 4°C by 2100 and potentially 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide is not reduced

See on Scoop.itCuriosopernatura

Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced, according to new research published in Nature that shows our climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.

 

The research could solve one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity, the role of cloud formation and whether this will have a positive or negative effect on global warming.

 

“Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from preindustrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation,” said lead author from UNSW’s Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Professor Steven Sherwood.

 

“When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher. Previously estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5°C to 5°C. This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C to 5°C with a doubling of carbon dioxide.”


See on newsroom.unsw.edu.au

Midair levitation of objects using sound waves

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science

The essence of levitation technology is the countervailing of gravity. It is known that an ultrasound standing wave is capable of suspending small particles at its sound pressure nodes and, so far, this method has been used to levitate lightweight particles, small creatures, and water droplets.
The acoustic axis of the ultrasound beam in these previous studies was parallel to the gravitational force, and the levitated objects were manipulated along the fixed axis (i.e. one-dimensionally) by controlling the phases or frequencies of bolted Langevin-type transducers. In the present study, we considered extended acoustic manipulation whereby millimetre-sized particles were levitated and moved three-dimensionally by localised ultrasonic standing waves, which were generated by ultrasonic phased arrays. Our manipulation system has two original features. One is the direction of the ultrasound beam, which is arbitrary because the force acting toward its centre is also utilised. The other is the manipulation principle by which a localised standing wave is generated at an arbitrary position and moved three-dimensionally by opposed and ultrasonic phased arrays. We experimentally confirmed that various materials could be manipulated by our proposed method.

Yoichi Ochiai, Takayuki Hoshi, Jun Rekimoto: Three-dimensional Mid-air Acoustic Manipulation by Ultrasonic Phased Arrays arXiv:1312.4006 http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.4006

Yoichi Ochiai (The University of Tokyo)
Takayuki Hoshi (Nagoya Institute of Technology)
Jun Rekimoto (The University of Tokyo / Sony CSL)

http://96ochiai.ws/3DOFacoustic 
contact: yoichi.ochiai@me.com


See on www.youtube.com

First structure of enzyme (tet) that modifies methylated cytosine modification

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science


Scientists have obtained the first detailed molecular structure of a member of the Tet family of enzymes.

Cytosine residues in mammalian DNA occur in five forms: cytosine (C), 5-methylcytosine (5mC), 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC). The ten-eleven translocation (Tet) dioxygenases convert 5mC to 5hmC, 5fC and 5caC in three consecutive, Fe(II)- and α-ketoglutarate-dependent oxidation reactions [1234]. The Tet family of dioxygenases is widely distributed across the tree of life [5], including in the heterolobosean amoeboflagellate Naegleria gruberi. The genome of Naegleria [6] encodes homologues of mammalian DNA methyltransferase and Tet proteins [7]. Here we study biochemically and structurally one of the Naegleria Tet-like proteins (NgTet1), which shares significant sequence conservation (approximately 14% identity or 39% similarity) with mammalian Tet1. Like mammalian Tet proteins, NgTet1 acts on 5mC and generates 5hmC, 5fC and 5caC. The crystal structure of NgTet1 in complex with DNA containing a 5mCpG site revealed that NgTet1 uses a base-flipping mechanism to access 5mC. The DNA is contacted from the minor groove and bent towards the major groove. The flipped 5mC is positioned in the active-site pocket with planar stacking contacts, Watson–Crick polar hydrogen bonds and van der Waals interactions specific for 5mC. The sequence conservation between NgTet1 and mammalian Tet1, including residues involved in structural integrity and functional significance, suggests structural conservation across phyla.


The finding is important for the field of epigenetics because Tet enzymes chemically modify DNA, changing signposts that tell the cell’s machinery “this gene is shut off” into other signs that say “ready for a change.”

Tet enzymes’ roles have come to light only in the last five years; they are needed for stem cells to maintain their multipotent state, and are involved in early embryonic and brain development and in cancer.


Researchers led by Xiaodong Cheng, PhD, determined the structure of a Tet family member from Naegleria gruberi by X-ray crystallography. The structure shows how the enzyme interacts with its target DNA, bending the double helix and flipping out the base that is to be modified. “This base flipping mechanism is also used by other enzymes that modify and repair DNA, but we can see from the structure that the Tet family enzymes interact with the DNA in a distinct way,” Cheng says. Mammalian Tet enzymes appear to have an additional regulatory domain that the Naegleria forms do not; understanding how that domain works will be a new puzzle opened up by having the Naegleria structure, Cheng says.


See on phys.org

Health Risk Assessments Are A Powerful Component of Population Health Management

See on Scoop.ithealthcare technology


Health Risk Assessments (HRAs) are a powerful component of population health management strategies for healthcare organizations.


nrip‘s insight:

HRA’s are a valuable tool to assist physicians in keeping their patients in good health. Simple risk calculators for heart health, diabetes, occupational health have been around for a long time, and patients have slowly started warming to the idea of filling in questionaires over 10-15 minutes which help them make better sense of thir health.

The major components of a Good HRA are accuracy, detail . ability to assist patients and the quality of the final report and analysis it provides. When we built our Eucalyptus HRA Engine, we also understood the importance of repeat risk identification and added the concepts of information prescription into the HRA results.


See on www.hitconsultant.net

10 amazing science and technology innovations coming up in 2014

See on Scoop.itTechnology in Business Today


From the world’s largest underground hotel to Star Wars-style holographic communication, the coming year is set to unveil an array of incredible advances in science and technology


See on www.telegraph.co.uk

A Scientist Predicts the Future

See on Scoop.itWeb 3.0

When making predictions, I have two criteria: the laws of physics must be obeyed and prototypes must exist that demonstrate “proof of principle.” I’ve interviewed more than 300 of the world’s top scientists, and many allowed me into laboratories where they are inventing the future. Their accomplishments and dreams are eye-opening. From my conversations with them, here’s a glimpse of what to expect in the coming decades:


Pierre Tran‘s insight:

Le physicien et futurologue Michio Kaku prédit le futur pour la prochaine décade  :

  • Les ordinateurs vont disparaître : informatique ubiquitaire et pervasive, cloud ambiant
  • La réalité augmentée sera la réalité quotidienne : internet accessible via des lentilles de contact
  • Les réseaux de cerveaux augmentera l’internet : ordinateurs pilotés par le cerveau, télépathie, télékinésie…
  • Le capitalisme se perfectionnera : après les médias, l’industrie va se dématérialiser (éducation, médecine, transports…), l’offre et la demande vont s”adapter
  • Les robots et l’intelligence artificielle seront monnaie courante : médecins, avocats, voitures autonomes…
  • Les organes défectueux seont remplacés
  • Les parents pourront concevoir les caractéristiques génétiques de leur progéniture
  • La cybermédecine, les nanotechnologies allongeront l’espérance de vie
  • Les dictateurs seront les grands perdants, Internet libèrent la prise de conscience des gens qui n’ont plus à vivre comme des esclaves
  • Le capitalisme intellectuel remplacera le capitalisme des marchandises


See on www.nytimes.com

Brains on Trial: Determine criminal fate based on high-tech images of the brain

See on Scoop.itAmazing Science


What if we could peer into a brain and see guilt or innocence? Brain scanning technology is trying to break its way into the courtroom, but can we—and should we—determine criminal fate based on high-tech images of the brain?

Join a distinguished group of neuroscientists and legal experts who will debate how and if neuroscience should inform our laws and how we treat criminals. This World Science Festival program is based on a two-part PBS special, “Brains on Trial with Alan Alda,” which aired on September 11 and 18, 2013, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


See on worldsciencefestival.com

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