COFFEE BREAK NEWS FOR LIFE SCIENTISTS

GM food

Study Finds Opponents Of GM Foods Know The Least About Them

Researchers from the University of Colorado have published interesting results from their survey on acceptance of genetically modified (GM) foods. They found that the most extreme opponents of GM foods actually know the least about the science behind it, but believe the opposite. These eye-opening insights shed light on an increasingly relevant topic and could have implications for science communication in other fields alike.

virtual reality

Virtual Reality Tumors – New Way to Observe Cancer

Researchers from Cambridge have a new tool in the fight against cancer. Virtual reality (VR) simulation which can show detailed maps of the cells in a tumor. This way structure can be explored and analyzed from an entirely new perspective. Researchers hope their 3D models of cancer could lead to unexpected breakthroughs.

tic-tac-toe

World’s Smallest DNA Tic-Tac-Toe Game Board

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a new technique for shaping structures out of strands of DNA (DNA origami). In the game of tic-tac-toe on a DNA board, they reshaped an already-constructed DNA structure. The technology could be used to develop more sophisticated nanomachines with reconfigurable parts.

vaccination

Measles Outbreaks Catalysed by Vaccine Hesitancy

The increase in measles, a highly contagious scourge that had been nearly eradicated in many parts of the world, is concerning health officials. In Europe, measles had reached the highest levels in two decades. Experts blame this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.

cows_farm

Feeding Cows Seaweed Could Cut Methane Emissions

A research group from the University of California has discovered that a diet supplemented with seaweed could lessen the huge amounts of greenhouse gases emitted by cows and sheep. Even when small amounts of seaweed were added to the feed, the cows’ methane production was cut by nearly 60%. If researchers figure out how to grow enough of the red algae, an enormous change could be observed in the future.

Euphorbia resinifera

An Extra-Spicy Plant Could Help End the Opioid Crisis

Researchers have taken an interest in a euphorbia plant growing in Marocco as a possible painkiller. The plant’s active ingredient, resiniferatoxin (RTX), is extremely spicy, a 10,000 times hotter than the world’s hottest pepper. RTX is a potent analog of capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilli peppers, and has numerous benefits over existing painkillers. It doesn’t require frequent dosing, targets only the areas causing pain, and doesn’t produce a potentially addictive high. All this makes it a promising candidate for the clinics.