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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Jul 1, 2020

Researchers uncover effects of negative stereotype exposure on the brain

Posted by in categories: biological, education, law, neuroscience

The recent killings of unarmed individuals such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade have sparked a national conversation about the treatment of Black people—and other minorities—in the United States.

“What we’re seeing today is a close examination of the hardships and indignities that people have faced for a very long time because of their race and ethnicity,” said Kyle Ratner, an assistant professor of psychological and at UC Santa Barbara. As a , he is interested in how social and give rise to intergroup bias and feelings of stigmatization.

According to Ratner, “It is clear that people who belong to historically marginalized groups in the United States contend with burdensome stressors on top of the everyday stressors that members of non-disadvantaged groups experience. For instance, there is the trauma of overt racism, stigmatizing portrayals in the media and popular culture, and systemic discrimination that leads to disadvantages in many domains of life, from employment and education to healthcare and housing to the legal system.”

Jun 29, 2020

Circular RNA found to make fruit flies live longer

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, life extension, neuroscience

Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is part of our genetic code and present in every cell of our body. The best known form of RNA is a single linear strand, of which the function is well known and characterized. But there is also another type of RNA, so-called “circular RNA,” or circRNA, which forms a continuous loop that makes it more stable and less vulnerable to degradation. CircRNAs accumulate in the brain with age. Still, the biological functions of most circRNAs are not known and are a riddle for the scientific community. Now scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging have come one step closer to answer the question what these mysterious circRNAs do: one of them contributes to the aging process in fruit flies.

Carina Weigelt and other researchers in the group led by Linda Partridge, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, used to investigate the role of the circRNAs in the aging process. “This is unique, because it is not very well understood what circRNAs do, especially not in an aging perspective. Nobody has looked at circRNAs in a longevity context before,” says Carina Weigelt who conducted the main part of the study. She continues: “Now we have identified a circRNA that can extend lifespan of fruit flies when we increase it, and it is regulated by signaling.”

Jun 27, 2020

Smart farms of the future: Making bioenergy crops more environmentally friendly

Posted by in categories: biological, economics, food, robotics/AI, sustainability

Farmers have enough worries—between bad weather, rising costs, and shifting market demands—without having to stress about the carbon footprint of their operations. But now a new set of projects by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), including scientists at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), could make agriculture both more sustainable and more profitable.

The three projects, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), leverage Berkeley Lab’s strengths in artificial intelligence, sensors, and ecological biology. They aim to quantify and reduce the carbon intensity of agriculture, including the farming of biofuel feedstocks such as corn, soy, and sorghum, while also increasing yield.

Crop-based biofuels have the potential to supply up to about 5% of U.S. energy demand, according to the DOE. Two of the new projects are part of the SMARTFARM program of DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). This initiative aspires to make the biofuel supply chain carbon negative—meaning it removes or sequesters more carbon than it emits—which would greatly improve biofuel’s benefits to the broader economy and environment. Scientists also hope that the increased productivity will have the effect of lowering costs and increasing farmers’ income.

Jun 24, 2020

An analysis of the system-wide costs and benefits of using engineered nanomaterials on crop-based agriculture

Posted by in categories: biological, food, nanotechnology

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has conducted an analysis of the system-wide costs and benefits of using engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) on crop-based agriculture. In their paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the group describes their analysis and what they found.

As scientists have come to realize that vast improvements in agricultural practices are needed if future generations are going to be able to grow enough food to feed the expected rise in population. They have increasingly turned to technology-based solutions, rather than just looking for biological advances. One such approach involves the design and use of ENMs on crops as a means of improving pest control and fertilizer efficiency. Prior research has shown that some ENMs can be mixed into the soil as a form of pest control or as a means of diverting fertilizer directly to the roots, reducing the amount required. In a similar vein, some prior research has shown that ENMs can be applied to parts of the plant above-ground as a means of pest control. What has been less well studied, the researchers note, is the overall impact of ENMs on crops and the environment.

Jun 24, 2020

Can synthetic biology help deliver an AI brain as smart as the real thing?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, robotics/AI

To create artificial general intelligence, we need to study the brain.

Jun 18, 2020

Simple gene technique changes sex of a mouse

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, sex

:oooooo.


The battle of the sexes is a never-ending war waged within ourselves as male and female elements of our own bodies continually fight each other for supremacy. This is the astonishing implication of a pioneering study showing that it is possible to flick a genetic switch that turns female ovary cells into male testicular tissue.

For decades, the battle of the sexes has been accepted by biologists as a real phenomenon with males and females competing against each other — when their interests do not coincide — for the continued survival of their genes in the next generation. Now scientists have been able to show that a gender war is constantly raging between the genes and cells of one individual.

One of the great dogmas of biology is that gender is fixed from birth, determined by the inheritance of certain genes on the X and Y sex chromosomes. But this simplistic idea has been exploded by the latest study, which demonstrated that fully-developed adult females can undergo a partial sex change following a genetic modification to a single gene.

Continue reading “Simple gene technique changes sex of a mouse” »

Jun 15, 2020

Cutting-edge research shows that making art benefits the brain

Posted by in categories: biological, health, media & arts, neuroscience

In other words, practicing the arts can be used to build capacity for managing one’s mental and emotional well-being.

Neuroesthetics — With recent advances in biological, cognitive, and neurological science, there are new forms of evidence on the arts and the brain. For example, researchers have used biofeedback to study the effects of visual art on neural circuits and neuroendocrine markers to find biological evidence that visual art promotes health, wellness, and fosters adaptive responses to stress.

Jun 13, 2020

Chris Guest — Quantum Logic & the Rise of the Memes

Posted by in categories: biological, quantum physics

Fascinating talk on a fun topic.


How does quantum logic differ from classical logic? How do we live in a universe that accommodates both?
Is it possible to observe quantum logic at work in our macroscopic world?
Surprisingly a little bit of quantum logic can disentangle some of our clumsy everyday conceptualisations of biology, language and culture.

Continue reading “Chris Guest — Quantum Logic & the Rise of the Memes” »

Jun 10, 2020

What Is The Relation Between Artificial And Biological Neuron?

Posted by in categories: biological, robotics/AI

We have heard of the latest advancements in the field of deep learning due to the usage of different neural networks. Most of these achievements are simply astonishing and I find myself amazed after reading every new article on the advancements in this field almost every week. At the most basic level, all such neural networks are made up of artificial neurons that try to mimic the working of biological neurons. I had a curiosity about understanding how these artificial neurons compare to the structure of biological neurons in our brains and if possibly this could lead to a way to improve neural networks further. So if you are curious about this topic too, then let’s embark on a short 5-minute journey to understand this topic in detail…

Jun 8, 2020

Researchers develop 3D-printable material that mimics biological tissues

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biological

Biological tissues have evolved over millennia to be perfectly optimized for their specific functions. Take cartilage as an example. It’s a compliant, elastic tissue that’s soft enough to cushion joints, but strong enough to resist compression and withstand the substantial load bearing of our bodies: key for running, jumping, and our daily wear and tear.

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