UCLA researchers have discovered that some scar-forming cells in the heart, known as fibroblasts, have the ability to become endothelial cells — the cells that form blood vessels. The finding could point the way toward a new strategy for treating people who have suffered a heart attack, because increasing the number of blood vessels in the heart boosts its ability to heal after injury. (more…)
Tag Archives: discovery
A tiny bat found in the Netherlands is believed to provide the first direct evidence that British bats migrate over the sea between the UK and mainland Europe.
The bat, a Nathusius’ pipistrelle, flew from Blagdon near Bristol across the country and over the North Sea before settling in a farm building near the coast in Friesland – a direct journey of 596 kilometres (370 miles).
Bat experts in both countries are working together to learn more about this remarkable journey and its implications for bat conservation and offshore windfarms. (more…)
Researchers have discovered well-preserved pelves and a partial pelvic fin from Tiktaalik roseae, a 375 million-year-old transitional species between fish and the first legged animals, which reveal that the evolution of hind legs actually began as enhanced hind fins. This challenges existing theory that large, mobile hind appendages were developed only after vertebrates transitioned to land.
The scientists describe the fossils in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online on Jan. 13. The piece marks the inaugural article for Prof. Neil Shubin, Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. (more…)
Researchers had known for several decades that a certain chemical modification exists on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), which is essential to the flow of genetic information. But only recently did experiments at the University of Chicago show that one major function of this modification governs the longevity and decay of RNA, a process critical to the development of healthy cells.
The chemical modification on mRNA in question is called N6-methyladenosine (m6A). A recent study by UChicago scientists reveals how the m6A modification on mRNA could affect the half-life of mRNA that in turn regulates cellular protein quantities. That discovery could provide fundamental insights into healthy functioning and disorders such as obesity, diabetes and infertility. (more…)
PASADENA, Calif. – NASA’s Kepler mission Monday announced the discovery of 461 new planet candidates. Four of the potential new planets are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s “habitable zone,” the region in the planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet.
Based on observations conducted from May 2009 to March 2011, the findings show a steady increase in the number of smaller-size planet candidates and the number of stars with more than one candidate. (more…)
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a discovery that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.
The temperature record from Byrd Station, a scientific outpost in the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), demonstrates a marked increase of 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) in average annual temperature since 1958—that is, three times faster than the average temperature rise around the globe. (more…)
A study dating the age of more than 1 million single-letter variations in the human DNA code reveals that most of these mutations are of recent origin, evolutionarily speaking. These kinds of mutations change one nucleotide – an A, C, T or G – in the DNA sequence. Over 86 percent of the harmful protein-coding mutations of this type arose in humans just during the past 5,000 to 10,000 years.
Some of the remaining mutations of this nature may have no effect on people, and a few might be beneficial, according to the project researchers. While each specific mutation is rare, the findings suggest that the human population acquired an abundance of these single-nucleotide genetic variants in a relatively short time. (more…)
A joint effort of citizen scientists and professional astronomers has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting twin suns that in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars.
Aided by volunteers using the Planethunters.org website, a Yale-led international team of astronomers identified and confirmed discovery of the phenomenon, called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system.
Only six planets are known to orbit two stars, according to researchers, and none of these are orbited by distant stellar companions. (more…)