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Most massive stellar black hole in our galaxy found

Most massive stellar black hole in our galaxy found
2024-04-16
Astronomers have identified the most massive stellar black hole yet discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. This black hole was spotted in data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission because it imposes an odd ‘wobbling’ motion on the companion star orbiting it. Data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) and other ground-based observatories were used to verify the mass of the black hole, putting it at an impressive 33 times that of the Sun. Stellar black holes are formed from the collapse of massive stars and the ones ...

New review offers first recommendations on accurately assessing the carbon footprint of coffee farming

2024-04-16
Tuesday 16 April: A new scientific review1 published in Sustainable Production and Consumption explores how best to standardize measurement of the environmental impact of coffee – a commodity increasingly threatened by climate change2. Measurement of green coffee’s carbon footprint has traditionally varied, as is often the case for any agricultural lifecycle assessment. The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) commissioned the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) to review current methodologies for green coffee, revealing a more precise picture of how to measure the environmental impact of the ...

Seed ferns: Plants experimented with complex leaf vein networks 201 million years ago

Seed ferns: Plants experimented with complex leaf vein networks 201 million years ago
2024-04-16
According to a research team led by palaeontologists from the University of Vienna, the net-like leaf veining typical for today’s flowering plants developed much earlier than previously thought, but died out again several times. Using new methods, the fossilised plant Furcula granulifer was identified as such an early forerunner. The leaves of this seed fern species already exhibited the net-like veining in the late Triassic (around 201 million years ago). The study was recently published in the journal New Phytologist. Mario Coiro and Leyla Seyfullah of the Department of Palaeontology at the University of ...

New statewide research reveals the staggering economic cost of intimate partner violence in Louisiana

2024-04-16
A new study conducted by Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute has uncovered the staggering economic toll of intimate partner violence experienced by women in Louisiana.  The report, titled "The Costs of Intimate Partner Violence in Louisiana," found that intimate partner violence cost the state $10.1 billion in medical expenses, lost productivity and criminal justice spending in 2022 alone. The monetary costs per survivor amounted to approximately $105,602 annually, or 2.5 times more than the average wage earned by women in Louisiana.  This is the only cost analysis of its kind for a single U.S. state outside ...

From ashes to adversity: Lessons from South Australia's business recovery amidst bushfires and pandemic

2024-04-16
New research has given insight into the resilience and recovery of businesses in two South Australian regions following a major bushfire event and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses in two of the state’s regions affected by a devastating bushfire and a COVID-19 cluster outbreak have been analysed by economics experts at the University of South Australia to determine the best pathways for future disaster recovery in regional areas. Like many SA regional areas heavily reliant on international tourists, Kangaroo ...

Multiple pollutants from crop and livestock production in the Yangtze River: status and challenges

Multiple pollutants from crop and livestock production in the Yangtze River: status and challenges
2024-04-16
The rapid increase in the proportion of cash crops and livestock production in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) has led to commensurate increases in fertilizer and pesticide inputs. Excessive application of chemical fertilizer, organophosphorus pesticides and inappropriate disposal of agricultural waste induced water pollution and potentially threaten green agricultural development. To ensure food security and the food supply capacity of the Yangtze River Basin, it is important to balance green and development, while ensuring the quality of water bodies. Multiple pollutants affect the transfer, adsorption, photolysis and degradation of each other throughout the soil–plant–water system. ...

Unraveling the unique role of DELLA proteins in grapevine flowering: A shift in developmental fate

2024-04-16
The transition from vegetative to reproductive stages in plants involves both internal and external cues, with grapevines  (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Pixie) presenting a unique case. Research shows that a mutation in the grapevine's DELLA proteins enhances the conversion of tendrils to inflorescences, diverging from DELLA's typical role in suppressing flowering in annual plants. While DELLA proteins regulate plant growth by interacting with various genes and environmental signals, the specific mechanisms and genes targeted ...

Next-generation treatments hitch a ride into cancer cells

Next-generation treatments hitch a ride into cancer cells
2024-04-16
Osaka, Japan – Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are next-generation drugs that can treat disease by blocking the transfer of harmful messages from our genes. In people with cancer, ASOs have the potential to block messages that encourage the growth and spread of the tumor. However, ASOs aren’t used for treating cancer yet. They must first get delivered inside cancer cells, but the cancer cells won’t let them in. Finding an effective ASO delivery system is a major challenge. Cancer cells have gatekeeper molecules that stop unwanted substances from entering. Although investigators have tried many ways of getting ASOs past ...

Unraveling the role of DlBGAL9 and AGL61/80 in Longan somatic embryogenesis and heat stress tolerance: A multi-omics approach

2024-04-16
A research team has unveiled 20 β-galactosidase (BGAL) genes within the longan genome, highlighting their crucial roles in embryogenic development and heat stress adaptation. Particularly, the research team spotlighted DlBGAL9, activated by transcription factors DlAGL61 and DlAGL80, as pivotal in enhancing β-galactosidase activity for cell wall thickening and stress response. These discoveries not only deepen our understanding of BGAL's function in plant development and stress mechanisms but also open pathways for agricultural innovations to improve crop resilience and productivity through genetic ...

Decoding pecan pollination: A dive into the chloroplast genome of 'Xinxuan-4' and its impact on cultivar diversity and efficiency

2024-04-16
The chloroplast (cp) is critical for various biological functions in plants, such as photosynthesis and stress responses, with its genome offering simpler analysis and sequencing due to its size and reduced homologous influence. This genome's stability and unique features have made it essential for species identification and understanding plant phylogeny. In the context of Carya illinoinensis, or pecan, a key nut crop in China, there's an observed pollination deficiency exacerbated by the timing of pollen release in cultivars like 'Pawnee'. Recent research has expanded to include the cp genomes of various C. illinoinensis cultivars, aiding ...

KD-crowd: A knowledge distillation framework for learning from crowds

KD-crowd: A knowledge distillation framework for learning from crowds
2024-04-16
Crowdsourcing efficiently delegates tasks to crowd workers for labeling, though their varying expertise can lead to errors. A key task is estimating worker expertise to infer true labels. However, the noise transition matrix-based methods for modeling worker expertise often overfit annotation noise due to oversimplification or inaccurate estimations. To solve the problems, a research team led by Shao-Yuan LI published their new research on 12 Mar 2024 in Frontiers of Computer Science co-published by Higher Education Press and Springer Nature. The team proposed a knowledge distillation-based framework KD-Crowd, which leverages noise-model-free ...

Can animals count?

Can animals count?
2024-04-16
HONG KONG (16 April 2024)—A groundbreaking discovery that appears to confirm the existence of discrete number sense in rats has been announced by a joint research team from City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).   The findings offer a crucial animal model for investigating the neural basis of numerical ability and disability in humans, the Hong Kong-based researchers say.   This innovative study deployed a numerical learning task, brain manipulation techniques and AI modelling to tackle an ongoing debate about whether rats can count, says Professor Yung Wing-ho, Chair Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at CityUHK, who ...

Australian media need generative AI policies to help navigate misinformation and disinformation

2024-04-16
New research into generative AI images shows only over a third of media organisations surveyed at the time of research have an image-specific AI policy in place.   The study, led by RMIT University in collaboration with Washington State University and the QUT Digital Media Research Centre, interviewed 20 photo editors or related roles from 16 leading public and commercial media organisations across Europe, Australia and the US about their perceptions of generative AI technologies in visual journalism.    Lead researcher and RMIT Senior Lecturer, Dr TJ Thomson, said while most staff interviewed ...

Illuminating the path to hearing recovery

Illuminating the path to hearing recovery
2024-04-16
Professor Yunje Cho’s research team from the Department of Life Sciences at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH, Republic of Korea) has collaborated with Professor Kwang Pyo Kim’s group from the Department of Applied Chemistry at Kyung Hee University (KHU, ROK), Professor Vsevolod Katritch’s team from the University of Southern California (USC, USA), and Professor Carol V. Robinson from the University of Oxford (UK) to uncover the mysteries surrounding a specific receptor protein associated with hearing. Their findings have recently been published in the online edition of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.   Deep ...

Unlocking the secrets of fruit quality: How anthocyanins and acidity shape consumer preferences and market value

2024-04-16
A research team reviews the critical relationship between the accumulation of anthocyanins and organic acids in fruits, highlighting how these factors influence fruit color and consumer appeal through changes in vacuolar pH. The analysis focused on the transcription factors (TFs) responsible for the co-regulation of genes affecting these quality traits, aiming to enhance fruit marketability. By establishing a genetic link and identifying the regulatory mechanisms involved, the team provides a roadmap for breeders to target specific traits for modification. Although progress has been made, the review underlines the ...

Evidence for reversible oxygen ion movement during electrical pulsing: enabler of the emerging ferroelectricity in binary oxides

Evidence for reversible oxygen ion movement during electrical pulsing: enabler of the emerging ferroelectricity in binary oxides
2024-04-16
Ferroelectric binary oxides thin films are garnering attention for their superior compatibility over traditional perovskite-based ferroelectric materials. Its compatibility and scalability within the CMOS framework make it an ideal candidate for integrating ferroelectric devices into mainstream semiconductor components, including next-generation memory devices and various logic devices such as Ferroelectric Field-effect Transistor, and Negative Capacitance Field-effect Transistor. It has been reported that challenges ...

Revolutionizing Citrus cultivation: The superior tolerance and growth vigor of 'Shuzhen No.1' rootstock

2024-04-16
Citrus is the world’s most economically significant fruit crop, but it faces various environmental adversities that restrict its distribution. Grafting is a crucial factor in enhancing citrus productivity. Current research focuses on selecting genetically uniform rootstocks, such as trifoliate orange for its disease resistance. However, issues such as sensitivity to alkalinity and incompatibility with certain cultivars persist. Addressing these challenges, a study (DOI: 10.48130/frures-0023-0042) published in Fruit Research on 01 February 2024, introduces 'Shuzhen No.1', a novel rootstock ...

Family and media pressure to lose weight in adolescence linked to how people value themselves almost two decades later

2024-04-16
People who as teenagers felt pressure to lose weight from family or from the media, females, people who are not heterosexual, and people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, are most at risk of ‘internalised’ weight stigma, new research led by the University of Bristol has found. The study is published in The Lancet Regional Health Europe today [15 April]. ‘Internalised’ weight stigma, is when people apply negative obesity-related stereotypes to themselves, such as thinking they are less attractive, less competent, or less valuable as a person because of their weight. This is the first time a study has used a large UK sample to examine who is most at risk. In ...

Despite the desire to reduce the risk of imitation, new research suggests startups should scale slowly and steadily

2024-04-16
A new study published in the Strategic Management Journal cautions startups against prioritizing early scaling, as it’s positively associated with a higher rate of firm failure — especially for platform companies. Although managers could see the potential benefits of scaling as a way to prevent competitor imitation, scaling early can also prematurely curtail learning through experimentation and committing to a business idea that lacks product-market fit. Although a few high-growth startups such as Facebook and Uber made their fortunes by scaling early — also known as “blitzscaling” — study authors Saerom (Ronnie) Lee and ...

The Lancet: Many people with breast cancer ‘systematically left behind’ due to inaction on inequities and hidden suffering

The Lancet: Many people with breast cancer ‘systematically left behind’ due to inaction on inequities and hidden suffering
2024-04-16
**Embargo: 23.30 [UK time] / 19.30 [ET], Monday 15 April 2024**  Peer-reviewed/Literature review, Survey, and Opinion/People Embargoed access to the papers and contact details for authors and patient advocates are available in Notes to Editors at the end of the release.   Breast cancer is now the world’s most common cancer; at the end of 2020, 7.8 million women were alive having been diagnosed in the previous five years. In the same year, 685,000 women died from the disease. Despite significant improvements in research, treatment, and survival, gross inequities persist, and many patients ...

From opioid overdose to treatment initiation: outcomes associated with peer support in emergency departments

2024-04-16
People with a nonfatal opioid overdose who have access to a peer support program while in the emergency department are more likely to initiate treatment and less likely to have repeated overdoses, according to a Rutgers Health study.   The study is the largest study on outcomes associated with emergency department-based peer support for opioid use disorders and was published in JAMA Network Open online ahead of print in the April 2024 issue.    According to the Centers for Disease ...

NIH awards $3.4 million to Wayne State University to investigate biomarkers for better reproductive success

NIH awards $3.4 million to Wayne State University to investigate biomarkers for better reproductive success
2024-04-16
DETROIT - The diagnosis of male fertility has not changed in decades and primarily relies on conventional semen parameter analyses such as sperm count, motility and morphology, which are poor predictors of couples’ reproductive success. A new $3.4 million award to the Wayne State University School of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health aims to overcome the limitations of conventional semen analyses by examining mitochondrial DNA levels in sperm as a novel biomarker of sperm fitness. The project will be led by School of Medicine Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology J. Richard Pilsner, Ph.D., M.P.H. ...

New study shows corporate misconduct at home hurts sales overseas

2024-04-16
New research in the Global Strategy Journal has bad news for companies struggling with corruption, discrimination, or sweatshops in their supply chain: corporate misconduct demonstrably hurts international sales. Consumers and investors increasingly read about unethical business practices globally and demonstrate their displeasure locally. “Socially irresponsible acts transcend geographic boundaries and negatively affect foreign subsidiary performance,” said Nuruzzaman Nuruzzaman of the University of Manchester, one of the study’s ...

Take it from the rats: A junk food diet can cause long-term damage to adolescent brains

2024-04-16
A new USC-led study on rats that feasted on a high-fat, sugary diet raises the possibility that a junk food-filled diet in teens may disrupt their brains’ memory ability for a long time. “What we see not just in this paper, but in some of our other recent work, is that if these rats grew up on this junk food diet, then they have these memory impairments that don’t go away,” said Scott Kanoski, a professor of biological sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “If you just simply put them on a healthy diet, these effects unfortunately last well into adulthood.” The study appears in the May issue of the journal ...

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute team unpacking genetic mysteries of childhood epilepsies

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute team unpacking genetic mysteries of childhood epilepsies
2024-04-15
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures.  It is one of the most common neurological diseases, and it affects approximately 50 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In 2023, nearly 450,000 children in the United States were diagnosed with the disease. Virginia Tech researchers at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC are exploring how gene variants identified in children with severe epilepsy can have an impact on neurons, leading to abnormal ...
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