News

New particles discovered at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

The LHCb detector that recently discovered pentaquarks. Source: 2008 CERN, photo Maximilien Brice, flickr.

On July 14, 2015, the LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty) experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of a new form of matter: the pentaquark particle. The theory describing these particles has existed since 1964, when the physicist Murray Gell-Mann proposed that protons and neutrons are made of...

 
 

Promising breakthrough in Cystic Fibrosis research: Nebulization of CFTR gene therapy

Mutations in the CFTR protein result in cystic fibrosis. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

For the first time, a non-viral gene therapy in a phase 2 trial has been demonstrated to be advantageous to lung function in people afflicted with cystic fibrosis (1). Normally, people with cystic fibrosis have one or more mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. These mutations...

 
 

Confirmation of climate-induced sex change in reptile populations

Australian bearded dragons have the ability to swap genders during the egg stage in times of extreme climate. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the University of Canberra have confirmed the first climate-induced change of male bearded dragons into females occurring in the wild. Sex reversal has not evolved among mammals or birds, although it can happen in  rarely in amphibians and in some fish. The Australian central bearded dragon was one...

 
 

Geometry of brain surface linked to genetic ancestry

The patterns of ridges (gyri) and grooves (sulci) differ between ancestral populations. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that genetic ancestry was correlated with the geometry of the brain’s outer surface. They could use surface patterns to estimate the proportion of various ancestries in American subjects from diverse lineages (1,2). An individual’s ancestry can be determined using small parts...

 
 

Chimpanzee study indicates evolutionary preconditions of morality

Chimpanzees know social norms, especially tolerance to infant chimps. Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to a new June paper in Human Nature, the reactions of chimpanzees to videos showing violence against an infant chimp reveal that chimpanzees can recognize putative social norms. The chimpanzees did not, however, react in strongly negative ways – showing that chimpanzees may not intervene or protest if the...

 
 
 
 
 

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