Current Event Summaries by Aspen L.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Aspen L.

  1. Title- Ultrasound can reveal gene expression in the body
    Author- Arash Farhadi
    Website- Science Daily
    Date- September 28th, 2019

    Summary- Researching are trying to develop a new way for imaging gene expression with ultrasound by combong virus DNA and human bacteria. Some of the most important tools that scientists use are parts of DNA that show cell function. These markers allow scientists to understand what cells are doing by observing genetic programs embedded in the DNA. These genes work by changing the cell to be seen from the outside of the cell. If a scientists want to learn more about a gene, they just need to insert the GFP gene next to the neuronal gene of an embryo’ DNs. When doing this, the embryo’s cells will express the GFP gene and the cells will glow green so the scientists can identify if the gene is active or not. Even though this technique has been very useful, there is a small limitation that prevents scientists from monitoring cell activity. The light does not penetrate well through the living tissue which means the GFP gene can not be used to monitor activity. Researcher should create a way to engineer a cell to form nanostructures when a genetic program was coveted, then the cells would be highlighted when exposed to an ultrasound. The biggest differences in bacteria is that it is common to have many genes arranged in the DNA that they act as on shared piece of RNA which is translated to corresponding proteins. Scientists now use elements to trick the cell into producing multiple genes from a shared piece of RNA. Scientists have tried to combine 8 genes on one piece of RNA and this concluded to be ineffective and the scientists did not have a complete solution. This technique is still in the works and has been for nearly 20 years but scientists believe it is key proof of concept.

    Personal Reaction- I think if this technique ever gets fully developed, it could be very effective and useful for us. I think using the technology for gene expression can help us better understand the body more thoroughly. When reading this article, it reminded me of the lab conducted where we observed our cells by using blue dye. The scientists are trying to see different types of gene activity while we were observing cells. I wonder if this new technique will be safe and effective.

  2. Title:Studying proteins moving (relatively) slowly
    Author: Laura Arenschield
    Website: Science daily
    Date Published: September 18

    Summary: Scientists had a fundamental breakthrough that could open a new line of research in trying to understand proteins in our bodies. A study was conducted which changed the way we measure proteins. Before this study, we could only view proteins that were moving faster than a nanosecond. Researchers have found a way to measure how proteins act at slower speeds like microseconds rather than nanoseconds. This discovery could possibly open a new line of research for scientists trying to figure out how the proteins in our body behave. The tools that scientists use to measure proteins was incapable of measuring the behavior of proteins until this discovery. Scientists that proteins that are bonded with silica make them visible to scientists which means we can analyze their movements. Scientist began experiments on nanoparticles like cell extracts that are larger than proteins which could help make protein behavior more visible to scientists. His experiments worked and he said that it was like creating a new type of microscope that could help us observe something no one has seen before. We can now better understand how our proteins function and what they actually do.

    Personal Reaction- I think this could be revolutionary to the way we study proteins. Proteins are a crucial part of our body and i think any way to learn more about something that important should be carried out. With this discovery, we can learn more about cells and how they work. We can also create new job opportunities and research opportunities. When we studied proteins, we learned that proteins help with most cell structure and function. I think that learning more about things that help with basic life sustainment will help us more fully understand the body and deeper our studies of cell.

  3. Title: Human hearts evolved for endurance
    Author: Robert E. Shave
    Website: Science daily
    Date Published: September 16th

    Summary: This article is about how humans hearts have changed over time to adapt to how we live our lives today. Major physical changes have happened as the human heart shifted from coping with us hunting and farming to modern day activity. Chimpanzees, which are our closest known relative, and humans mainly engaged in short bursts of energy which can create pressure in out hearts over time. Due to this, scientists believe our hearts have changed to help adapt to our needs. Humans now have longer and thinner walls in their hearts while chimpanzees have thicker-walled hearts that are smaller. Scientists wanted to know if those differences could mean our hearts evolved in response to humans. They used a group of 160 participants to carry out a detailed study by examining their hearts to determine the structure and function while doing different activities. The goal of this study was to see if there is a tradeoff between having a heart that helps with endurance activities and having a heart that is better for short bursts of intense activity. Sedentary people appear to have a more ape-like heart that cope with short bursts of high activity. We now know the human heart has evolved to facilitate longer periods of activity rather than short bursts of extreme energy exertion.

    Personal Reaction- This article surprised me a lot. I personally have not put much thought into how our heart function the way to adapt to our lives. I know that we need a heart and lungs that can help sustain us while doing activities like running but I have not thought of how people did not go on runs for fun many years ago. I wonder if our hearts will ever change again. If in the future we end up not less and less physical activity, if our hearts will change and not work as hard. Overall, I feel like I learned a lot from this article and it helped me understand how we as humans have changed overtime.

  4. Title- World’s first three-organoid system opens doors for medical research and diagnosis
    Author- Hiroyuki Koike
    Website- Science Daily
    Date Published- September 25th, 2019

    Summary- This article is about making a large step into organoid development that could lead to transplantable tissue in labs. Organoids which grow from stem cells are small formations of human tissue that perform the functions a many cell types found in full-sized organs. At first, the scientists started eating on skin cells. They converted them back to primitive stem cells then by guiding the cells, these cells formed two early stage cells. The cells were trapped in a gel that is commonly used to promote organoid growth. It is then placed on a thin membrane that is covered in a mixed batch of growth medium. The team of scientists observed the cells transform from a spheroid into meeting at the boundary of each cell. The mergeronig of spheres transformed into branches which lead to new groups of cells that belong to certain organs. Over a 70 days period, these cells continued to multiply and grow into more distinct cells. There was a long-term hope that we would one day be able to grow tissue to be used for human transplantation but there is still work that is needed before we could ever do that. We have a system of human organoids that are connected and this offers much more information than having 3 organoids in disconnected dishes. Growing a set organoids for a specific patients could al9w a more precise diagnosis and lead to a costume treatment to ultimately better the patient. The researchers know that lots of work is needed before beginning clinical trials on humans but they know that day could be closer than ever before.

    Personal Reaction- When I was reading this, I was very surprised at what scientists have accomplishes. Technology like this can help so many people and help create lives. I think if we are able to accomplish and use this in our daily life, it will be able to help so many people and change our society for the better. This could help lower the rate of deaths caused by medical reasons and it could help more people survive their medical issues. I think we should support a study like this because the positives outweigh the negatives by a lot.

  5. Title: Were hot, humid summers the key to life’s origins?
    Author: Thomas D. Campbell
    Website: Science Daily
    Date published: October 4

    Summary- This article is about chemists that have found deliquescent materials, which dissolve in water, and can assist in the building of proteins. Some of the problems of peptides when water is added include the sample drying again and ingredients need to re-mix. Water is a necessary but problematic ingredient. Without water, the biochemistry of life would be impossible, which is why NASA uses as a guide when discovering life on other planets. On Earth, we use water as a medium and the solvent of life even though it can be problematic. Most biological molecules have a process called hydrolysis which is when water breaks apart chemicals. Too much water can flood a developing cell and it could contain evolving biomolecules which in turn pushes them further apart so they can not react with each other. At night, reactions retain water from the atmosphere to form water based solutions at a low temperature which rewets without adding water avoiding the possibility of destruction caused by water. There seems to be minor differences like changing the ambient fluid humidity can actually lead to major differences in the samples. It can change how the samples absorb water which leads to large differences in the yields of reactions they host. Deliquescent salts are quite common and occur in natural environments where they play a role in allowing water to exist in environments that or either too cold or too dry. These mixtures seem to flow seasonally and have significant interest from astrobiologists as it is the only liquid water on the surface of the planet.

    Personal Reaction- Proteins are such a crucial part of our life and discovering something that can help with that could improve human performance. If these deliquescent minerals can truly be used in our daily lives, we could be looking at more proteins in our body and more biological discoveries. Chemists have known that amino acids can lead to peptide bonds but they did not know deliquescent materials could lead to building of proteins. I think if we add salt to this chemical reaction, it could benefit us greatly.

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