Month: May 2020

A non-destructive method of analysing molecules in cells

When investigating how tumors grow, or how pharmaceuticals affect different types of cells, researchers have to understand how molecules within a cell react—and interact. This is possible with modern laser microscopy. Until now, however, molecules in cell specimens had to be labelled with fluorescent substances in order to make them visible, and this can distort the very behavior of the molecules. Research groups from Bielefeld University and the University of Hong Kong have developed a laser microscope that works without having to label the molecules. For this, the researchers innovated a unique compact fibre laser instead of the solid-state lasers that had previously been used. The new microscope generates far less noise when in use than customary designs, making it suitable for use in operating rooms. The researchers presented their innovative technology in the journal Light: Science and Applications, which is published by Springer Nature.

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Mergers between galaxies trigger activity in their core

Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) play a major role in galaxy evolution. Astronomers from SRON and RuG have now used a record-setting sample of galaxies to confirm that galaxy mergers have a positive effect on igniting AGNs. They were able to compile about 10 times more pictures of merging galaxies than previous studies by using a machine-learning algorithm.

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A new view on how tissues flow in the embryo

As embryos develop, tissues flow and reorganize dramatically on timescales as brief as minutes. This reorganization includes epithelial tissues that cover outer surfaces and inner linings of organs and blood vessels. As the embryo develops, these tissues often narrow along one axis and extend along a perpendicular axis through cellular movement caused by external or internal forces acting differently along various directions in the tissue (anisotropies). Researchers have long wondered how simple clusters of cells inside developing embryos transform into tissues and organs—how do tissues physically change shape in the embryo? Might they turn from “solids” into “fluids” at specific times in development to make it easier to rapidly sculpt functional tissues and organs?

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Heightened interaction between neolithic migrants and hunter-gatherers in Western Europe

The Neolithic lifestyle, including farming, animal domestication and the development of new technologies, emerged in the Near East around 12,000 years ago and contributed profoundly to the modern way of life. The Neolithic spread rapidly across Europe, mainly along the Danube valley and the Mediterranean coastline, reaching the Atlantic coast around 5000-4500 BCE. The existing archaeogenetic data from prehistoric European farmers indicates that the spread of farming is due to expanding populations of early farmers who mixed little, if at all, with indigenous hunter-gatherer groups. However, until now, no archaeogenetic data were available for France.

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