Archives: The Scientist
Screen of 250,000 Species Reveals Tweaks to Genetic Code
A massive screen of bacterial and archaeal genomes revealed five previously unknown instances where an organism uses an alternate code to translate genetic blueprints into proteins.
Engineered Stem Cells Grant Geckos “Perfectly” Regenerated Tails
Geckos injected with neural stem cells modified to block cartilage growth developed the skeletal and nervous components normally lacking from regrown tails.
Does Biological Sex Influence COVID-19 Outcomes?
It’s unclear whether differing odds of dying between men and women reflect inherent differences between male and female immune systems or differences rooted in gender norms.
Plants Use RNA to Talk to Neighbors
A study finds that plants sharing the same growth medium can exchange microRNAs that silence genes in the recipient, suggesting the nucleic acids may act as signaling molecules.
The Link Between Wandering and Sleeping Minds
Researchers discover that when the mind wanders or goes blank, some parts of the brain behave as they do during sleep.
Falling Water, Rising Rocks, 1834
Intrigued by an optical illusion he experienced while traveling in Scotland, Robert Addams wrote what is now considered one of the definitive observational accounts of so-called motion aftereffects.
Alzheimer’s Risk Gene Paradoxically Protects Against Memory Loss
A new study links a variant of the apolipoprotein E gene called APOE ε4 to better memory in older age, even in the presence of amyloid plaques—a possible explanation for the variant’s persistence despite its association with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Blind Mole Rats Use Junk DNA to Combat Cancer
Activation of retrotransposons in the animals’ cancerous cells sets off an innate immune response that triggers cell death.
Gene Variant Points to Starvation’s Evolutionary Legacy
Ancient and modern genomes reveal that a variant of the human growth hormone receptor likely helped our ancestors survive when food was scarce.
Accurate Protein Production Promotes Longevity
Worms, flies, and yeast live longer if the fidelity of their protein-making machinery is improved, a study shows.