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Showing results 41-49 of 49 for 'Evolution'


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    Bacterial Immune Systems Take the Stage

    Until a decade ago, scientists were not aware that bacteria had complex immune systems – ones that could keep up with the pace of evolution in viruses called phages that infect bacteria. That changed with the discovery of what is now the most famous bacterial immune mechanism: CRISPR. Scientists realized that CRISPR is a natural gene editor, and it has revolutionized the world of biological research in thousands of labs around the world. Researchers now understand that most microorganisms have sophisticated immune systems, of which CRISPR is just one element, but there has been no good way to identify these systems.

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    Researchers Discover 10 New Immune Systems in Bacteria

    Bacteria have been defending themselves from phages—viruses that attack bacterial cells—for billions of years, and unlocking the immune mechanisms they use to protect themselves has led to the development of powerful molecular biology tools such as restriction enzymes and CRISPR-Cas9. Now, researchers report in Science today (January 25) that they have discovered 10 more immune systems that bacteria use to protect themselves against phages and plasmids, opening up the possibility to add new tools to the molecular biology toolbox.

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    “Brain on a Chip” Reveals How the Brain Folds

    Being born with a “tabula rasa” – a clean slate – is, in the case of the brain, something of a curse. Our brains are already wrinkled like walnuts by the time we are born. Babies born without these wrinkles – called smooth brain syndrome – suffer from severe developmental deficiencies and their life expectancy is markedly reduced. The gene that causes this syndrome recently helped Weizmann Institute of Science researchers to probe the physical forces that cause the brain’s wrinkles to form. In their findings, reported in Nature Physics, the researchers describe a method they developed for growing tiny “brains on chips” from human cells that enabled them to track the physical and biological mechanisms underlying the wrinkling process.

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    Bacterial Immune Systems Take the Stage

    Until a decade ago, scientists were not aware that bacteria had complex immune systems that could keep up with the pace of evolution in viruses called phages that infect bacteria. That changed with the discovery of what is now the most famous bacterial immune mechanism: CRISPR. This is a natural gene editor that has revolutionized the world of biological research in thousands of labs around the world. Researchers now understand that most microorganisms have sophisticated immune systems of which CRISPR is just one element; but there has been no good way to identify these systems.

    /news-media/in-the-news/bacterial-immune-systems-take-the-stage
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    A Century-Old Model for the Origin of Life Gets Significant Substantiation

    In 1924, Russian biochemist Alexander Oparin claimed that life on Earth developed through gradual chemical changes of organic molecules in the “primordial soup” that likely existed here four billion years ago. In his view, the complex combination of lifeless molecules, joining forces within small oily droplets, could assume life faculties – self-replication, selection, and evolution. These ideas were received with considerable doubt, which remains today.

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