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Field-margin wetlands alone can’t fix the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone

2024-04-16
Each summer, a hypoxic dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico, making some marine habitats unlivable. The dead zone is caused by nutrients—primarily from agricultural fertilizers—flowing into the Gulf from the Mississippi River. Restoring wetlands at field margins has been proposed to intercept some of the runoff, as wetland plants and soils are capable of absorbing nutrients like a living sponge. But estimates of nutrient removal by restored wetlands have varied widely. Shan Zuidema and colleagues took a whole-system approach to modeling the potential for wetlands to ameliorate the flow of nitrate to the ...

Research has lost none of its innovative drive

2024-04-16
A high-profile study made headlines in 2023 stating that the scientific and innovation system is producing less and less completely new knowledge. Researchers at the University of Basel are now refuting this claim, at least for patents: It is based on a measurement error. The discovery of mRNA in the 1960s was groundbreaking. Suddenly there were completely new findings that ushered in new developments. This kind of discovery is described as “disruptive”. In contrast, research findings are “consolidating” when they build upon existing knowledge. They are also important, as the example of the ...

A nematode gel to protect crops in Africa and Asia

A nematode gel to protect crops in Africa and Asia
2024-04-16
The fall armyworm is a destructive corn pest, which recently arrived in Africa and Asia from the Americas and began causing major yield losses and increased use of insecticides, which pose environmental and human health risks. Entomopathogenic nematodes are soil-dwelling roundworms that can parasitize and kill fall armyworms with no risks to people or the environment, but application can be tricky because the nematodes are susceptible to desiccation and UV radiation from sunlight. Patrick Fallet and colleagues report success using an innocuous biodegradable ...

Breakthrough in benzofuran synthesis: New method enables complex molecule creation

Breakthrough in benzofuran synthesis: New method enables complex molecule creation
2024-04-16
In the field of organic chemistry, scientists are always looking out for new types of reactions to unlock synthesis routes for challenging compounds. Most of the progress that we have witnessed in pharmaceutics and agrochemicals over the past few decades can be traced back to the discovery of novel practical reaction pathways. Such pathways often involve the selective replacement of a functional group with another, the formation of aromatic rings, or the strategic cleaving of parts of a molecule. But what about the rearrangement of existing functional groups within a molecule? Also known as ‘substituent ...

Exploring the interactions between baby marmosets and their caregivers

Exploring the interactions between baby marmosets and their caregivers
2024-04-16
The connection that infants form with their parents or caregivers is crucial for their cognitive, social, and emotional development. These attachments vary in quality, depending on how caregivers respond to the infant's needs. When caregivers are attentive, infants are likely to develop secure attachments. However, if caregivers neglect their needs, infants may develop insecurity, leading to challenges in emotional development and difficulty in forming healthy relationships later in life.   To understand how parenting influences attachment formation and child development, researchers led by Associate Professor Atsuko ...

MD Anderson and CureVac enter strategic collaboration to develop novel cancer vaccines

2024-04-16
HOUSTON and TÜBINGEN, Germany ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and CureVac N.V. today announced a co-development and licensing agreement to develop novel mRNA-based cancer vaccines. The collaboration creates strong synergies between CureVac’s unique end-to-end capabilities for cancer antigen discovery, mRNA design, and manufacturing and MD Anderson’s expertise in cancer antigen discovery and validation, translational drug development, and clinical research. The collaboration will focus on the development of differentiated cancer vaccine ...

Deadly bacteria show thirst for human blood

Deadly bacteria show thirst for human blood
2024-04-16
PULLMAN, Wash. –  Some of the world's deadliest bacteria seek out and feed on human blood, a newly-discovered phenomenon researchers are calling “bacterial vampirism.” A team led by Washington State University researchers have found the bacteria are attracted to the liquid part of blood, or serum, which contains nutrients the bacteria can use as food. One of the chemicals the bacteria seemed particularly drawn to was serine, an amino acid found in human blood that is also a common ingredient in protein drinks. The research finding, published in the journal eLife, provides new insights into how bloodstream infections ...

New insights could unlock immunotherapy for rare, deadly eye cancer

New insights could unlock immunotherapy for rare, deadly eye cancer
2024-04-16
New research from the University of Pittsburgh explains why metastatic uveal melanoma is resistant to conventional immunotherapies and how adoptive therapy, which involves growing a patient’s T cells outside the body before reinfusing them, can successfully treat this rare and aggressive cancer. In a paper published today in Nature Communications, the Pitt researchers also explain how they developed a new clinical tool that predicts which patients will respond to adoptive therapy. The work, supported by UPMC Enterprises, is helping improve personalized therapies and avoid futile treatments for metastatic uveal melanoma. “The dogma was that uveal melanoma is ...

Biodiversity is key to the mental health benefits of nature, new study finds

2024-04-16
New research from King’s College London has found that spaces with a diverse range of natural features are associated with stronger improvements in our mental wellbeing compared to spaces with less natural diversity. Published in Scientific Reports and funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Wellcome, this citizen science study used the smartphone application Urban Mind to collect real-time reports on mental wellbeing and natural diversity from nearly 2000 participants. Researchers found that environments with ...

A single atom layer of gold – LiU researchers create goldene

A single atom layer of gold – LiU researchers create goldene
2024-04-16
For the first time, scientists have managed to create sheets of gold only a single atom layer thick. The material has been termed goldene. According to researchers from Linköping University, Sweden, this has given the gold new properties that can make it suitable for use in applications such as carbon dioxide conversion, hydrogen production, and production of value-added chemicals. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Synthesis. Scientists have long tried to make single-atom-thick sheets of gold but failed because the metal’s tendency to lump together. But ...

Most countries struggle to meet climate pledges from 2009

2024-04-16
Nineteen out of 34 countries surveyed failed to fully meet their 2020 climate commitments set 15 years ago in Copenhagen, according to a new study led by UCL researchers. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, compared the actual net carbon emissions of more than 30 nations to their 2009 pledged emission reduction targets set during the Copenhagen Climate Summit. The paper led by researchers at UCL and Tsinghua University is the first effort to comprehensively gauge how well countries were able to meet their Nationally Determined Contribution reduction pledges from COP15. Of the 34 nations analysed in the study, ...

Photonic computation with sound waves

Photonic computation with sound waves
2024-04-16
Optical neural networks may provide the high-speed and large-capacity solution necessary to tackle challenging computing tasks. However, tapping their full potential will require further advances. One challenge is the reconfigurability of optical neural networks. A research team in the Stiller Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, in collaboration with the Englund Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has now succeeded in laying the foundation for new reconfigurable neuromorphic building blocks by adding a new dimension to photonic machine learning: sound waves. The researchers use light to create ...

New study focuses on the placenta for clues to the development of gestational diabetes

2024-04-16
BOSTON, MA – A new study led by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute has identified that a deficit in the placental expression of the gene insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGFBP1) and low IGFBP1 circulating levels are associated with insulin resistance during pregnancy, highlighting a potential risk factor for the development of gestational diabetes. The study, “Placental IGFBP1 levels during early pregnancy and the risk of insulin resistance and gestational diabetes,” appears in the April 16, 2024 edition of Nature Medicine. Gestational diabetes, a disease that can lead to multiple pregnancy and delivery complications, is the most common pregnancy ...

Care home staff and residents need ‘family’ bonds to thrive 

2024-04-16
University of Leeds news  Embargo: Tuesday 16 April, 2024, 10am UK time  Care home staff and residents need ‘family’ bonds to thrive  Care home residents receive much better care when they enjoy ‘family’ bonds with staff – but staff must be empowered to create these bonds, new research has found.  The study, led by the University of Leeds and funded by The National Institute for Health and Care Research, found that when care home staffing is stable and consistent and numbers are sufficient, workers have the capacity to develop ‘familial’ ...

New Inflammatory Bowel Disease testing protocol could speed up diagnosis

2024-04-16
Patients with suspected inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) could benefit from better testing protocols that would reduce the need and lengthy wait for potentially unnecessary colonoscopies, a new study has found. In a paper published in Frontline Gastroenterology, researchers from the Birmingham NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at the University of Birmingham tested a new protocol to improve IBD diagnosis combining clinical history with multiple home stool tests. In the two-year study involving 767 participants, patients were triaged and had repeated faecal calprotectin (FCP) tests and the research team found that the use of serial FCP tests were able to strongly predict possible ...

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 ...
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