Dramatic shift in gut microbes and their metabolites seen after weight loss surgery

Obesity is linked with the composition of microbes in the human gut. In new research, bacterial composition in the gut, as well as accompanying metabolites are shown to undergo a profound and permanent shift, with microbial diversity significantly increasing following gastric bypass surgery.

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Improving wheat yields by increasing grain size, weight

Researchers aim to improve wheat yields by increasing grain size and weight using a precise gene-editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9.

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DNA ladders: Inexpensive molecular rulers for DNA research

New license-free tools will allow researchers to estimate the size of DNA fragments for a fraction of the cost of currently available methods. The tools, called a DNA ladders, can gauge DNA fragments ranging from about 50 to 5,000 base pairs in length.

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Crucial clue to manipulating reproduction in plants discovered

For the first time, a team of researchers has identified a small RNA species and its target gene that together regulate female germline formation in plants — crucial knowledge for manipulating plant reproduction in order to improve agriculture. The new work not only identifies a regulatory module for an important developmental process, it also implies that there is likely cell-to-cell communications via RNA or protein in this process.

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Sheets of food transform into 3-D shapes when dunked in water

Researchers have concocted something akin to edible origami, in the form of flat sheets of gelatin and starch that, when submerged in water, instantly sprout into three-dimensional structures, including common pasta shapes such as macaroni and rotini.

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Scientists borrow from electronics to build circuits in living cells

Synthetic biology researchers have demonstrated a new method for digital information processing in living cells, analogous to the logic gates used in electric circuits. The circuits are the largest ever published to date in eurkaryotic cells and a key step in harnessing the potential of cells as living computers that can respond to disease, efficiently produce biofuels or develop plant-based chemicals. …

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Designer worm spit supercharges healing

Globally, every 30 seconds a diabetic has a limb amputated because of a non-healing wound. A molecule produced by a Thai liver parasite could be the solution to those non-healing wounds — and scientists are now able to produce a version of the molecule on a large enough scale to make it available for laboratory tests and eventually clinical trials.

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Labeling a bacterial cell ‘jacket’

A team of researchers has discovered how to label and light the sugar backbone of a bacterial cell wall. The findings will advance immune system research, they say.

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Zika reached Miami at least four times, Caribbean travel likely responsible

With mosquito season looming in the Northern Hemisphere, doctors and researchers are poised to take on a new round of Zika virus infections. Now a new study explains how Zika virus entered the United States via Florida in 2016 — and how it might re-enter the country this year.

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Neutrons provide the first nanoscale look at a living cell membrane

A research team has performed the first-ever direct nanoscale examination of a living cell membrane. In doing so, it also resolved a long-standing debate by identifying tiny groupings of lipid molecules that are likely key to the cell’s functioning.

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Secret weapon of smart bacteria tracked to ‘sweet tooth’

Researchers have figured out how a once-defeated bacterium has re-emerged to infect cotton in a battle that could sour much of the Texas and US crop. And it boils down to this: A smart bacteria with a sweet tooth.

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Biosynthetic secrets: How fungi make bioactive compounds

Biological engineers have successfully decoded and reprogrammed the biosynthetic machinery that produces a variety of natural compounds found in fungi.

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