Current Event Summaries by Maddy A.

5 Responses to Current Event Summaries by Maddy A.

  1. Maddy Austin says:

    Title: Overnight Changes in Mars’ Atmosphere Could Solve a Methane Mystery
    Author(s): Lisa Grossman
    Published by: Science News
    Date: September 14, 2019

    Article Summary: Methane has been discovered on Mars in the Gale crater. There is some question as to the amount and concentration of the gas. Curiosity rover measured an average methane concentration of 0.41 parts per billion inside the gale crater. The European Space Agency’s orbiter flew over Gale and didn’t find any methane. Curiosity took it’s methane measurements at night on the surface. The European Space Agency’s orbiter flew over the crater during the daytime. According to the article, during the day, the sun warms the air making currents and convection that combine different molecules together, which dilutes and mixes up methane. That is believed to be why the European’s orbiter didn’t pick up any methane.

    Personal reaction: I think that the researchers results could be very interesting. For one thing, it seems like methane on Mars is produced the same way as it is produced on earth. This discovery could possibly lead to life on Mars. At the beginning of the semester we learned that one of the limitations of science is that it cannot provide absolute proof of anything. This articles discovery of the methane is definitely intriguing. Although to date no proof has been found that past or present life exists on Mars.

  2. Maddy Austin says:

    Title: Pandas’ Share of Protein Calories from Bamboo Rivals Wolves’ from Meat
    Author(s): Susan Milius
    Published by: Science News
    Date: September 17, 2019

    Article Summary: Researchers are studying the diet of the giant pandas. They are looking at the large amount of bamboo that the giant pandas are consuming. To test the level of protein, Wei and his colleagues scooped up panda droppings. In the past pandas were mostly carnivores. Yet, with this research, it was found that pandas can extract the energy they need from the bamboo plant. The pandas gut is able to extract more protein than carbs or fat form the bamboo. With this research, Wei’s findings show a shift towards the panda becoming a herbivore. The pandas must graze on the bamboo for an extended amount of time in order to get the necessary protein that is needed.

    Personal Reaction: This article caught my eye. It seemed very interesting because I have always thought pandas are a beautiful animal. It also mentions vegan eating which is a hot topic for us humans. In class, we have done assignments and labs involving the study of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In this particular article, it mentions all of these topics, but focuses mainly on the proteins that the panda needs to thrive. Proteins are essential in both human and animals diets. It is an important building block for cells.

  3. Maddy Austin says:

    Title: Rare view into the Formation of Viruses
    Author(s): John A. Harvard
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 4, 2019

    Article Summary: Researchers are searching for new ways to learn how to fight viruses. They have developed a new technique that shows how viruses come together and explain the kinetics and pathways of a virus. The team of researchers focused only on single strands of RNA viruses for their study. They chose to zero in on RNA viruses because they are the most common types of viruses around. Simple RNA viruses in humans include the West Nile fever, hand foot mouth disease, polio, and the common cold.
    It had been difficult to see how viruses develop due to their small size. The research team used a method known as interferometric scattering microscopy to observe the viruses. This technique has light which scatters off of an object that creates dark spots in a larger field of light. This method does not let the researchers see the virus but does reveal the size and how the size changes over time. This knowledge could allow scientists to design nanomaterials that assemble themselves.

    Personal Reaction: I think that if researchers could design a way to stop the formation of a virus before it could harm a human being, it would be amazing. This article discusses RNA, proteins, and the nucleus within the formation of a capsid. We have also discussed those topics in class. One of the viruses they could stop is the common cold. That would save so many people around the world from the hassle and sickness they have to endure.

  4. Maddy Austin says:

    Title: Resurrecting Wooly Mammoth cells is hard to do
    Author(s): Tina Saey
    Published by: Science News
    Date: October 5, 2019

    Article Summary: Japanese researchers are trying to find a way to clone a woolly mammoth. They used proteins from cells of woolly mammoth remains frozen for 28,000 years. The research team transplanted woolly mammoth nuclei into mouse eggs for the experiment. Even though the cells showed signs of biological activity the mammoth cells did not create a cloned animal. Their study did give evidence to the fact that the nuclei in frozen mammoth cells still held some important proteins. As the mammoth cells were in the mouse eggs, they started to show some signs of beginning to make new cells. This biological activity showed proof the nuclei was still usable after all these years. Quickly however, researchers found the cell activity had discontinued. The mouse and mammoth cells did not form any new cells. Researchers believe what they actually saw from this experiment was the mouse oocyte trying to activate the DNA. It was concluded that the experiment cannot prove weather it was the mouse oocyte or the mammoth nucleus that showed activity. From this study, researchers eralize the problem of using mouse eggs versus a closer related animal such as an elephant. They now see they may have more success using elephant eggs, which would be much more like a woolly mammoth.

    Personal Reaction: I don’t understand why they didn’t use elephant eggs in the beginning of the experiment. To me, it seems confusing why the researchers thought using mouse eggs would work. Elephant eggs would most likely be more size accurate and genetically related. Throughout the article it talks about the proteins and nuclei of cells. In this unit we are talking about cells and what is inside of them. Overall, I think it would be cool to clone a mammoth, but the researchers need to use the appropriate type of cells.

  5. Maddy Austin says:

    Title: Identifying a gene for canine night Blindness
    Author(s): University of Pennsylvania
    Published by: Science Daily
    Date: October 6, 2019

    Article Summary: Scientists have three steps to form a successful gene therapy for inherited diseases. The first step is identifying and characterizing disease. The next step is finding the responsible gene while the last step is to find a solution to correct the disease outcome. A team of scientists from Pennsylvania and Japan identified the first step in congenital night blindness found in dogs. They also discovered the second step, and have found the gene responsible for this disease from which dogs suffer. They intend to continue this study and plan to be able to treat this condition eventually. Certain people have a disease called CSNB which stands for congenital stationary night blindness. This condition is present at birth and can impair quality of life by causing blindness in dim light. This research team by finding the form of CSNB in dogs and identifying the gene mutation causing it may eventually help humans who suffer from the disease. In their research, the scientists found a mutation which affects the LRIT3 gene. It has also been found the LRIT3 mutations have been in people who are affected by CSNB. The research shows the LRIT3 mutation affects ON bipolar cells along with rod cells which are needed for vision in dim light. Fortunately, the retina in the dogs eyes was not affected by the LRIT3 mutation. All of this knowledge gained from the research is now being used in developing a gene therapy to fix the mutation. This research approach is unique to previous studies done on trying to solve the night blindness issues. Finding the mutation and using the ON bipolar cells as a central point of study, may help treat other similar conditions.

    Personal reaction: This research is exciting because it could help people with eye problems. My family has vision issues, so this is a good thing. We haven’t talked much about genetics in class, but I am doing my project over chromosomes, and chromosomes hold all of the genetic information.

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