Oct 26, 2020

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Bennu’s near-Earth lifetime of 1.75 million years inferred from craters on its boulders

1.Michel, P. et al. Collisions and gravitational reaccumulation: forming asteroid families and satellites. Science 294, 1696–1700 (2001).ADS  CAS  PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar  2.Bottke, W. F. et al. Linking the collisional history of the main asteroid belt to its dynamical excitation and depletion. Icarus 179, 63–94 (2005).ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar  3.Flynn, G. J. et al. Physical properties of the stone meteorites: implications for the properties of their parent bodies. Chem. Erde 78, 269–298 (2018).CAS  Article  Google Scholar  […]Read full article >
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Caspase-8 protein cuts a brake on immune defences

Activation of the protein caspase-8 can have consequences that include triggering a type of cell death called apoptosis, preventing another type of cell death termed necroptosis, and promoting gene expression that leads to inflammation. How the activity of this single protein regulates these distinct functions is unclear. Writing in Nature, Gitlin et al.1 shed light on how caspase-8 drives pro-inflammatory responses in mammalian cells (Fig. 1). Figure 1 | A target of caspase-8 protein regulates production of defence molecules. a, Receptors from the Toll-like receptor (TLR) superfamily (such as TLR3 and TLR4 or TLR2, TLR7 and TLR9) and the […]Read full article >
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The tale of a mouse-lab mastermind

The plastic tubes winding through my workspace at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, deliver fluids, nutrients and therapeutics to mouse hearts. The still-beating hearts, each the size of a pea, tell us much about heart disease as well as about the processes of regeneration and repair.On this day, I was studying a mouse with a mutation that made it especially sensitive to a high-fat diet. The same mutation has been found in people, so examining that genetic glitch might help us to better understand human metabolic imbalances.The laboratory is home to more than 11,000 strains of mice, in all shapes and sizes. Many of the mice have […]Read full article >
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Neanderthal DNA highlights complexity of COVID risk factors

A key part of tackling COVID-19 is understanding why some people experience more-severe symptoms than do others. Earlier this year, a segment of DNA 50,000 nucleotides long (corresponding to 0.002% of the human genome) was found to have a strong association with severe COVID-19 infection and hospitalization1. Writing in Nature, Zeberg and Pääbo2 report that this region is inherited from Neanderthals. Their results not only shed light on one reason that some people are more susceptible to severe disease, but also provide insights into human evolutionary biology. DNA sequences that are physically close to one other in the genome are […]Read full article >
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How precision medicine paved the way to the first cystic fibrosis drug

Joey O’Donnell died at the age of 12 from cystic fibrosis.Credit: O’Donnell Family Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever Bijal P. Trivedi BenBella (2020) “Woe to the child who tastes salty from a kiss on the brow, for he is cursed and soon will die,” reads a grim prophecy from medieval Europe. This, thankfully, is no longer the case. Children with salty skin — a telltale sign of the genetic disease cystic fibrosis, which ravages the lungs and digestive system — can now live well into adulthood, thanks to the first drugs […]Read full article >

Spike mutation D614G alters SARS-CoV-2 fitness

These Authors contributed equally: Jessica A. Plante, Yang Liu, Jianying LiuWorld Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USAJessica A. Plante, Divya Mirchandani, Dionna Scharton, Kenneth S. Plante & Scott C. WeaverInstitute for Human Infections and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USAJessica A. Plante, Jianying Liu, Bryan A. Johnson, Antonio E. Muruato, Divya Mirchandani, Dionna Scharton, Alexander N. Freiberg, Vineet D. Menachery, Kenneth S. Plante & Scott C. […]Read full article >