Utah’s iconic Rainbow Bridge hums with natural and human-made vibrations, according to a new study. The study characterizes the different ways the bridge vibrates and what frequencies and energy sources cause the rock structure to resonate. The vibrations are small, according to a geology and geophysics professor, but the study provides a baseline measure of the bridge’s structural integrity and shows how human activities can rattle solid rock.
People with more than eight dental fillings may have 150% more mercury in their blood, increasing the risk of brain, heart and kidney damage, a new study has found. Dental surface restorations or,known as dental fillings, is composed of an amalgamation of mercury, silver, tin and other metals. The research by a team from University of Georgia analysed data from 15,000 individuals and is the first to demonstrate a relationship between dental fillings and mercury exposure. “Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases. But the kind of materials the dentist uses is not something that is really discussed,” said Lei Yin, a scientist at University of Georgia. Researchers further analysed exposure by specific types of mercury and found a significant increase in methyl mercury, which is the most toxic form, related to dental fillings. Xiaozhong Yu, an assistant professor, said this result suggests the human gut microbs, microorganisms living in the intestines, may transform different types of mercury. People with dental fillings who are also exposed to mercury from other sources, such as seafood, are most at risk. The study also looked at dental composite resins, a mercury- free alternative for fillings that can release bisphenol A which may cause reproductive damage.
The world’s first baby has been born using a new “three person” fertility technique, New Scientist reveals. The five-month-old boy has the usual DNA from his mum and dad, plus a tiny bit of genetic code from a donor. According to critics, the procedure, carried out in Mexico, is tantamount to genetic modification of humans or even “playing God”. But supporters say it allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children who are related
to them. The New Scientist magazine said the baby is now five months told. His parents
are Jordanians and the work was carried out by a team of experts from the US. The child’s mother has Leigh syndrome, a disorder that affects the nervous system and would have been passed on in her mitochondrial DNA. Although she is healthy, two of her children — a six-year-old girl and an eight-month-old baby —have died as a result of inheriting the disease. There are different ways of creating three-parent baby. The technique used by Dr John Zhang, of the New Hope Fertility Clinic in New York, involves taking the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs
— containing her DNA — and implanting it into a donor egg that had its nucleus removed
but retaining the donor’s healthy mitochondrial DNA. Unlike ordinary DNA, mitochondrial
DNA provides power for the cell. Many scientists insist the term ‘three-parent baby’ is inaccurate as the significant DNA is still from two people. Zhang said as the technique
has not been approved in the US, the team went to Mexico. “To save lives is the ethical
thing to do,” he said. In 2003, Zhang and his team revealed they had used a different
technique to create three-parent babies, sparking international outrage. The UK parliament
voted to allow creation of “three-parent babies” in principle but regulators must still decide whether the technique is safe. Professor Bert Smeets, director of the Genome Centre at Maastricht University, said, “At last, the first child of a mother with a mtDNA mutation
is born after mitochondrial donation. The safety of the method had already been demonstrated by the Newcastle group in the UK and introduction into the clinic would only be a matter of time –
obviously, dependent on national regulation or the absence of it.” However, Dr Dusko Ilic of
King’s College London expressed caution. “By performing the treatment in Mexico, the team were not subject to stringent regulation. We have no way of knowing how skilfull or prepared they were, and may have been a risky thing to do.”
Carbon fixation is one of three biochemical processes, along with C3 and CAM photosynthesis, that fixes carbon. It is named for the 4-carbon molecule of the first product of carbon fixation found in the small subset of plants that use the C4 process. This process is in contrast to the 3-carbon molecule products of C3 plants.
C4 fixation is an elaboration of the more common C3 carbon fixation and is believed to have evolved more recently. C4 and CAM overcome the tendency of the enzyme RuBisCO to wastefully fix oxygen rather than carbon dioxide in the process of photorespiration. This is achieved in a more efficient environment for RubisCo by shuttling CO2 via malate or aspartate from mesophyll cells to bundle-sheath cells. In these bundle-sheath cells, RuBisCO is isolated from atmospheric oxygen and saturated with the CO2 released by decarboxylation of the malate. C4 plants use PEP carboxylase to capture more CO2 in the mesophyll cells. PEP Carboxylase (3 carbons) binds to CO2 to make oxaloacetic acid (OAA). The OAA then makes malate (4 carbons). Malate enters bundle sheath cells and releases the CO2 where RuBisCO works more efficiently. These additional steps, however, require more energy in the form of ATP. Because of this extra energy requirement, C4 plants are able to more efficiently fix carbon in drought, high temperatures, and limitations of nitrogen or CO2, while the more common C3 pathway is more efficient in the other conditions.
Sendai virus (SeV), previously also known as murine parainfluenza virus type 1 or hemagglutinating virus of Japan (HVJ) is a negative sense, single-stranded RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae. SeV is a member of genus Respirovirus, members of which primarily infect mammals.
SeV induces lesions within the respiratory tract, usually associated with bacterial inflammation of the trachea and lung (tracheitis and bronchopneumonia, respectively). However, the lesions are limited. Detection of SeV-specific antigens in several serological methods, including ELISA,immunofluorescence, and hemagglutination assays, with particular emphasis on use of the ELISA for its high sensitivity and its fairly early detection.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most widespread forms of dementia among the elderly. The disease affects the regions of brain, responsible for memory, thinking and speech. The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is loss of short-term memory or difficulty in remembering recent events.
In the brain, neurons or nerve cells connect and communicate at a synapse, a junction between two nerve cells, where tiny bursts of chemicals called neurotransmitters carry information from one cell to another. Alzheimer’s disrupts this process, and eventually destroys synapses and kills neurons, damaging the brain’s communication network. Scientists don’t yet fully understand the cause of Alzheimer’s but it is likely that the causes include some mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Sociogenomics, a subdiscipline of genomics, is an integrative approach to behavioral biology that compares genomic data to behavioral phenotype. Of particular interest are differential gene expression of mRNA (transcriptomics) and protein transcription (proteomics) that correspond to changes in behavior. Data of this sort is especially useful when comparing the genomic qualities of organisms with varying degrees of social organization.
While sociogenomics integrates more fields of study and is more encompassing than classical genetics, the methodology is still considered forward genetics. The goal is to determine genes or sets of genes and their artifacts that contribute to the expression of a phenotype.
Vaccination can protect people from polio. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It is spread mainly by person-to-person contact. It can also be spread by consuming food or drinks that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person.
Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, and many recover without complications. But sometimes people who get polio develop paralysis (cannot move their arms or legs). Polio can result in permanent disability. Polio can also cause death, usually by paralyzing the muscles used for breathing.
Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people every year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. There is no cure for polio infection, but it can be prevented by vaccination.
Polio has been eliminated from the United States. But it still occurs in other parts of the world. It would only take one person infected with polio coming from another country to bring the disease back here if we were not protected by vaccination. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won’t need polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated.
Neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s are conditions characterized by the progressive loss of structure and function of neurons that eventually lead to the neuron’s death. These conditions involve complex processes and mechanisms that render the identification of causes very challenging. Little is known about the underlying genetic mechanisms despite recent advances in science and technology.
Zika virus causes a serious birth defect called microcephaly — an underdeveloped brain and small head — and is linked other neurological disorders in adults. Roughly 4 in 5 infected people are asymptomatic, but its most common symptoms are mild and include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.
The virus is primarily spread through mosquito bites and can also be transmitted through sex and blood transfusions.
A public health emergency of international concern was declared by the World Health Organization on Feb. 1 as the virus spread through Latin America and the Caribbean. Women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant are advised to not travel to Zika-affected areas
The CDC has confirmed Zika virus causes microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or at delivery. The agency advises women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to not travel to Zika-affected areas.
If a pregnant woman’s male partner has been to such an area, the couple should abstain from sex or use condoms during the pregnancy. Currently, the CDC does not believe there is risk for the future pregnancies of a woman who has Zika once the virus clears from her blood.