CRISPR Cat: Genetically Engineering a Hypoallergenic CatAre you a cat lover that cannot fully enjoy a feline’s presence due to allergic reactions? Well, it seems that there’s hope for cat lovers like you in the future thanks to gene editing.You might have to wait for a few years, but there is progress on creating a hypoallergenic cat. Scientists from US-based company InBio are attempting to create hypoallergenic cats through CRISPR gene editing. The experts are trying to lower the levels of Fel d 1, a protein that causes allergic reactions in humans, in these genetically edited cats.Hopefully, we get to have hypoallergenic cats in the future!Image credit: Yerlin Matu#cats #genetics #geneediting #science #hypoallergenic #CRISPR 
Scientists Translated Spider's Web Into MusicThese scientists never run out of new ideas, huh!Spider's Canvas is an interactive musical instrument that was derived from the three-dimensional structure of a spider’s web and translated into music. This project was a result of a collaboration between scientists and artist Tomás Saraceno. The researchers behind the instrument now refined and built a new interactive virtual reality feature that allows people to interact with the web. "The spider lives in an environment of vibrating strings," engineer Markus Buehler of MIT explained in 2021. "They don't see very well, so they sense their world through vibrations, which have different frequencies."Image credit: Torbjørn Helgesen#music #spider #science #research #SpidersCanvas
Do Mushrooms Communicate with Each Other with Electrical Impulses as "Words"?The short answer is: sort of. The rest of the scientific community still wants more studies to be conducted, though.Experts have noticed that fungi tend to send electric signals to one another. A mathematical analysis of these signals shows a pattern that is somehow similar to human speech. Scientists hypothesized that there is a possibility that fungi use this electrical “language” to share information about food or injury with distant parts of themselves, or with hyphae-connected partners such as trees.Sure, it's like a messaging system. With the similarities noticed in the electrical signals sent by fungi and human speech, an interesting question was raised: do they actually use human words [or the equivalent of it]?University of the West of England’s Andrew Adamatzky aimed to answer this question by analyzing the signals sent by a species of fungi – enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. “We do not know if there is a direct relationship between spiking patterns in fungi and human speech. Possibly not,” Adamatzky said. “On the other hand, there are many similarities in information processing in living substrates of different classes, families and species. I was just curious to compare.”Image credit: Hans Veth#fungi #mushroom #communication #science #research #electricsignals 
Scientists Can Now Make Tissue Samples and Body Parts TransparentAll it needs is some good tissue cleaning.Experts from Scripps Research developed a new cleaning method that allows large biological samples to turn transparent. As to the importance of having that kind of opacity for samples, it turns out that this would make it easier for scientists to visualize and study biological processes occurring across multiple organ systems. According to the study’s senior author, Li Ye, PhD, the method is a “simple and universal tissue-clearing technique for studies of large body parts or even entire animals.” The new method uses a combination of organic solvents and water-based detergents, which can be used in an ordinary lab. For protecting the molecules within the tissue during the cleaning processes, water-based hydrogels will be used. “In many cases, you can just put the whole thing in a jar and keep it in a shaker on your benchtop until it’s done,” said co-first author Victoria Nudell. “This makes it practical and scalable enough for routine use.”Image credit: Ye et.al #tissue #research #study #biology #science #cleaning #solvents
Oxytocin AKA The Love Hormone Makes Lions Mellow and FriendlyLions have long been known as the "King of the Jungle", because of their strength, power, and fierceness. Researchers working on a wildlife reserve in Dinokeng, South Africa, however, discovered that an intranasal administration of oxytocin, the "love hormone" might make lion encounters less dangerous. Their findings were published in the journal iScience on March 30.The author, Jessica Burkhart, said that by spraying the oxytocin up the lion's nose, it can travel to the trigeminal and olfactory nerves straight to the brain. Burkhart and her colleagues found that the 23 lions administered oxytocin were more tolerant of other lions in their habitat and demonstrated less alertness towards intruders after these treatments. This gives some people look hope that through Science, they might finally be able to pet lions in the future.​Image credit: Jessica Burkhart#Lions #Animals #Wildlife #Oxytocin #Science
Amazing Photos of Cold-Water Invertebrates by Marine Biologist Alexander SemenovThese are absolutely stunning!At first glance, one might think that the images were taken by a drone or a robot during an expedition and then edited or processed for better quality. Nope.It was all the work of marine biologist Alexander Semenov. In an article he wrote for Nature,  he explained how he started taking these awe-inspiring photos. Semenov got obsessed with the beauty of the animals living in the waters of the White Sea in Primosrskiy, Russia. Semenov then decided to start taking photos of them to capture their unique beauty and strangeness. The marine biologist shared that he pulled invertebrates out of the water and took pictures of them in the laboratory without special lighting. After a few experimental setups to further enhance the quality of his images, he was able to find his groove. Semenov now has the compilation of cold-water invertebrates, some of the least-photographed creatures in the world. Check out more of his stunning work below!Image credit: Alexander Semenov#marine #animals #invertebrates #photography #science 
Squid-Skin Inspired Material Can Keep Your Coffee HotOne of the pet peeves of hot coffee drinkers is that having their cup of hot coffee immediately turn cold, especially on a cold winter day.Technology engineers at the University of California, Irvine have invented an adaptive composite material that allows for the insulation of different packaging. One kind of packaging is a beverage cup.  The design is inspired by cephalopod skin and is an infrared-reflecting metalized polymer film that regulates heat by using reconfigurable metal structures. The mechanism is comparable to chromatophore expansion and contraction in a squid's skin. The new material not only helps the coffee drinker maintain the temperature of their coffee, it also keeps keeping skin safe from the heat. The invention is also environmentally friendly because it is sustainable.#Coffee #Science #Technology #Invention #SquidSkin #UniversityOfCalifornia
TickleFoot is a Foot-Tickling Machine That Discovered the Most Ticklish Spot on the Human FootScience and technology allow the innovation of the most useful, and also the oddest gadgets. One such machine is called the “TickleFoot”, and is a foot-tickling machine.With the use of magnet-driven brushes, researchers found the most ticklish locations of the feet of 13 participants. The data that was gathered was used to create an insole with tickling actuators that hit the average highest-scoring spots on their feet. This machine could serve as a stress reliever by inducing uncontrollable laughter. Science has shown that laughter decreases stress hormones and also triggers endorphins. These chemicals are known as "feel-good hormones."Video credit: New Scientist [YouTube]​#TickleFoot #Science #Innovation #Tickle
It Took AI Less Than 6 Hours to Invent 40,000 Potentially Lethal ToxinsThis feels like the start of the real-life adaptation of Resident Evil, to be honest. I hope it doesn’t happen, though!An AI created by scientists at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals Inc. was put into a “bad actor mode” to see how easily it could be abused as a biological weapon. It certainly did its part well, developing and inventing 40,000 potentially lethal molecules in less than six hours. The machine’s original purpose was to search for helpful drugs, following the company’s goal of finding drug treatments for rare diseases. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence.According to Fabio Urbina, a senior scientist at the company and the lead author of the study, they used datasets of molecules that have been tested for their toxicity to train the AI. The AI  learned how to make toxins from the information it collected from those datasets. The researchers saw the model producing molecules similar to chemical warfare agents in just a short period of time. Urbina shared to The Verge that the most concerning thing that they learned from this study was how easy it was for artificial intelligence to create just from the information available. “If you have somebody who knows how to code in Python and has some machine learning capabilities, then in probably a good weekend of work, they could build something like this generative model driven by toxic datasets. So that was the thing that got us really thinking about putting this paper out there; it was such a low barrier of entry for this type of misuse.” Urbina stated. Image credit: Urbina, et.al #toxins #artificialintelligence #ai #science #CollaborationsPharmaceuticals
"Opposites Attract" Debunked by Science: Friends and Lovers Actually Tend to Share Core Beliefs, Values and HobbiesWould you actually spend long periods of time with someone who doesn’t have the same interests, beliefs, or values as you? Let’s ponder a more specific example. Would you willingly spend time or romance someone who has different political and moral values than you? Personally, not really. Most friendships and relationships to some extent rely on people having almost similar or compatible interests and beliefs. With that being said, does that mean that the phrase “opposites attract” still applies? Apparently not. According to science, that is.Clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula believes, “people who have shared interests, temperaments and all that do tend to be more likely to date.” Other researchers have also debunked the idea of “opposites” dating for years. Studies show that friends and romantic partners tend to share core beliefs, values and hobbies. In addition, some suggest that people go for others with similar personalities. Aside from debunking this popular trope in romance, research also points to opposites repelling. In a world where social, political, and cultural awareness is much more evident, it is less likely that people will fall for someone who thinks very differently from them. Image credit: Annette Sousa#romance #research #science
China's First Moon RockChina’s Chang’e-5 spacecraft brought back the country’s first lunar rocks in December 2020. The samples are the first brought back to Earth since NASA’s Apollo and the Soviet Union’s Luna missions more than 40 years ago. With that long period of time, the arrival of these rare specimens motivated many lunar experts in China to conduct research studies on and about the samples. For reference, the Chang’e-5 recovered basalt. Basalt is a loose volcanic material from the vast lava plain in Moon’s northern region. Some of the collected specimens were given by the China National Space Administration to 31 scientific projects that applied for them. This could be the cause of approximately half a dozen papers published in the past six months regarding the lunar rock samples. Most of these studies were presented at the Lunar And Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. The material collected by the spacecraft confirmed that the Moon was still active a billion years later than the samples from the Apollo mission suggested. While an established timeline as to the lunar volcanic activity is known, the reason behind the activity remains a mystery. Image credit: NASA#space #lunarresearch #Moon #China #science #Change5
Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse is a Newly Discovered Fish in the MaldivesOh, this fish is pretty!The Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa) is a newly-discovered fish species off the coast of Maldives. The creature’s pink hues earned it the name  ‘finifenmaa’ which meant ‘rose’ in the local Dhivehi language. In addition, its name was a tribute to the island nation’s national flower. Local Maldinevian scientists were involved in describing and analyzing the new species. “This time it is different and getting to be part of something for the first time has been really exciting, especially having the opportunity to work alongside top ichthyologists on such an elegant and beautiful species,” said study co-author and Maldives Marine Research Institute biologist Ahmed Najeeb.The researchers involved in the study took note of the anatomy and other details of the fish and compared it to a discovered specimen (C. rubrisquamis ) to confirm that C. finifenmaa is indeed a unique species. They have discovered that the two species are unique and are different from each other. However, before the C. finifenmaa was given its scientific name, it had already been exploited through the aquarium hobbyist trade. Image credit, in order of appearance: Yi-Kai Tea; Luiz Rocha © California Academy of Sciences#marinebiology #science #research #Maldives #newspecies
Neuroscientists Identify Neurons in the Brain that Light Up When We Hear Human Singing But Not Other Types of MusicScientists, following the same vein of research in specific areas of the brain that work during different tasks, have successfully identified the part of the human brain that lights up when we hear singing. It is important to note that this area only responds when the combination of voice and music is heard. The area, found in the auditory cortex, does not respond to regular speech or instrumental music.Neuroscientists from MIT followed up a 2015 study that they worked on. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify a population of neurons in the brain’s auditory cortex that responds specifically to music. This new study used a different method to determine brain activity through recordings of electrical activity taken at the surface of the brain to obtain more information. According to Sam Norman-Haignere, the lead author of the study, the recordings gave them a higher resolution where they were able to pick the neurons apart.Image credit: Josh Rocklage#neuroscience #brain #neurons #research #study #science
Dance Your PhDSince she was young, Antonia Gronberg has always been passionate about science and dancing. When she heard about Science's "Dance Your Ph.D." competition, she knew she just had to join. For someone who loves science and dancing, it was a perfect competition.Groneberg's performance, which is based on her doctoral thesis, tells how the motions of groups of zebrafish larvae affected the brain development and behavior of each one of them. The performance video was created with the help of Groneberg's colleagues, dance students, and children of the adult participants.Groneberg's zebrafish dance won the social science category of the competition as well as the overall prize.Here is Groneberg's dance.(Image Credit: DieTonella/ YouTube)#Science #InterpretativeDance #Zebrafish #Neuroscience
DeepMind AI Can Control Superheated Plasma Inside a Nuclear Fusion ReactorUK-based AI firm DeepMind collaborated with the Swiss Plasma Center at EPFL in Switzerland to create an algorithm that would control the plasma inside a nuclear fusion reactor. The program is tasked to hold the plasma, forcing it to hold its shape long enough to extract energy from it. The resulting AI was able to control the reactor without any fine-tuning. While the model controlled the plasma for only two seconds, that short amount of time was longer than how long reactors can run before getting too hot.The breakthrough can help experts understand how nuclear fusion works. Additionally, it can hopefully help in more ways to stabilize the plasma in reactors to harness a potentially unlimited source of clean energy. Image credit: Curdin Wüthrich, SPC/EPFL#nuclearfusion #artificialintelligence #research #science #technology #DeepMindAI
Beneath Its Thick Cover of Clouds, the Rocky Surface of Venus Glows Like a "Piece of Iron Pulled From a Forge"Venus’ rocky surface can clearly be seen in the images captured by NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. Thanks to the probe’s Wide-Field Imager (WISPR), the entire nightside of the planet was captured and combined into a video. The video revealed a faint glow from the surface. Continental regions, plains, and plateaus can also be seen on the planet. According to Nicola Fox, division director for the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters, the images can help experts learn more about the geology of the Earth’s twin. The insight the probe has given through these images has thrilled them. “Parker continues to outperform our expectations, and we are excited that these novel observations taken during our gravity assist maneuver can help advance Venus research in unexpected ways,” Fox added.The images are the first instance that the planet’s surface can be seen at visible wavelengths, as the surface is blocked by a thick atmosphere. The WISPR cameras were able to pick up the wavelengths that got through the clouds of Venus. Image credit: NASA/APL/NRL #space #Venus #science #WISPR #NASA #ParkerSolarProbe
New Species of Rainfrog in Panama Named after Environmental Activist Greta ThunbergIn 2018, in celebration of its 30th anniversary, US-based nonprofit environmental organisation Rainforest Trust hosted an auction offering naming rights to newly discovered species. One of those species was a rainfrog discovered in Panama, Central America, and the auction winner decided to name the frog in honour of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Brain's "Math Neurons" Fire Specifically When You're Doing Math CalculationsA recent study conducted by the Universities of Tübingen and Bonn in Germany showed that the brain has specific neurons that operate when a person performs different mathematical operations. Some neurons were active only during addition, while some were only active during subtraction. The researchers further discovered that these neurons fire on specific operations even if the calculation instruction was written down as a word or a symbol.Five women and four men who participated in the study had electrodes implanted in their brains to record the activity of nerve cells. During analysis of the participants’ brain activity, the researchers found that aside from specific neurons being active during addition or subtraction, other neurons also became active during one and the same arithmetic task. This phenomenon was referred to by researchers as “dynamic coding.” Image credits: Christian Burkert/Volkswagen-Stiftung/University of Bonn #neurology #brain #neurons #science #research
Scientists are One Step Closer to Creating "Universal" Transplant OrgansIn a stunning feat of scientific prowess, researchers have successfully created a prototype of a universal transplant organ. The scientists converted donated lungs into these new organs in a proof of concept experiment. The converted lung was tested in an ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) device, which keeps lungs alive outside the body.Should the tests within the next year and a half be successful with human recipients, the developed universal organs would reduce the number of donated lungs that will be discarded due to a lack of a match. Lungs often don’t match in terms of size and blood type for potential recipients. In addition, the universal organs can cut the current shortage of type O lungs for O patients. This is because patients with type O blood cannot easily accept an organ from other blood types. The waiting time for patients and mortality rate will also be reduced.Image credit: University Health Network#universalorgans #health #science
Another Step Towards Unlimited Energy: Joint European Torus (JET) Reactor Produced 59 Megajoules of Sustained Mini Sun-Like Fusion Reaction for 5 SecondsFor decades, scientists have been trying to create a fusion reactor that can produce more energy than it takes in. If successful, fusion power plants could help solve the impending energy crisis and slow down climate change.The most recent experiment in the Joint European Torus (JET) Reactor has demonstrated a promising future of delivering sustainable low-carbon fusion energy worldwide. The JET is said to have produced a record-breaking 59 megajoules of sustained fusion energy over a five-second period. This previous record set by JET in 1997 was only 22 megajoules of heat energy. The recent achievement is a "huge step closer to conquering" one of the biggest challenges in science and engineering, says UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) CEO Ian Chapman. Meanwhile, EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné says that this experiment shows that they were on the right path. To him, if they were able to do it for five seconds, then they could do it for a much longer period of time.(Video Credit: Culham Centre for Fusion Energy/ UK Atomic Energy Authority)#Energy #Engineering #Science #NuclearFusion #JointEuropeanTorus
The Shortest Scientific Paper Ever PublishedScience papers are usually long and tedious to read, but every now and then, we get brilliantly short scientific papers that are short and straight to the point. Because this is a post about short papers, let's skip the usual intro and get to it, shall we?Take, for example, the paper above titled The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of A Case of "Writer's Block" by clinical psychologist Dennis Upper of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brockton, Massachusetts. It was published in 1974 in Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.The paper was ... blank, but contained the following comment by the reviewer:I have studied this manuscript very carefully with lemon juice and X-rays and have not detected a single flaw in either design or writing style. I suggest it be published without revision. Clearly it is the most concise manuscript I have ever seen-yet it contains sufficient detail to allow other investigators to replicate Dr. Upper's failure. In comparison with the other manuscripts I get from you containing all that complicated detail, this one was a pleasure to examine. Surely we can find a place for this paper in the Journal-perhaps on the edge of a blank page."
Nearly 1,000 Mysterious Filaments Twist Through the Center of the Milky Way GalaxyA new telescopic image from the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory's (SARAO) MeerKAT telescope was processed by astronomers. The resulting photograph was of the complex heart of the Milky Way galaxy. The MeerKat is the most sensitive radio telescope in the world, with 64 antennas spread over a diameter of 5 miles (8 kilometers).Astronomers combined 20 radio recordings that covered an area of the sky and turned them into a 100-megapixel mosaic that depicted the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The resulting image showed new supernova remnants, stellar nurseries, outbursting stars, and Sagittarius A*, the chaotic region around the supermassive black hole that lurks in the Milky Way's core.In addition to sighting different cosmic phenomena, experts have also discovered 1,000 mysterious strands that stretch up to 150 light years long. These mysterious filaments have strong magnetic fields and are found in pairs and clusters. According to astrophysicist Farhad Yusef-Zadeh at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the mosaic has revealed a bigger picture. “Just examining a few filaments makes it difficult to draw any real conclusion about what they are and where they came from. This is a watershed in furthering our understanding of these structures," he said.Image credit: Ian Heywood/SARAO#astrophysics #galaxy #space #science #MeerKat #telescopes #MilkyWay
477-mile Long Lightning Bolt Crossed 3 US States and Set a New World Record for Longest Lightning FlashA lightning bolt that lit up the skies of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas set a new world record for the longest lightning flash in the world. It extended a total of 477.2 miles (768 kilometers). The bolt was a rare instance because lightning usually just lasts under a second and extends over ten miles.Professor Randall Cerveny, World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) rapporteur of weather and climate extremes, said that the almost 500-mile wide lightning bolt was an extraordinary record from lightning flash events. In addition, Cerveny said that more instances of greater extremes, such as this lightning bolt, will exist and be recorded in the future thanks to space-based lightning detection technology.Image credits: Micah Tindell, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration#lightning #science #worldrecord #lightningbolt #meteorology
Egg White without the Chicken: Trichoderma reesei Fungus Genetically Engineered to Produce OvalbuminChicken egg white powder is a resource that is widely used in the food industry due to its high-quality protein. There is a growing demand for the resource and consumption of egg white. The demand is currently 1.6 million tons and is expected to increase further in the coming years. This has raised questions about its sustainability and ethics. Intensive chicken farming has resulted in outbreaks of different zoonotic diseases, and experts are currently seeking ways to avoid the negative results of producing more egg white powder for the growing market. Researchers from the University of Helsinki and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland discovered a potential alternative to the current method of production, the fungus-produced ovalbumin. According to Dr. Emilia Nordlund, from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, ovalbumin(which is half of the egg white powder) can be produced through a microbial production system. “For example, more than half of the egg white powder protein content is ovalbumin. VTT  has succeeded in producing ovalbumin with the help of the filamentous ascomycete fungus Trichoderma reesei. The gene carrying the blueprints for ovalbumin is inserted by modern biotechnological tools into the fungus which then produces and secretes the same protein that chickens produce. The ovalbumin protein is then separated from the cells, concentrated, and dried to create a final functional product,” she said. Image credit: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland#eggwhite #cellularagriculture #science #research #food