Current Event Summaries by Alayna P.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Alayna P.

  1. Alayna Pearson says:

    Title:New insight as to how cells maintain their identity
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190920102839.htm
    Author(s): University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 21, 2019

    Article Summary:
    There are over 200 different types of cells in the body and their functions are determined by what genes are expressed. Because of this, these genes have to be precisely controlled. In a new study, researchers working at the Biotech Research & Innovation Center and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Copenhagen as well as the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have found that one key protein PRC2 regulates if genes are turned on or off, changing the cell’s function. As well, there are six other proteins that help deliver the PRC2 to the right place.

    Personal Reaction:
    I believe that this recent discovery could greatly impact the future of medicine. In the article, it is suggested that this could help sure cancers including lymphoma according to Kristian Helin, Professor at BRIC and Director of Research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In class we have learned that proteins can be catalysts, are a main source of energy, and that they build and repair cells but I hadn’t known that they could determine a cells function and regulate what genes were active and inactive. A big question I have is what was the previous assumption to how cell functions were determined?

  2. Alayna Pearson says:

    Title: For this ocean dweller, ability to respond to warming waters is about location
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190927112502.htm
    Author(s): Matthew C. Sasaki and Hans G. Dam
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 27, 2019

    Article Summary: Land organisms are known to evolve in predictable ways, however, this isn’t always the case for organisms living in ocean currents. A study from UConn researchers looked to test this by collecting copepods from varying environments. They hypothesised that copepods collected from Canada would have a lower thermal tolerance than samples collected from Florida Keys. When tested, the scientists found that the copepods showed very few genetic adaptations. Instead, the copepods showed varying levels of phenotypic plasticity which is a less predictable but still effective way to withstand extreme temperatures.

    Personal Reaction: It’s no secret that climate change is an extremely large threat towards life on Earth. With this discovery that copepods can withstand unfamiliar heat because of higher plasticity means that other organisms may find a way to survive the rising temperatures as well. I also have an interest in marine life. This article shows just how little we know about marine life compared to how much is known about land organisms.

  3. Alayna Pearson says:

    Title: Longest coral reef survey to date reveals major changes in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190927074930.htm
    Author(s): Maoz Fine, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Efrat Meroz-Fine, and Sophie Dove
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 27, 2019

    Article Summary: Due to recent changes locally and globally, coral reefs are under large amounts of stress. This caused dramatic phase shifts.”The degree to which reefs may shift from one state to another following environment change was overwhelming,” said Professor Fine. In 1928, the Great Barrier Reef Committee and the Royal Society of London sent an expedition to study the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, these changes seem permanently based on the results of the expedition. Because coral reefs are so sensitive, stressors in isolation or in combination can lead to dramatic loss of reefs for many years, throwing off all ecosystems surrounding it as well.

    Personal Reaction: Assuming the recent changes affecting the coral reefs include rising CO2 levels and ocean pollution, this is a major eye opener as to why these issues need to be resolved. As well, this could affect the entire ocean’s ecosystem. The reef’s phase changes could also change the species abundance within it. This is an example of how a small, overlooked piece of an ecosystem can affect the entire cycle. Although the scientists believe that it’s near impossible to undo the phase changes, I wonder if it will eventually return to normal. One other question I had while reading this article is what the committee and the Royal Society of London plans to do in hopes of returning the reefs to how they were or if they have a plan at all.

  4. Alayna Pearson says:

    Title: Scientists find timekeepers of gut’s immune system
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004143818.htm
    Author(s): Tamara Bhandari
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019’

    Article Summary: It’s common knowledge that traveling long distances can cause jet lag, affecting your sleep patterns. It’s not common knowledge that it could affect your digestion and eating cycles. Recently, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis identified immune cells in the gut that keep time. These cells, type 3 Innate Lymphoid cells, keep the intestines running healthily. Type 3 Innate Lymphoid cells in the gut fortify the wall between bacteria and the intestine cells and produce immune molecules that allow food and harmless bacteria in while fending off harmful organisms.So called “clock genes” are extremely active in these cells. The researchers discovered that immune molecules are connected to the activity of said clock genes, meaning that the presence of these genes also keeps bacteria under control.

    Personal Reaction: For people that travel quite frequently, they can plan for not only disturbances in their sleep patterns but in their eating habits as well. Disruptions in cardiac rhythm have been linked to gastrointestinal problems. This could help scientists conclude how they can treat these problems as well as how they occur. With this discovery, lives could be saved. After reading this article, I’ve been left with one question. If scientists have just recently discovered how much sleep affects digestion, will they soon discover that sleep affects many other bodily functions as well?

  5. Alayna Pearson says:

    Title: Rare View Into the Formation of Viruses
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004132338.htm
    Author(s): Harvard John A.
    Published By: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary: For the first time, images of individual viruses have been captured. In the past, the structure of viruses has been captured with incredible accuracy but until now, scientists had never known that viruses assembled themselves. The Quantitative Biology Initiative, a Harvard effort to combine biology, statistics, and mathematics to develop predictive mathematical models of biological systems, has been focusing on RNA viruses. The specific virus that The Quantitative Biology Initiative studied, which infects E. coli bacteria, arranges around RNA in what’s called a capsid. After watching this virus assemble, the main driving question scientists now have is how these proteins form the capsid. Viruses are so hard to observe because they are so small. The researchers attached viral RNA to a substrate and flowed proteins over it. Then, using an interferometric microscope, they watched dark spots appear and grow into viruses. Using this method, the researchers could determine how many proteins attached to each RNA.

    Personal Reaction: Scientists know how this virus assembles as well as how it spreads. Thanks to this discovery, it’s possible to find a cure. As well, scientists can observe other viruses and learn how they assemble and spread so that they can form a cure for them as well. This discovery can save thousands of lives once the method is refined and continued. A question I am still left with, however, is will scientists be able to observe other viruses the same way as they did with this one?

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