DNA is only one among millions of possible genetic molecules 

Biology encodes information in DNA and RNA, complex molecules finely tuned to their functions. Although, other nucleic acid-like polymers are known, yet much remains unknown regarding possible alternatives for hereditary information storage. Using computational methods, scientists explored the chemical space of stable nucleic acid analogues, finding over one million variants. This suggests a vast unexplored … Continue reading DNA is only one among millions of possible genetic molecules 

Humans co-evolved with immune-related diseases — and it’s still happening 

Some of the same mutations allowing humans to fend off deadly infections also make us more prone to certain inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. Researchers describe how ancestral origins impact the likelihood that people of African or Eurasian descent might develop immune-related diseases. The authors also share evidence that the human immune … Continue reading Humans co-evolved with immune-related diseases — and it’s still happening 

Laboratory-evolved bacteria switch to consuming carbon dioxide for growth 

Over the course of several months, researchers created Escherichia coli strains that consume carbon dioxide for energy instead of organic compounds. This achievement in synthetic biology highlights the incredible plasticity of bacterial metabolism and could provide the framework for future carbon-neutral bioproduction. Source: Laboratory-evolved bacteria switch to consuming carbon dioxide for growth — ScienceDaily

Extinct giant ape directly linked to the living orangutan 

Researchers have succeeded in reconstructing the evolutionary relationship between a two million year old giant primate and the living orangutan. It is the first time genetic material this old has been retrieved from a fossil in a subtropical area. This allows the researchers to accurately reconstruct animal, including human, evolutionary processes way beyond the limits … Continue reading Extinct giant ape directly linked to the living orangutan 

Experts unlock key to photosynthesis, a find that could help us meet food security demands 

Scientists have solved the structure of one of the key components of photosynthesis, a discovery that could lead to photosynthesis being ‘redesigned’ to achieve higher yields and meet urgent food security needs. Source: Experts unlock key to photosynthesis, a find that could help us meet food security demands — ScienceDaily

Specific neurons that map memories now identified in the human brain 

Neuroengineers have found the first evidence that individual neurons in the human brain target specific memories during recall. They studied recordings in neurosurgical patients who had electrodes implanted in their brains and examined how the patients’ brain signals corresponded to their behavior while performing a virtual-reality object-location memory task. The researchers identified ‘memory-trace cells’ whose … Continue reading Specific neurons that map memories now identified in the human brain 

Unless warming is slowed, emperor penguins will be marching towards extinction 

Emperor penguins are some of the most striking and charismatic animals on Earth, but a new study has found that a warming climate may render them extinct by the end of this century. Source: Unless warming is slowed, emperor penguins will be marching towards extinction — ScienceDaily