Current Event Summaries by Julia M.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Julia M.

  1. Julia Moser says:

    Title: New Vaccine Prevents Herpes in Mice, Guinea Pigs
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190920145350.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 20, 2019

    Article Summary:
    At the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, a vaccine was developed to protect against genital herpes. They conducted tests on mice and guinea pigs. They gave the vaccine to 64 mice and then later exposed those mice to the disease. They also injected the vaccine into 10 guinea pigs, later exposing them to the disease. Twenty-eight days after the mice were exposed, 63 of them had no signs of the disease and were completely sterile. In the guinea pigs, two of them showed infection, but the researchers later found out that the infection was not in a form that animals could transmit the infection. Harvey Friedman, a professor of Infectious Diseases hopes that the vaccine could eventually be used on humans safely. The vaccine is filled with RNA, which helps create proteins that are necessary for a strong immune response. There is an antibody that blocks the virus from entering the cells. There are two more antibodies that make sure that virus does not stop working.

    Personal Reaction:
    After reading the article, I was interested in how they made the vaccine. I think that this study has been very successful so far based on the results of their tests with mice and guinea pigs. The article talked about how they made the vaccine with RNA and proteins, which we learned a lot about in Unit 1. The proteins are necessary for the vaccination because they help create a strong immune response. The RNA creates the proteins used in the vaccine.

  2. Julia Moser says:

    Title: Ultrasound can reveal gene expression in the body
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190928082737.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 28, 2019

    Article Summary:
    In this article, researchers are coming up with a method by combining virus DNA and human bacteria to image mammalian gene expression with ultrasound. The current technique has chunks of DNA that report the cells’ function. Reporter genes allow researchers to see the cells’ genetic programs that are embedded in their DNA to turn on and off. Reporter genes encode proteins. There is one gene that encodes the green fluorescent protein. Since this protein glows bright green, researchers can insert the GFP with the neuronal gene in an embryo DNA. The cells will then glow green so the researcher can easily see that genetic program. This current technique has one problem, the light is not seen well through most living tissue, so the GFP cannot be used in cells deep in an organism. A solution to this problem has been made by Caltech Mikhail Shapiro. They have developed a reporter gene allowing them to see genetic activity using ultrasound. With this technique, you can see deep in the tissue, which you could not do with the light. To develop these genes, they borrowed proteins from a species of buoyant bacteria that contain gas vesicles. These gas vesicles show up strong in ultrasounds. If the researchers could find a way to form when a specific program was active, the cells would be easily shown in ultrasound.

    Personal Reaction:
    After reading this article, I was interested in how they used the GFP protein to cells to see genetic programming in a cell, but with this protein, you can not see deeply into the organism. I also thought it was interesting how the gas vesicles how up strongly on ultrasound.

  3. Julia Moser 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): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: September 27, 2019

    Article Summary-
    A study of almost 100 years on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef shows that communities in the reef have experienced shifts from local and global environmental change. Phase shifts are when the coral reefs shift to unusually low levels. Back in 1928, an expedition was sent out to study the Great Barrier Reef. The members of the study lived on Low Isles for a year, documenting conditions and changes of the reef. Professor Maoz Fine said that the expedition was very similar to the latest expedition. In the latest expedition, researchers went back to the places that they did in 1928. It was discovered that the reef communities have experiences phase-shifts. The variety of species decline and massive corals have been replaced with branching corals. It is important to avoid these phase-shifts in coral reefs because they make take decades to repair if you even can repair them.

    Personal Reaction:
    After reading this article, I think it will be interesting to see what other methods the researchers use to collect data about the reef. The article states that in the future, researchers hope to use the same methods but also new ones to reconstruct data from other parts of the world. I think that due to the environmental and global changes, that is the reason why the variety of species, the replacement of massive coral with branching corals and the more numerous amount of soft corals are affected. The phase shifts were caused by global and environmental changes.

  4. Julia Moser says:

    Title: Scientists uncover genetic similarities among species that use sound to navigate
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105643.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary:
    Scientists found the similarity that insect-eating- bats and dolphins and killer whales navigate in the dark and murky water. They can do this because of the changes in a set of 18 genes. The two species use their ability to use sound waves to navigate in the dark. There was a debate about if the echolocating bats and whales had undergone genome changes. By going through these independent changes, this gives researchers a better understanding of human physiology and development. Researchers from Stanford came up with a way to look through genome sequences and then later focus on genetic changes shared by animals with unique traits and characteristics. By using this technique, biologists would be able to identify the genetic findings in adaptive traits. Scientists for a long time have wondered if the evolutionary changes occurred through changes in gene sequences are similar across related species. The genes control multiple functions throughout the body. Researchers have found different species share specific genetic changes and that the changes occur in coding genes. The technique was developed for finding genetic sequence similarities between animals sharing unique traits. When the researchers combined data in whole-genome sequences with information about specific genes from multiple species, they developed a tool that can be used in the future.

    Personal Reaction-
    After reading this article, I found it very interesting how the scientists were able to look at each individual genome sequence between two species with similar characteristics and traits. I thought it was cool how they were able to look at the similarities the species share between the trait and also the differences between the species. This relates to what we have learned in class in our past unit. In the sequences, researchers looked for instances where the amino acid changes and where the position of amino acid differed from other mammals.

  5. Julia Moser says:

    Title: Rare view into the formation of viruses
    URL: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004132338.htm
    Author(s): Science Daily
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary-
    Recently, researchers have been able to take images of the formation of individual viruses. This provides new information on how to fight viruses. For a while, the scientists were only able to resolve the structure of viruses but they never know how the structure was assembled. The new technique shows how the viruses assemble in detail. The team of scientists worked on single-stranded RNA viruses. These viruses contain one piece of RNA, 3600 nucleotides and 180 identical proteins. The proteins are arranged in hexagons and pentagons around the RNA. The question the researchers had was how did those proteins manage to form the structure in the virus assembled. The researcher used a technique to determine how many proteins were attaching to the RNA strands over a period of time. Through this experiment, they concluded that the nucleus forms at different times for different viruses, and once the nucleus is formed, the virus grows very quickly and does not stop.

    Personal Reaction-
    After reading this article, I thought it was very interesting how they were able to look at the proteins. They used a technique known as interferometric scattering microscopy, where light scattered off an object creates a dark spot in a larger field of light. They also talked about what the viruses were made of, such as RNA, nucleotides and identical proteins. I connected this to what I learned in the first unit while I reading the article. The team of researchers studying this case is now able to see the assembly of the virus.

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