Machine learning lets scientists reverse-engineer cellular control networks

Researchers have used machine learning on the Stampede supercomputer to model the cellular control network that determines how tadpoles develop. Using that model, they reverse-engineered a drug intervention that created tadpoles with a form of mixed pigmentation never before seen in nature. They plan to use the method for cancer therapies and regenerative medicine. …

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Self-sustaining bacteria-fueled power cell created

Researchers have developed the next step in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) with the first micro-scale self-sustaining cell, which generated power for 13 straight days through symbiotic interactions of two types of bacteria.

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A new web of life: First full family tree of the world’s spiders

For the first time biologists have made a full family tree of the world’s spiders, giving us knowledge about venoms that can be useful in medicine. And we might be able to develop silk just as good as the spider’s. …

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How do metals interact with DNA?

Since a couple of decades, metal-containing drugs have been successfully used to fight against certain types of cancer. The lack of knowledge about the underlying molecular mechanisms slows down the search for new and more efficient chemotherapeutic agents. Scientists have now developed a protocol that is able to detect how metal-based drugs interact with DNA. …

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After the epigenome: The epitranscriptome

A new article explains that RNA also has its own spelling and grammar, just like DNA. These ‘epigenetics of RNA’ are called epitranscriptome.

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Sea urchin spines could fix bones

More than 2 million procedures every year take place around the world to heal bone fractures and defects from trauma or disease, making bone the second most commonly transplanted tissue after blood. To help improve the outcomes of these surgeries, scientists have developed a new grafting material from sea urchin spines.

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New cell membrane fusion model challenges dogma

Membrane fusion lies at the heart of many cell functions—from the secretion of antibodies to the release of neurotransmitters. For more than two decades, one view of the process by which membrane fusion occurs has been accepted as dogma; now recent studies indicate that fusion is more complex. These discoveries are being regarded by at least one leading cell biologist as “textbook changing” and could alter how we develop drugs that affect membrane fusion activities. …

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Salmon with side effects: Aquacultures are polluting Chile’s rivers with a cocktail of dissolved organic substances

Tasty, versatile, and rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids: salmon is one of the most popular edible fish of all. Shops sell fish caught in the wild, but their main produce is salmon from breeding farms which can pollute rivers, lakes and oceans. Just how big is the problem? Scientists are working to answer this question by examining the dissolved organic compounds which enter Chile’s rivers from salmon farms. They warn that these substances are placing huge strain on ecosystems and are changing entire biological communities.

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