Top Stories In Science This Week – Ajit Johnson Nirmal – Medium

Scientists create mouse embryo in lab with no sperm or egg

Reference: Nature

Kids raised on farms are healthier in two important ways, new study

Children raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and might be at lower risk of mental illness than pet-free city dwellers, according to new research (samples = 40).

Reference: PNAS

Researchers engineered pancreas of diabetic mice to make them secrete insulin

Researchers used a trio of transcription factors to transform pancreatic duct cells in vivo into β-like cells that secrete insulin and improve diabetes symptoms. The technique reduced the animals’ symptoms of diabetes.

Reference: Molecular Therapy

Researchers have developed a filter that removes salt from water up to three times as faster

The maths behind a landmark paper by the British mathematician Alan Turing have been used to create a new nanoscale structure for desalinating water, and its creators claim it does the job far better than filters currently on the market. The membrane has a unique nanostructure of tubular strands, inspired by codebreaker Alan Turing’s one and only biology paper.

Reference: Science

Researchers use CRISPR to edit DNA outside of the cell for the first time

Scientists at Christiana Care Health System’s Gene Editing Institute have developed a potentially breakthrough CRISPR gene-editing tool. It could allow researchers to take fragments of DNA extracted from human cells, put them into a test tube, and quickly and precisely engineer multiple changes to the genetic code.

Reference: CRISPR Journal

Scientists warn that the world’s rarest ape is at the edge of extinction

In a new research article, a team of international researchers argue that the Tapanuli Orangutan — a species discovered last year in Sumatra, Indonesia, and one of the rarest animals on the planet — could lose its battle for survival, unless decisive steps are taken to rescue it.

Reference: Current Biology

Scientists identified deadly malarial parasite genes that could aid in drug development

Ninety-percent of people killed by malaria are infected with the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Now, for the first time, researchers have learned exactly what is essential in the parasite’s genetic makeup, paving the way to the development of stronger antimalarial drugs.

Reference: Science

Astronomers spot helium on exoplanet for first time

Helium is the second most abundant element in the Universe, after hydrogen. It’s also common in gas-giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn, and theorists have predicted that it should be detectable in exoplanet atmospheres. 
A big, puffy planet orbiting a small, bright star in the constellation Virgo is leaking helium into space. It’s the first time astronomers have spotted the element on a planet beyond the Solar System, after more than a decade of searching.

Reference: Nature

Scientists watched in real-time the role of immune system following traumatic brain injury

Following head injury, the protective lining that surrounds the brain may get a little help from its friends: immune cells that spring into action to assist with repairs. In a new study, scientists watched in real-time as different immune cells took on carefully timed jobs to fix the damaged lining of the brain, also known as meninges, in mice. These results may help provide clues to the discovery that the meninges in humans may heal following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and why additional hits to the head can be so devastating.

Reference: Nature Immunology

30 new genetic risk factors for depression have been identified

A global research project has mapped out the genetic basis of major depression, identifying 44 genetic variants which are risk factors for depression, 30 of which are newly discovered.

Reference: Nature Genetics

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