It’s not Rat Island anymore
Once teeming with the rodents, birds have returned to the island that has been renamed Hawadax Island.
Science enthusiasm in kids and teenagers, more two stories of year 2012 | Picture edited via Sci-Tech
Clara Lazen is the discoverer of tetranitratoxycarbon, a molecule constructed of, obviously, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. It’s got some interesting possible properties, ranging from use as an explosive to energy storage. Lazen is listed as the co-author of a recent paper on the molecule. But that’s not what’s so interesting and inspiring about this story. What’s so unusual here is that Clara Lazen is a ten-year-old fifth-grader in Kansas City, MO.
Kenneth Boehr, Clara’s science teacher, handed out the usual ball-and-stick models used to visualize simple molecules to his fifth-grade class. But Clara put the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms together in a particular complex way and asked Boehr if she’d made a real molecule. Boehr, to his surprise, wasn’t sure. So he photographed the model and sent it over to a chemist friend at Humboldt State University who identified it as a wholly new but also wholly viable chemical.Sixteen-year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad has found that an inexpensive catalyst could be used to create $78 million worth of biofuel each year. Egypt’s plastic consumption is estimated to total one million tons per year, so Azza’s proposal could transform the country’s economy, allowing it to make money from recycled plastic.What Azza proposes is to break down the plastic polymers found in drinks bottles and general waste and turn them into biofuel feedstock. (This is the bulk raw material that generally used for producing biofuel.) It should be noted that this is not a particularly new idea, but what makes Azza stand out from the crowd is the catalyst that she is proposing. She says that she has found a high-yield catalyst called aluminosilicate, that will break down plastic waste and also produce gaseous products like methane, propane and ethane, which can then be converted into ethanol.
Speaking about the breakthrough, Azza said that the technology could “provide an economically efficient method for production of hydrocarbon fuel” including 40,000 tons per year of cracked naptha and 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gasses – the equivalent of $78 million in biofuel.
Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.” The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.
The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.
How to create hybrid flowers:
If you plant two different specimen of the same species next to each other, on the next morning, there is a chance they will hybridize and create a new flower in one of the spaces next to either of the parents. For example, red tulips and white tulips can produce pink tulips.
- The parent flowers should be adjacent, either right next to each other or diagonally.
- There needs to be at least one space open next to each parent. Do not completely surround either parent with anything, including items, patterns, dig spots, or other flowers.
Michael Feig, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University, studies the proteins MutS and MSH2-MSH6, which recognize defective DNA and initiate DNA repair. Natural DNA repair occurs when proteins like MutS (the primary protein responsible for recognizing a variety of DNA mismatches) scan the DNA, identify a defect, and recruit other enzymes to carry out the actual repair.
Feig applied large-scale computer simulations (atom by atom level) to gain a detailed understanding of the cellular recognition process at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).
Feig and his research team found that the identification and initiation of repair depended on how the MutS protein bound with the base mismatches.
We believe that DNA bending facilitates the initial recognition of the mismatched base for repair, Feig said. Normal DNA is like a stiff piece of rubber, relatively straight. It becomes possible to bend the DNA in places where there are defects.
via Kurzwei AI (link)
For Some Mice, Poop Is A Diet Food
Even if two human twins are genetically identical, they can differ considerably in traits like weight thanks to environment and lifestyle. Research is pointing to gut microbes, the diverse ecosystem of bacteria in our intestines that affects everything from our immune system to digestion, as one of the key regulators of obesity in mammals.
In a recent experiment, scientists took gut microbes from identical human twins (one thin, one obese) and seeded them into the guts of mice. Given equal diets, the thin microbiome produced a thin mouse, and the mouse with the obese microbiome packed on the pounds.
When those thin and obese microbiome mice were housed together before one could put on weight, the thin mouse was able to “donate” its leaner bugs to the other, preventing the weight gain! How? By the “pre-obese” mouse eating the thin mouse’s feces and adopting its “thin” microbiome. Yep, eating poop.
When the obese microbiome mice were fed a high-fat human diet, the thin mouse fecal transplant didn’t happen. It looks like even with the right bugs present, you have to feed them good stuff to get the protective effect.
It sounds like our inner ecosystem might be a key player in weight control and diet in humans. Whatever this leads to, I hope it doesn’t result in a new diet fad of poop transplants to fight obesity.
More at Nature News.
Drosera (Sundew) carnivorous plants!
Because we haven’t had enough jewel-like beauties like these on the feed lately.
Awww, Drosera are the best.
Mechanism of DNA Replication
During DNA replication, both strands of the double helix act as templates for the formation of new DNA molecules. Copying occurs at a localized region called the replication fork, which is a Y-shaped structure where new DNA strands are synthesized by a multi-enzyme complex. Here the DNA to be copied enters the complex from the left. One new strand is leaving at the top of frame and the other new strand is leaving at bottom. The first step in DNA replication is the separation of the two strands by an enzyme called helicase. This spins the incoming DNA to unravel it: at 10,000 RPM in the case of bacterial systems. The separated strands are called three prime (3’) and five prime (5’), distinguished by the direction in which their component nucleotides join up. The 3’ DNA strand, also known as the leading strand, is diverted to a DNA polymerase and is used as a continuous template for the synthesis of the first daughter DNA helix. The other half of the DNA double helix, known as the lagging strand, has the opposite 3’ to 5’ orientation and consequently requires a more complicated copying mechanism. As it emerges from the helicase, the lagging strand is organized into sections called Okazaki fragments. These are then presented to a second DNA polymerase enzyme in the preferred 5’ to 3’ orientation. These sections are then effectively synthesized backwards. When the copying is complete, the finished section is released and the next loop is drawn back for replication. Intricate as this mechanism appears, numerous components have been deliberately left out to avoid complete confusion. The exposed strands of single DNA are covered by protective binding proteins. And in some systems, multiple Okazaki fragments may be present. The molecular reality is very different from the iconic image of the double helix neatly separating into two DNA copies as so often depicted.
Animation courtesy of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, USA.
Molecular Fluorescence Imaging
Simple, safe and inexpensive, fluorescence-based medical imaging has been rapidly advancing for the past decade, helping doctors and researchers identify, study and treat living tissue on a molecular level. Current medical imaging technology like x-rays, MRI and ultrasound are able to detect abnormal tissue, such as tumours, but they provide little insight. Flueorescence molecular tomography (FMT) is quickly rising as an alternative. According to Davis and Pogue, the technology “uses fluorescent probes to image the distribution of molecules associated with diseased tissue”. Imaging involves injecting a fluorescent substance that binds to cancer-specific protein receptors, and when exposed to a certain wavelength of light, the substance responds by emitting another wavelength, causing tumour cells and nerve endings to glow. Measurements are taken and used to calculate molecular distribution, allowing researchers and doctors to not only detect and monitor tumours, but also quantify them accurately and non-invasively—resulting in complete extraction. However, FMT produces blurry images and so it is often coupled with MRI technology, which can be used to define the tissue and guide the FMT image. FMT is currently being tested on cancerous tumours in mice. Few fluorescent probes have been approved for humans use yet, but it’s an exciting, constantly-expanding area of research.