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News from the Lab (news.myScience.ch)

  • News from the Lab’ is a selection of scientific works that are significant or interesting for a broad readership. 
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Life Sciences



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Environment - Life Sciences - 01.02.2023
76 % of assessed insect species worldwide not adequately covered by protected areas
76 % of assessed insect species worldwide not adequately covered by protected areas
Insect numbers have been declining over the past decades in many parts of the world. Protected areas could safeguard threatened insects, but a team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), and the University of Queensland now found that 76 % of globally assessed insect species are not adequately covered by protected areas worldwide.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.02.2023
Local cacao varieties promise high biodiversity and fine flavours
Local cacao varieties promise high biodiversity and fine flavours
Agroecologists from Göttingen University study their socio-ecological importance in South America In the western Amazon region, cacao has been cultivated since prehistoric times and the area is a valuable resource for genetic diversity of cacao plants. There is growing interest here in switching cultivation from high-yielding but mostly low-quality cacao to indigenous cacao varieties that produce chocolate with particularly fine flavours.

Health - Life Sciences - 01.02.2023
Cancer research at TUM
Cancer research at TUM
World Cancer Day on February 4, 2023 How does cancer develop? How can we improve diagnoses and therapies? How can we prevent it from occurring in the first place? To answer these questions, TUM and its University Hospital rechts der Isar link the study of medicine with the natural sciences, life sciences, engineering and informatics.

Life Sciences - 30.01.2023
The key to hearing development
The key to hearing development
In our inner ear, there are two different types of sensory cells that are responsible for hearing. An MHH research team has now identified the molecular switch for the formation of these inner and outer hair cells and thus found an important building block for the treatment of hearing loss. The inner and outer hair cells develop before birth from a common type of precursor cells.

Health - Life Sciences - 27.01.2023
Not just mood swings but premenstrual depression
Not just mood swings but premenstrual depression
Researchers find serotonin transporter in the brain increased Scientists led by Julia Sacher from Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and Osama Sabri from the Leipzig University Hospital have discovered in an elaborate patient study that the transport of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain increases in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) shortly before menstruation.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 26.01.2023
Evolutionary Tuning of a Cellular 'Powerhouse'
Evolutionary Tuning of a Cellular ’Powerhouse’
Researchers in Freiburg and Bonn provide the first comprehensive mapping of the protein machineries in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell Mitochondria are membrane-enclosed structures found in all cells of higher organisms, where they produce most of the necessary energy ("powerhouses of the cell").

Life Sciences - 26.01.2023
Motile Sperm and Frequent Abortions in Spreading Earthmoss
Motile Sperm and Frequent Abortions in Spreading Earthmoss
Freiburg researchers discover that sperm motility and anchoring of the spore capsule in the spreading earthmoss Physcomitrella are influenced by the auxin transporter PINC. As a component of moors, mosses are important for climate conservation. They are also gaining increasing significance in biotechnology and the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals.

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.01.2023
The death of microorganisms affects the carbon content in the soil
The death of microorganisms affects the carbon content in the soil
Biologists at Freie Universität Berlin Publish Research Results in Nature Geoscience Even microorganisms are not immortal. And the way the tiny creatures die in the soil has an impact on the amount of carbon they leave behind, as microbiologist and ecologist Dr. Tessa Camenzind of Freie Universität Berlin, in collaboration with Johannes Lehmann of Cornell University, New York (USA) and Humboldt Research Award winner at Freie Universität Berlin, and other co-authors have now discovered.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 26.01.2023
Evolutionary tuning of a cellular 'power plant'
Evolutionary tuning of a cellular ’power plant’
Researchers from Freiburg and Bonn succeed in the first comprehensive description of the protein machines in the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell. Mitochondria are membrane-enveloped structures found in all cells of higher organisms, where they produce most of the necessary energy ("power plants of the cell").

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.01.2023
Cooperation between dolphins and humans
Cooperation between dolphins and humans
A study reveals how cooperative hunting between dolphins and fishers can benefit both species-and why this behavior faces extinction In the city of Laguna on Brazil's southern coast, dolphins and humans have been helping each other hunt for over a century. In the practice, traditional net-casting fishers wait in the lagoon for wild bottlenose dolphins to appear.

Life Sciences - 25.01.2023
How evolution relies on different life cycles
How evolution relies on different life cycles
An international team of researchers has succeeded in solving one of the riddles of evolution. The scientists investigated the question why the life cycles of animal species differ significantly from each other. Specifically, the question was why invertebrates in particular go through a larval stage during their individual development.

Life Sciences - 25.01.2023
Mechanical forces in the nervous system play a corrective role
Mechanical forces in the nervous system play a corrective role
Team of researchers at Münster University show in the fruit fly how mechanical tearing cut neural connections Nerve cells communicate with one another via long processes known as axons and dendrites, or, more generally, neurites. During development, these processes first grow and form connections with other cells, for example synapses with other nerve cells.

Physics - Life Sciences - 25.01.2023
Thermal motions and oscillation modes determine the uptake of bacteria in cells
Thermal motions and oscillation modes determine the uptake of bacteria in cells
Team at the University of Freiburg analyzes how model bacteria dock to and penetrate membrane bubbles. How and with what effort does a bacterium - or a virus - enter a cell and cause an infection? Researchers from Freiburg have now made an important contribution to answering this question: A team led by physicist Alexander Rohrbach and his collaborator Dr. Yareni Ayala was able to show how thermal fluctuations of a model bacterium and membrane oscillation modes of a model cell influence the energy with which the model bacteria dock and enter the membrane.

Life Sciences - Health - 24.01.2023
Genome Editing Procedures Optimised
Genome Editing Procedures Optimised
Heidelberg scientists succeed in boosting the efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9 and related methods and modifying initially inaccessible DNA sequences In the course of optimising key procedures of genome editing, researchers from the department of Developmental Biology / Physiology at the Centre for Organismal Studies of Heidelberg University have succeeded in substantially improving the efficiency of molecular genetic methods such as CRISPR/Cas9 and related systems, and in broadening their areas of application.

Health - Life Sciences - 24.01.2023
Exploring the role of organ and immune ageing in heart and lung diseases
Exploring the role of organ and immune ageing in heart and lung diseases
Cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases are closely linked. Researchers at the MHH now want to demonstrate the molecular mechanisms and investigate the influence of age-related changes in the heart, lungs and immune system. Cardiovascular diseases and diseases of the lower respiratory tract are among the most common causes of death, especially in older people.

Life Sciences - 23.01.2023
Mutant with Counting Disability
Mutant with Counting Disability
The newly discovered dyscalculia mutant of the Venus flytrap has lost its ability to count electrical impulses. Würzburg researchers reveal the cause of the defect. The carnivorous Venus flytrap ( Dionaea muscipula ) can count to five: This discovery by Würzburg biophysicist Professor Rainer Hedrich caused a worldwide excitement in 2016.

Life Sciences - Health - 23.01.2023
Using Big Data against mental disorders
Using Big Data against mental disorders
New computational models for cognitive disorders and pain How can physicians help patients suffering from mental health disorders like chronic pain, depression and stroke? An interdisciplinary team of researchers at TUM is developing new methods to investigate the neuronal patterns underlying these conditions.

Life Sciences - 18.01.2023
Flower Patterns Make Bumblebees More Efficient
Flower Patterns Make Bumblebees More Efficient
The search for nectar costs insects a lot of energy, so they have to be as efficient as possible. Colourful patterns on the petals can help with that. Be it mallow, foxglove or forget-me-not: many flowers bear colourful patterns, which are known as nectar guides in biology. They are assumed to show the pollinating insects the shortest way to the nectary.

Life Sciences - 18.01.2023
The dark cost of being toxic
The dark cost of being toxic
Sequestration of plant toxins by monarch butterflies leads to reduced warning signal conspicuousness An international research team including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena has discovered that the striking orange and black wings of monarch butterflies not only send the message to predators that these butterflies are highly toxic, but that the storage of toxins and development of the colourful wings come at a cost to the butterfly's body.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.01.2023
Sugar-based inhibitors disarm the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Sugar-based inhibitors disarm the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Researchers from University Freiburg develop promising active ingredient to combat multi-resistant bacteria. The hospital pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa requires the sugar-binding proteins LecA and LecB to form biofilms as well as to attach to and penetrate host cells. These so-called lectins are therefore suitable targets for active substances to combat Pseudomonas infections.
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