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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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Life Sciences - Environment - 20.01.2022
Branching worm discovered in Japan named after Godzilla's nemesis
Branching worm discovered in Japan named after Godzilla’s nemesis
International team led by Göttingen University describe new species Ramisyllis kingghidorahi Branching marine worms are bizarre creatures with one head but a body that branches over and over again into multiple posterior ends. Until now, only two species of these curious beasts, thought to be extremely rare, were known.

Health - Life Sciences - 20.01.2022
Attack on the malaria parasite cytoskeleton
Attack on the malaria parasite cytoskeleton
Researchers succeeded in the purification of Plasmodium "tubulin", the molecular building block of cytoskeletal filaments - an important step in the search for novel anti-malarials Despite all efforts, malaria remains one of the deadliest diseases with an estimated 240.000.000 cases and more than 600.000 fatalities in 2020 alone.

Life Sciences - Environment - 19.01.2022
Trees call for help from birds and predatory insects
Trees call for help from birds and predatory insects
Trees emit scents when attacked by caterpillars and other herbivores. They use these to attract predatory insects and even birds, thus getting rid of their pests. This had only been demonstrated in smaller scale experiments so far. A team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research Halle-Jena-Leipzig (iDiv), the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Leipzig University have now demonstrated this phenomenon for the first time in a natural habitat - in the 40-metre-high canopy of the Leipzig floodplain forest.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 18.01.2022
Protein molecules in mitochondria clearly assigned for the first time
Protein molecules in mitochondria clearly assigned for the first time
New findings make it possible to explore in detail the links between defects in mitochondrial proteins and diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems Mitochondria are key components of our cells. Cell respiration and control of many metabolic and signalling processes take place within them. In order for the biochemical reactions to take place flawlessly, complex interactions between specialized protein molecules are required.

Life Sciences - Health - 12.01.2022
Unmuting the genome
Unmuting the genome
Hereditary diseases as well as cancers and cardiovascular diseases may be associated with a phenomenon known as genomic imprinting, in which only the maternally or paternally inherited gene is active. An international research team involving scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Berlin and Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) has now investigated the mechanisms responsible for the deactivation of the genes.

Life Sciences - 04.01.2022
How Plants Go Through Puberty
A research team at Freie Universität Berlin discovers genes that regulate plant development and reproduction Biologists at Freie Universität Berlin have discovered that the hormone cytokinin regulates a developmental process in plants that can be compared with puberty in humans and animals. The research team says that plants become receptive to specific signals that stimulate flowering during this development - in other words, they begin their transition into the reproductive phase.

Life Sciences - 23.12.2021
Daring to leave gaps in the genome
Daring to leave gaps in the genome
Research team at Göttingen University develops new method to complete genetic data The use of genetic information is now indispensable for modern plant breeding. Even though DNA sequencing has become much cheaper since the human genome was decoded for the very first time in 2003, collecting the full genetic information still accounts for a large part of the costs in animal and plant breeding.

Life Sciences - 22.12.2021
Switching in the brain: a fresh perspective
Switching in the brain: a fresh perspective
Research team at Göttingen Campus investigates processing of sensory impressions The human brain is extremely dynamic. The connections between nerve cells change when we learn or forget. But our brain's computations change even faster than its structure: in a heartbeat, we shift our focus from what we see to what we hear or smell.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.12.2021
'The balance is extremely important'
’The balance is extremely important’
When you enter the Institute of Neuroand Behavioural Biology at Badestraße 9 and go up the stairs on the left... what you immediately see are the rows of pictures in the stairwell and the corridors. They look fascinating, in bright vibrant colours - but what they actually show is not apparent to the non-specialist at first glance.

Environment - Life Sciences - 21.12.2021
Plants as Cold Specialists from the Ice Age
Plants as Cold Specialists from the Ice Age
Heidelberg researchers investigate how the spoonweed genus successfully adapted to extreme climatic changes over millions of years As cold relics in an increasingly warming world, plants of the spoonweed group time and again quickly adapted to a changing climate during the Ice Ages of the last two million years.

Life Sciences - 20.12.2021
A special aid to memory
We all know the everyday situation: you go into a supermarket, realise that you've left your shopping list at home and, try you as you might, you can only remember a fraction of what was on it. Forgetfulness is seen as a deficit which makes life more complicated. Anyone who is chronically forgetful is quickly seen as being a bit dotty.

Life Sciences - Health - 15.12.2021
Molecular Switch for Addiction Behaviour
Molecular Switch for Addiction Behaviour
A molecular switch influences addiction behaviour and determines how strong the response to addictive drugs is. A research team at Heidelberg University and the Sorbonne University in Paris (France) made the discovery in mice treated with cocaine. The researchers led by Hilmar Bading (Heidelberg) and Peter Vanhoutte (Paris) demonstrated that the protein Npas4 regulates the structure and function of nerve cells that control addiction behaviour in mice.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.12.2021
Surviving 'butterfly disease'
Surviving ’butterfly disease’
The skin is the largest organ of the human body. But what if the skin "disintegrates" at just the slightest touch? This is exactly what happens with Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), sometimes also known by the name 'butterfly disease'. This skin disease is based on genetic defects and, because there is no cure, it can be fatal, often even in young patients.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.12.2021
Learning and protecting itself: how the brain adapts
Learning and protecting itself: how the brain adapts
Göttingen researchers investigate the effect of certain enzymes in the healthy and diseased brain The brain is a remarkably complex and adaptable organ. However, adaptability decreases with age: as new connections between nerve cells in the brain form less easily, the brain's plasticity decreases. If there is an injury to the central nervous system such as after a stroke, the brain needs to compensate for this by reorganising itself.

Health - Life Sciences - 09.12.2021
New Research Project in Mathematical Oncology
Researchers aim at decoding tumour development in hereditary colon cancer using mathematical modelling of medical data A new interdisciplinary research project aims to uncover information that can help decode hereditary colon cancer with the aid of mathematical models. Mathematicians and tumour biologists of Heidelberg University, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, Heidelberg University Hospital, and the German Cancer Research Center are collaborating on the project.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.12.2021
Defense or repair: How immune cells are controlled during wound healing
A Cologne-based research team has discovered that the metabolism of mitochondria, the energy suppliers of cells, in macrophages coordinate wound healing to a significant degree. Macrophages belong to the white blood cells and are also known as scavenger cells.Sabine Eming and her collaborators and colleagues at the CECAD Cluster of Excellence for Aging Research at the University of Cologne showed that wound macrophages undergo different metabolic programs during tissue repair, which are required to support the successive phases for skin reconstruction after injury.

Life Sciences - 07.12.2021
How well are alternative feedstuffs received by the end consumer?
Researchers at the University of Göttingen examine the effect of providing information Despite shifts towards vegan and vegetarian diets in Western cultures, demand for animal protein persists. Alternative protein sources are required to nourish the growing world population without compromising on sustainability.

Life Sciences - Physics - 06.12.2021
Researchers examine neurotoxin from a Black Widow
Researchers examine neurotoxin from a Black Widow
Phobias are often irrational by nature - especially in the case of spiders, as these creatures are usually more afraid of humans than vice-versa. But: some species are a force to be reckoned with - for example, the Latrodectus spider, more commonly known as the Black Widow. It catches its prey by using venom - to be precise, latrotoxins (LaTXs), a subclass of neurotoxins, or nerve poisons.

Life Sciences - Health - 02.12.2021
Plant pathogen evades immune system by targeting the microbiome
A team of biologists has identified that the pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae , responsible for wilt disease in many crops, secretes an 'effector' molecule to target the microbiome of plants to promote infection. The research was performed by the team of Alexander von Humboldt Professor Dr Bart Thomma at the University of Cologne (UoC) within the framework of the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS) in collaboration with the team of Dr Michael Seidl at the Theoretical Biology & Bioinformatics group of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Life Sciences - 29.11.2021
Ancient lineage of algae found to include five 'cryptic' species
Ancient lineage of algae found to include five ’cryptic’ species
Research team led by Göttingen University use genomic data to discover five species hidden in rare alga All land plants originated from a single evolutionary event when freshwater algae got a foothold on land, giving rise to an astonishing biodiversity of plants on earth. However, the group of algae that would later give rise to land plants had already been living and evolving in both freshwater and terrestrial habitats for over one billion years.
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