Archives for the month of: April, 2013

Researchers have sequenced the coelacanth genome. This deep-sea fish has changed little physically in the last 300 million years, and the genome analysis shows few changes in its protein-coding genes.

The research could tell us more about how animals evolved from fish. Read more in the paper in Nature.

Chinese researchers believe they have created the lightest material ever made – even lighter than the one made last year by German chemists. It’s so light that a grass can bear it without bending. It can absorb 900 times its own weight and could help with cleaning up oil spills.

carbon aerogel

Researchers have added tiny jelly sponges to chocolate, to make something that tastes and feels just the same with half the fat. The science is that the tiny balls of agar agar have to be smaller than 30 millionths of a metre across (about half the width of a human hair) to stay suspended in the chocolate when it is heated and cooled.

The DNA in our cells, carrying our genetic code, is usually in a double helix. However, researchers have found quadruple strands of DNA in cells. These might be linked to certain types of cancer. Read the paper in Nature Chemistry.

By comparing brain activity during dreams and when people are awake, researchers have created computer programs that can ‘see’ what you are dreaming. Next step – manipulating dreams? Read the original report in Science.

Have you got tadpoles in your pond yet? If they lose their tails they can regrow a new one within weeks (but don’t try this at home…)

tadpoles

Credit: Manchester University

This seems to be through raised levels of reactive oxygen species, which are usually thought to be harmful, and suggests that antioxidants may not always be helpful to health. The research could be important in understanding how healing happens, and help the development of regenerative medicine. Read the research in Nature Cell Biology.

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