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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 - 27.10.2020
Shifts in Flowering Phases of Plants Due to Reduced Insect Density
Shifts in Flowering Phases of Plants Due to Reduced Insect Density
It still sounds unlikely today, but declines in insect numbers could well make it a frequent occurrence in the future: fields full of flowers, but not a bee in sight. A research group of the University of Jena and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has discovered that insects have a decisive influence on the biodiversity and flowering phases of plants.

Environment - Life Sciences - 27.10.2020
On the way to fish-friendly hydropower
On the way to fish-friendly hydropower
EU project "FIThydro" studies environmental impact of hydroelectric power plants In the Europe-wide project "FIThydro" coordinated by the Technical University of Munich (TUM), researchers worked with industrial partners to study existing hydroelectric power plants. Based on their results, they have developed new assessment methods and technologies such as a fish population hazard index, fish migration simulations and an open-access decision support tool for power plant planning.

Life Sciences - Physics - 27.10.2020
Zombification of plants
Zombification of plants
Phytoplasma effector proteins devastate host plants through molecular mimicry Phytoplasma are a type of bacteria that live within the cells and cause devastating diseases with damaging effects. For example, in many cases plants infected with phytoplasma are no longer able to develop flowers. These plants have actually been described as "zombies," since they allow the reproduction of phytoplasma but are unable to reproduce themselves anymore.

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.10.2020
A molecular break for root growth
A molecular break for root growth
Length of plant roots is controlled by hormones The dynamic change in root growth of plants plays an important role in their adjustment to soil conditions. Depending on the location, nutrients or moisture can be found in higher or lower soil layers. This is why, depending on the situation, a short or a long root is advantageous.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 23.10.2020
How "protein factories" mature
Ribosomes are small "factories" in which proteins are assembled according to genetic construction plans. The maturation of ribosomes, of which every human cell contains up to a million, is a complicated, multi-phase process. Now, with the aid of cryo-electron microscopy, scientists from Heidelberg University and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München have been able to clarify an important step in ribosomal formation.

Life Sciences - 21.10.2020
Animal-based research: Scientists develop new experimental design for an improved reproducibility
Animal-based research: Scientists develop new experimental design for an improved reproducibility
In research, the results of studies must be precise and reproducible. For this reason, researchers carried out experiments under strictly standardized laboratory conditions. However, despite the high standards applied, results from individual studies cannot always be reproduced in practice. Especially in cases in which animals are used for research purposes and the original study cannot be repeated, this raises severe ethical questions.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.10.2020
How the virus enters the cell
How the virus enters the cell
Coronavirus: Neuropilin-1 could open the door to the inside of the cell The protein neuropilin-1 facilitates SARS CoV-2 cell entry. A research team including Prof. Mikael Simons of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) recently published these findings in the journal "Science". Because neuropilin-1 is expressed in the mucous membranes of the olfactory and respiratory tract, the findings may be important for understanding the spreading of SARS CoV-2.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.10.2020
An alternative to animal experiments
An alternative to animal experiments
Scientists at the Technical University of Munich derived human organoids from duodenal tissue sections. Within a few days, organoids grow from small circular structures into bigger, more complex structures resembling many aspects of intestinal physiology. New applications for organoids from human intestinal tissue Researchers of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have cultured so-called intestinal organoids from human intestinal tissue, which is a common byproduct when performing bowel surgery.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.10.2020
Bacterial toxin with healing effect
Bacterial toxin with healing effect
Research team uncovers that a toxic substance found in Staphylococcus aureus stimulates tissue regeneration Normally they are among the many harmless organisms found in and on the human body: one in four people have millions of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin and on the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, without being aware of it.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.10.2020
New Class of Highly Effective Inhibitors Protects against Neurodegeneration
Heidelberg neurobiologists decode central mechanism of degenerative processes in the brains of mouse models and develop new principle for therapeutic agents Neurobiologists at Heidelberg University have discovered how a special receptor at neuronal junctions that normally activates a protective genetic programme can lead to nerve cell death when located outside synapses.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.10.2020
Understanding the course of viral infections
Understanding the course of viral infections
It is only 120 millionths of a millimetre in size but can bring entire countries to a standstill: the Corona virus. Even if it were to disappear one day, viral infections will still be among the most frequent and difficult-to-treat diseases in humans. Even decades of research have only produced a few standardized vaccines and strategies for treatment to combat just a small number of viruses.

Life Sciences - Health - 08.10.2020
What time is it on your biological clock?
What time is it on your biological clock?
Interdisciplinary research team receives up to 4.5 million euros in funding from the Carl Zeiss Foundation As the saying goes: " You're only as old as you feel ", suggesting that it is not simply the number of years lived that determines a person's age. Biological age depends on many factors and is also subject to psychological influences.

Environment - Life Sciences - 07.10.2020
Are there hydroelectric power plants that are fish-friendly?
Are there hydroelectric power plants that are fish-friendly?
Complex investigation of new hydropower plants Modern hydroelectric power plants do not always protect fish better than conventional ones. In addition to the technologies employed, the specific location of the plant and the fish species being present at that location also play a role in fish protection.

Life Sciences - 05.10.2020
Hunger encourages risk-taking
Hunger encourages risk-taking
Meta-analysis shows that in animals, difficult living conditions increase risk-taking behaviour in later life The lives of animals in the wild are full of risky situations with uncertain outcomes. Whether they are exploring new habitats in unfamiliar terrain or searching for new food sources, they run the risk of being caught and killed by a predator.

Computer Science - Life Sciences - 29.09.2020
3D images display plant organs down to the smallest detail
3D images display plant organs down to the smallest detail
Intelligent software for a better understanding of plant tissue development Using artificial intelligence, researchers have developed a novel computer-based image processing method for plant sciences. The method enables the detailed 3D representation of all cells in various plant organs with unprecedented precision.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.09.2020
Looking at evolution's genealogy from home
Looking at evolution’s genealogy from home
As the developers of 2-n-way, Dr. Jürgen Schmitz, Dr. Liliya Doronina, Norbert Grundmann, Fengjun Zhang and Dr. Gennady Churakov (from left) are delighted at the publication of their project in the specialist press. Evolution leaves its traces in particular in genomes. Pinpointing its influence is a laborious process - but one in which Dr. Jürgen Schmitz and his team at the University of Münster are at home.

Agronomy / Food Science - Life Sciences - 23.09.2020
Broad beans versus soybeans as feedstuff for dual-purpose chickens
University of Göttingen research team investigates influence on meat quality Current practices of the poultry industry have raised ethical and ecological concerns: ethical concerns include the culling of day-old male chicks of egg-laying breeds; ecological concerns include the import of large quantities of soybeans for feedstuff.

Life Sciences - Environment - 23.09.2020
Genome Duplications as Evolutionary Adaptation Strategy
Genome duplications play a major role in the development of forms and structures of plant organisms and their changes across long periods of evolution. Heidelberg University biologists under the direction of Marcus Koch made this discovery in their research of the Brassicaceae family. To determine the scope of the different variations over 30 million years, they analysed all 4,000 species of this plant family and investigated at the genus level their morphological diversity with respect to all their characteristic traits.

Life Sciences - 08.09.2020
Glial cells play an active role in the nervous system
Glial cells play an active role in the nervous system
View of a Drosophila larva (with the head turned to the left). The surrounding glial cells in the peripheral nervous system have been depicted in individual colours by using a genetic trick. To this end, a random combination of a certain set of fluorescent proteins is induced in the surrounding glial cells by means of a systematic expression of a recombinase so that each cell expresses its own colour code and, as a result, becomes visible under the microscope.

Pharmacology - Life Sciences - 02.09.2020
Finding cortisone alternatives with fewer side effects
Finding cortisone alternatives with fewer side effects
DNA binding is essential for effectiveness of steroids Many people use cortisone of a regular basis. It is used for treating rheumatism, asthma, multiple sclerosis, or even COVID-19. Steroidal medication such as cortisone is highly effective but also possesses severe side effects. Henriette Uhlenhaut, professor at Technical University of Munich (TUM), and her team are examining the beneficial effects of cortisone in order to lay the groundwork for the development of similar drugs with fewer side effects.
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