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Revealed: What the UK public really thinks about the future of science

Genetics - Tue, 2018-09-18 10:00
The 2018 New Scientist Asks the Public survey reveals that people are well-informed about science and technology, but politicians are ignoring their hopes and fears
Categories: Biology

A third of us would go one-way to Mars – but it may shrink your brain

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2018-09-18 09:02
New Scientist Asks the Public has revealed that 40 per cent of men want to go to Mars, but new evidence suggests the lengthy trip may be bad for your brain
Categories: Science and society

A third of us would go one-way to Mars – but it may shrink your brain

HIV and AIDS - Tue, 2018-09-18 09:02
New Scientist Asks the Public has revealed that 40 per cent of men want to go to Mars, but new evidence suggests the lengthy trip may be bad for your brain

A third of us would go one-way to Mars – but it may shrink your brain

Genetics - Tue, 2018-09-18 09:02
New Scientist Asks the Public has revealed that 40 per cent of men want to go to Mars, but new evidence suggests the lengthy trip may be bad for your brain
Categories: Biology

Inside the stargazer’s paradise where all outside lights are banned

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2018-09-18 09:00
The Arizona Sky village is a purpose-built community for star lovers. Most residents own telescopes and other stargazing gadgets
Categories: Science and society

Inside the stargazer’s paradise where all outside lights are banned

Genetics - Tue, 2018-09-18 09:00
The Arizona Sky village is a purpose-built community for star lovers. Most residents own telescopes and other stargazing gadgets
Categories: Biology

Artificial genes show life does not have to be based on DNA

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2018-09-18 08:00
Two modified versions of DNA add different “letters” to life’s genetic code but still work just as well as the original
Categories: Science and society

Artificial genes show life does not have to be based on DNA

Genetics - Tue, 2018-09-18 08:00
Two modified versions of DNA add different “letters” to life’s genetic code but still work just as well as the original
Categories: Biology

Artificial genes show life does not have to be based on DNA

HIV and AIDS - Tue, 2018-09-18 08:00
Two modified versions of DNA add different “letters” to life’s genetic code but still work just as well as the original

Only one in five UK adults would choose to live forever if they could

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2018-09-18 01:01
New Scientist Asks the Public has revealed that only 21 per cent of people would be keen to become immortal, should it ever become scientifically possible
Categories: Science and society

Why wouldn’t you want to live forever? New Scientist editors debate

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Tue, 2018-09-18 01:01
More than half of UK adults would turn down an offer of immortality. Emily Wilson doesn’t understand why – but Richard Webb certainly does
Categories: Science and society

Why wouldn’t you want to live forever? New Scientist editors debate

HIV and AIDS - Tue, 2018-09-18 01:01
More than half of UK adults would turn down an offer of immortality. Emily Wilson doesn’t understand why – but Richard Webb certainly does

Only one in five UK adults would choose to live forever if they could

HIV and AIDS - Tue, 2018-09-18 01:01
New Scientist Asks the Public has revealed that only 21 per cent of people would be keen to become immortal, should it ever become scientifically possible

Only one in five UK adults would choose to live forever if they could

Genetics - Tue, 2018-09-18 01:01
New Scientist Asks the Public has revealed that only 21 per cent of people would be keen to become immortal, should it ever become scientifically possible
Categories: Biology

Why wouldn’t you want to live forever? New Scientist editors debate

Genetics - Tue, 2018-09-18 01:01
More than half of UK adults would turn down an offer of immortality. Emily Wilson doesn’t understand why – but Richard Webb certainly does
Categories: Biology

Destabilized adaptive influenza variants critical for innate immune system escape are potentiated by host chaperones

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2018-09-17 23:00

by Angela M. Phillips, Anna I. Ponomarenko, Kenny Chen, Orr Ashenberg, Jiayuan Miao, Sean M. McHugh, Vincent L. Butty, Charles A. Whittaker, Christopher L. Moore, Jesse D. Bloom, Yu-Shan Lin, Matthew D. Shoulders

The threat of viral pandemics demands a comprehensive understanding of evolution at the host–pathogen interface. Here, we show that the accessibility of adaptive mutations in influenza nucleoprotein at fever-like temperatures is mediated by host chaperones. Particularly noteworthy, we observe that the Pro283 nucleoprotein variant, which (1) is conserved across human influenza strains, (2) confers resistance to the Myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) restriction factor, and (3) critically contributed to adaptation to humans in the 1918 pandemic influenza strain, is rendered unfit by heat shock factor 1 inhibition–mediated host chaperone depletion at febrile temperatures. This fitness loss is due to biophysical defects that chaperones are unavailable to address when heat shock factor 1 is inhibited. Thus, influenza subverts host chaperones to uncouple the biophysically deleterious consequences of viral protein variants from the benefits of immune escape. In summary, host proteostasis plays a central role in shaping influenza adaptation, with implications for the evolution of other viruses, for viral host switching, and for antiviral drug development.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Morphology of mitochondria in spatially restricted axons revealed by cryo-electron tomography

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2018-09-17 23:00

by Tara D. Fischer, Pramod K. Dash, Jun Liu, M. Neal Waxham

Neurons project axons to local and distal sites and can display heterogeneous morphologies with limited physical dimensions that may influence the structure of large organelles such as mitochondria. Using cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), we characterized native environments within axons and presynaptic varicosities to examine whether spatial restrictions within these compartments influence the morphology of mitochondria. Segmented tomographic reconstructions revealed distinctive morphological characteristics of mitochondria residing at the narrowed boundary between presynaptic varicosities and axons with limited physical dimensions (approximately 80 nm), compared to mitochondria in nonspatially restricted environments. Furthermore, segmentation of the tomograms revealed discrete organizations between the inner and outer membranes, suggesting possible independent remodeling of each membrane in mitochondria at spatially restricted axonal/varicosity boundaries. Thus, cryo-ET of mitochondria within axonal subcompartments reveals that spatial restrictions do not obstruct mitochondria from residing within them, but limited available space can influence their gross morphology and the organization of the inner and outer membranes. These findings offer new perspectives on the influence of physical and spatial characteristics of cellular environments on mitochondrial morphology and highlight the potential for remarkable structural plasticity of mitochondria to adapt to spatial restrictions within axons.
Categories: Biology, Journals

EukRef: Phylogenetic curation of ribosomal RNA to enhance understanding of eukaryotic diversity and distribution

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2018-09-17 23:00

by Javier del Campo, Martin Kolisko, Vittorio Boscaro, Luciana F. Santoferrara, Serafim Nenarokov, Ramon Massana, Laure Guillou, Alastair Simpson, Cedric Berney, Colomban de Vargas, Matthew W. Brown, Patrick J. Keeling, Laura Wegener Parfrey

Environmental sequencing has greatly expanded our knowledge of micro-eukaryotic diversity and ecology by revealing previously unknown lineages and their distribution. However, the value of these data is critically dependent on the quality of the reference databases used to assign an identity to environmental sequences. Existing databases contain errors and struggle to keep pace with rapidly changing eukaryotic taxonomy, the influx of novel diversity, and computational challenges related to assembling the high-quality alignments and trees needed for accurate characterization of lineage diversity. EukRef (eukref.org) is an ongoing community-driven initiative that addresses these challenges by bringing together taxonomists with expertise spanning the eukaryotic tree of life and microbial ecologists, who use environmental sequence data to develop reliable reference databases across the diversity of microbial eukaryotes. EukRef organizes and facilitates rigorous mining and annotation of sequence data by providing protocols, guidelines, and tools. The EukRef pipeline and tools allow users interested in a particular group of microbial eukaryotes to retrieve all sequences belonging to that group from International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) (GenBank, European Nucleotide Archive [ENA], or DBJD), to place those sequences in a phylogenetic tree, and to curate taxonomic and environmental information for the group. We provide guidelines to facilitate the process and to standardize taxonomic annotations. The final outputs of this process are (1) a reference tree and alignment, (2) a reference sequence database, including taxonomic and environmental information, and (3) a list of putative chimeras and other artifactual sequences. These products will be useful for the broad community as they become publicly available (at eukref.org) and are shared with existing reference databases.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Honeybee swarms act like superorganisms to stay together in high winds

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Mon, 2018-09-17 17:00
A honeybee swarm behaves like a superorganism by changing shape in response to physical stress – although doing so means individuals take on a greater burden
Categories: Science and society

Honeybee swarms act like superorganisms to stay together in high winds

Genetics - Mon, 2018-09-17 17:00
A honeybee swarm behaves like a superorganism by changing shape in response to physical stress – although doing so means individuals take on a greater burden
Categories: Biology