News 2019


Life Sciences

Results 1 - 20 of 59.
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Life Sciences - 21.03.2019
Half a billion-year-old fossil reveals the origins of comb jellies
Half a billion-year-old fossil reveals the origins of comb jellies
One of the ocean's little known carnivores has been allocated a new place in the evolutionary tree of life after scientists discovered its unmistakable resemblance with other sea-floor dwelling creatures. Comb jellies occupy a pivotal place in the history of animal evolution with some arguing that they were among the first animals to evolve.

Life Sciences - 19.03.2019
Starving bacteria can eject their tails to save energy and stay alive
When nutrients are dangerously low, a group of bacteria have been found to take the drastic measure of getting rid of their tails. Some bacteria use tails, or flagella, to swim through liquids - including those in our bodies. However, new research published today in PLOS Biology reveals a surprisingly drastic measure taken by some bacteria when facing starvation: they eject their flagella, leaving themselves paralyzed, but conserving energy so they can stay alive.

Life Sciences - 14.03.2019
Research leads to new discoveries about the Mary Rose
A Cardiff University archaeologist has revealed new insights into the origins of the crew on board the Mary Rose, the flagship of Henry VIII's navy. The scientific findings of Dr Richard Madgwick, Lecturer in Archaeological Science, suggest that crew members on the Tudor warship, which sank in 1545, may have come from as far away as southern Europe and perhaps even Africa.

Life Sciences - 13.03.2019
Courting bugs attract mates using an elastic 'snapping organ' for vibrational communication
Courting bugs attract mates using an elastic ’snapping organ’ for vibrational communication
Planthopper bugs may be small, but they attract mates from afar by sending vibrational calls along plant stems and leaves using fast, rhythmic motions of their abdomen. Researchers at the University of Oxford describe how a newly-discovered "snapping organ" enables courting bugs of both sexes to produce this shaking motion through a combination of muscle action and elastic recoil.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.03.2019
New insight into gestational diabetes
Researchers at Cardiff University have found that women taking metformin and/or insulin during gestational diabetes could reduce the risk of long-term complications for their child. The team discovered that the placentas of women treated with the drugs didn't exhibit DNA alterations associated with type 2 diabetes, while those of women not treated with the drugs did.

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 07.03.2019
Advanced chemistry made possible with new suite of start-of-the-art instruments
A new suite of advanced analytical instruments allowing precise chemical measurement has opened in Imperial's Molecular Sciences Research Hub. The Agilent Measurement Suite (AMS) is a collaboration between Agilent Technologies Inc and Imperial College London. Its analytical instruments will help researchers tackle problems in areas ranging from health and environment to energy and fundamental biology.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.03.2019
Deep brain stimulation may significantly improve OCD symptoms
Deep brain stimulation may significantly improve OCD symptoms
The debilitating behaviours and all-consuming thoughts, which affect people with severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), could be significantly improved with targeted deep brain stimulation, according to new research published today. OCD is characterised by unwanted intrusive thoughts and repetitive rituals and causes pronounced impairment in everyday life.

Life Sciences - 07.03.2019
Pesticides found to affect bees' genes
Pesticides found to affect bees’ genes
The activity of dozens of genes are changed in bees exposed to pesticides, providing clues as to how these chemicals affect bee brains in the wild. The finding could provide clues as to why certain pesticides have been linked to bee colony declines. Our work reveals that neurotoxic pesticides not only directly target the cells of the nervous system, but also indirectly affect the normal activity of the exposed organism's genes.

Environment - Life Sciences - 06.03.2019
New tech could help keep better track of Serengeti wildbeest
New methods of counting wildlife could provide conservationists with fast and accurate methods for estimating the abundance of natural populations. In a new paper published in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution , mathematicians and conservationists from the UK, Africa and the United States discuss how they have used both machine-learning and citizen science techniques to accurately count wildebeest in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania more rapidly than is possible using traditional methods.

Environment - Life Sciences - 06.03.2019
Scientists put ichthyosaurs in virtual water tanks
Scientists put ichthyosaurs in virtual water tanks
Using computer simulations and 3D models, palaeontologists from the University of Bristol have uncovered more detail on how Mesozoic sea dragons swam. The research, published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B , sheds new light on their energy demands while swimming, showing that even the first ichthyosaurs had body shapes well adapted to minimise resistance and maximise volume, in a similar way to modern dolphins.

Life Sciences - 06.03.2019
Mighty mites give scrawny beetles the edge over bigger rivals
Smaller beetles who consistently lose fights over resources can gain a competitive advantage over their larger rivals by teaming up with another species.  When the costs of a mutualistic relationship start to outweigh the benefits, it will break down Syuan-Jyun Sun In a study featuring a miniature 'gym' for beetles (complete with beetle treadmills), researchers from the University of Cambridge found that beetles who consistently lose out to members of their own species have the most to gain by forming a mutually-beneficial cross-species partnership.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 05.03.2019
Could genetic breakthrough finally help take the sting out of mouth ulcers?
A large breakthrough has been made in the genetic understanding of mouth ulcers which could provide potential for a new drug to prevent or heal the painful lesions. Mouth ulcers affect up to 25 per cent of young adults and a higher proportion of children. Previous research has shown that mouth ulcers are partially heritable, but until now there has been little evidence linking specific genes or genomic regions to mouth ulcers.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.03.2019
Harnessing beneficial bacteria for a sustainable future
Repurposing a strain of beneficial bacteria could offer a safe, sustainable and natural alternative to man-made chemical pesticides, according to research from Cardiff University, in collaboration with the Universities of Warwick and Liverpool, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Finding natural approaches to sustain agriculture and food production is a major global challenge.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 04.03.2019
Protocells use DNA logic to communicate and compute
Protocells use DNA logic to communicate and compute
Researchers at the University of Bristol, Eindhoven University of Technology and Microsoft Research have successfully assembled communities of artificial cells that can chemically communicate and perform molecular computations using entrapped DNA logic gates. The work provides a step towards chemical cognition in synthetic protocells and could be useful in biosensing and therapeutics.

Life Sciences - Health - 04.03.2019
Young people at risk of addiction show differences in key brain region
Young people at risk of addiction show differences in key brain region
Young adults at risk of developing problems with addiction show key differences in an important region of the brain, according to an international team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge. The study adds further evidence to support the idea that an individual's biological makeup plays a significant role in whether or not they develop an addictive disorder.

Life Sciences - Environment - 01.03.2019
Two genomes can be better than one for evolutionary adaptation
Scientists have revealed how certain wild plants with naturally doubled ‘supergenomes' can stay ahead of the game when it comes to adapting to climate volatility and hostile environments. This world-first study could have significant implications for plant and crop sustainability in the face of climate change.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.02.2019
New insights into underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease
An international team of researchers has identified some striking new insights into the underlying causes of Alzheimer's disease, including five new genes that increase risk for the disease. The International Genomic Alzheimer's Project (IGAP), which is a collaboration of four consortia, including the Genetic and Environmental Risk for Alzheimer's Disease (GERAD) consortia led by Cardiff University, analysed data from more than 94,000 individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

Life Sciences - Health - 27.02.2019
Pioneering trial offers hope for restoring brain cells damaged in Parkinson’s
Results from a pioneering clinical trials programme that delivered an experimental treatment directly to the brain offer hope that it may be possible to restore the cells damaged in Parkinson's.

Life Sciences - Pharmacology - 26.02.2019
Improved outlook for people of African descent with treatment-resistant schizophrenia
A study led by researchers at Cardiff University means that more people of African descent who have treatment-resistant schizophrenia could be safely given the drug best proven to manage their symptoms. The team identified a genetic and benign cause in people of African descent for lower neutrophil levels: a condition that can also be a rare and potentially life-threatening side-effect of the only licensed medication for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.

Life Sciences - Environment - 26.02.2019
Discovery of a new pathway that may help develop more resilient crop varieties
Researchers from the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, have discovered a new biochemical pathway in plants which they have named CHLORAD. By manipulating the CHLORAD pathway, scientists can modify how plants respond to their environment. For example, the plant's ability to tolerate stresses such as high salinity can be improved.
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