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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Sep 13, 2019

Prof. Dr. Collin Ewald — ETH Zürich — Extracellular Matrix and Healthy Aging — IdeaXme Show — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, biological, biotech/medical, cryonics, DNA, genetics, health, life extension, neuroscience, science

Sep 12, 2019

An important quantum algorithm may actually be a property of nature

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, information science, quantum physics

Evidence that quantum searches are an ordinary feature of electron behavior may explain the genetic code, one of the greatest puzzles in biology.

Sep 12, 2019

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, neuroscience

A dietary supplement, sarcosine, may help with schizophrenia as part of a holistic approach complementing antipsychotic medication, according to a UCL researcher.

In an editorial published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Professor David Curtis (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment and QMUL Centre for Psychiatry) suggests the readily available product could easily be incorporated into treatment plans, while calling for clinical trials to clarify the benefit and inform guidelines.

“Sarcosine represents a very logical treatment and the small number of so far do seem to show that it can be helpful. It certainly seems to be safe and some patients report feeling better on it,” he said.

Sep 10, 2019

Chicken study reveals that environmental factors, not just chance, could drive species evolution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

In the version of evolutionary theory most of us are familiar with, randomly occurring variation in traits, caused by mutations in our DNA, can be fixed in a population through natural selection. However, writing in Epigenetics journal, a team of Swedish researchers from Linköping University suggests that mutations that can be caused by environmental changes, not just random chance, might be responsible for species diversity.

Until quite recently, it was assumed that DNA causing new gene variations occurred more or less randomly. While random mutations do occur, recent research has shown that can be altered by environmental influences too. According to a study published in Epigenetics journal, a particular type of mutation, linked to , has, over time, led to new animal breeds—and could be responsible for whole new species.

Sep 9, 2019

Warning to tourists as toxic slime that can ‘kill you in seconds’ swamps French beaches

Posted by in category: biological

FRANCE’S tourist beaches are being overrun with toxic slime which experts say can kill sunbathers and swimmers within seconds.

The green algae releases poisonous gases when trodden on causing those nearby to faint and suffer cardiac arrest, say reports.

At least three people and dozens of animals have already died, but some fear other deaths may have been mistakenly passed off as drownings.

Sep 8, 2019

The skull of humanity’s oldest known ancestor is changing our understanding of evolution

Posted by in category: evolution

The recent discovery of a 3.8m-year-old cranium (skull without the lower jaw) is the hottest topic of conversation among palaeoanthropologists right now. But fossils are found all the time, so why is the cranium of this small, old man so important? It turns out the discovery is changing our view of how early hominin species evolved – and how they led to humans. To understand how, let’s start at the beginning.

In 1995, researchers found several partial jaws, isolated teeth and limb bones in Kenya, dated between 4.2m and 3.9m years old, and assigned them to a brand new species: Australopithecus anamensis. All these fossils were found in sediments associated with an ancient lake – “anam”, which means lake in the local language. A number of additional specimens were then found in Ethiopia, thought to belong to the same species.

The primitive features of A. anamensis have led to the widespread view that this species is the ancestor of Australopithecus afarensis, a younger hominin from Tanzania, Ethiopia and perhaps Kenya, dated between 3.8m and 3m years old. The most iconic fossil of A. afarensis is probably the partial skeleton known as Lucy, which was for a long time viewed as the oldest known human ancestor.

Sep 7, 2019

Strange life-forms found deep in a mine point to vast ‘underground Galapagos’

Posted by in category: biological

Something odd is stirring in the depths of Canada’s Kidd Mine. The zinc and copper mine, 350 miles northwest of Toronto, is the deepest spot ever explored on land and the reservoir of the oldest known water. And yet 7,900 feet below the surface, in perpetual darkness and in waters that have remained undisturbed for up to two billion years, the mine is teeming with life.

Many scientists had doubted that anything could live under such extreme conditions. But in July, a team led by University of Toronto geologist Barbara Sherwood Lollar reported that the mine’s dark, deep water harbors a population of remarkable microbes.

The single-celled organisms don’t need oxygen because they breathe sulfur compounds. Nor do they need sunlight. Instead, they live off chemicals in the surrounding rock — in particular, the glittery mineral pyrite, commonly known as fool’s gold.

Sep 6, 2019

Biological age of humans reversed by years in groundbreaking study, scientists suggest

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

Small study is ‘not rock solid’ but could have huge consequences for ageing, experts say.

Sep 3, 2019

Undercover evolution: Our individuality is encrypted in our DNA, but it is deeper than expected

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, encryption, evolution, genetics

Providing a glimpse the hidden workings of evolution, a group of researchers at UC Santa Barbara have discovered that embryos that appear the same can start out with surprisingly different instructions.

“We found that a lot of undercover evolution occurs in ,” said Joel Rothman, a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, who led the team.

Indeed, although members of the same species are identical across the vast majority of their genomes, including all the genetic instructions used in development, Rothman and his colleagues found that key parts of the assembly instructions used when embryos first start developing can differ dramatically between individuals of the same species.

Sep 2, 2019

Quantum Darwinism spotted in diamond spins

Posted by in categories: evolution, quantum physics

A handful of spins in diamond have shone new light on one of the most enduring mysteries in physics – how the objective reality of classical physics emerges from the murky, probabilistic quantum world. Physicists in Germany and the US have used nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centres in diamond to demonstrate “quantum Darwinism”, whereby the “fittest” states of a system survive and proliferate in the transition between the quantum and classical worlds.

In the past, physicists tended to view the classical and quantum worlds as being divided by an abrupt barrier that makes a fundamental distinction between the familiar macroscopic (classical) and the unfamiliar microscopic (quantum) realms. But in recent decades that view has changed. Many experts now think that the transition is gradual, and that the definite classical states we measure come from probabilistic quantum states progressively (although very quickly) losing their coherence as they become ever more entangled with their environment.

Quantum Darwinism, put forward by Wojciech Zurek of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, argues that the classical states we perceive are robust quantum states that can survive entanglement during decoherence. His theoretical framework posits that the information about these states will be duplicated many times and disseminated throughout the environment. Just as natural selection tells us that the fittest individuals in a species must survive to reproduce in great numbers and so go on to shape evolution, the fittest quantum states will be copied and appear classical. This redundancy means that many individual observers will measure any given state as having the same value, so ensuring objective reality.

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