Findings of an international team of 27 scientists implicate that we are on the threshold of a new era of color science that could have far-reaching impacts on the security industry, medicine, clothing design, military and understanding of animal and human behavior.
Sperm concentration among men from Western countries declined by more than 50 percent in less than 40 years. There is a large decrease in sperm quality among men from North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand a study reports. The even more disturbing fact is that the decline doesn’t seem to be leveling off. If it continues or possibly even increases among men living in these countries, this will be a major problem for fertility and reproduction.
Snakebite at first glance does not seem to be a problem, which should concern a modern human. Despite numerous achievements in the field of pharmacology, it is however among the most neglected diseases of our era.
Grim statistics provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) show that, each year, 5 million bites occur, leading to 150,000 deaths and a striking 400,000 amputations. The lucky ones who manage to avoid a deadly outcome of snakebite envenoming are often mentally and physically scarred for life.
A group of US and Canadian researchers conducted the largest-scale testing of folding stability for computationally designed proteins. More than 15,000 newly designed small proteins were tested for correlation between folding and function which resulted in significant protein modeling improvements.
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) gene editing technology allows permanent modification of genes within organisms. It is considered a breakthrough in biotechnology ever since its discovery. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), led by Spanish researcher Guillermo Montoya, now went one step further. They discovered how Cpf1, a new type of molecular scissors, unzip and cleave DNA.
Despite the advancement of new molecular biology techniques like ddPCR or RNAseq, quantitative PCR (qPCR) is still a golden standard for the quantification of nucleic acids, with applications in diagnostics and research. The method is based on real-time monitoring of amplification of the target DNA allowing its quantification (see basics). Yet, for the method to be quantitative, it has to be done properly.
European researchers demonstrated that a low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active substance of cannabis, profoundly reduced age-related cognitive impairment in mice. The drug increased behavioural performance and rejuvenated the elderly brain, closely resembling that of young, untreated animals.
US researchers just discovered a novel gene associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that compromises motor neuron function in mice and zebrafish. The UBQLN4 genetic variant impairs nerve development through the excessive accumulation of beta-catenin, a realization that opens a new window for targeted treatment of ALS.
The future of molecular diagnostics is looking particularly bright as international teams of researchers and entrepreneurs make profound headway in the development of disease-sensing instruments.