*Membership spots not really limited!
So...not quite old as GOSD then....
*Membership spots not really limited!
In what seems like a plot straight out of a low-budget science-fiction film, scientists have revived a giant virus that was buried in Siberian ice for 30,000 years — and it is still infectious. Its targets, fortunately, are amoebae, but the researchers suggest that as Earth's ice melts, this could trigger the return of other ancient viruses, with potential risks for human health.
The newly thawed virus is the biggest one ever found. At 1.5 micrometres long, it is comparable in size to a small bacterium. Evolutionary biologists Jean-Michel Claverie and Chantal Abergel, the husband-and-wife team at Aix-Marseille University in France who led the work, named it Pithovirus sibericum, inspired by the Greek word 'pithos' for the large container used by the ancient Greeks to store wine and food. “We’re French, so we had to put wine in the story,” says Claverie. The results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A University of Alberta diamond scientist has found the first terrestrial sample of a water-rich gem that yields new evidence about the existence of large volumes of water deep beneath the Earth.
An international team of scientists led by Graham Pearson, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Resources at the U of A, has discovered the first-ever sample of a mineral called ringwoodite. Analysis of the mineral shows it contains a significant amount of water—1.5 per cent of its weight—a finding that confirms scientific theories about vast volumes of water trapped 410 to 660 kilometres beneath the Earth, between the upper and lower mantle.
sdsichero wrote:What the--?
Giant virus resurrected from 30,000-year-old ice
I love science but...
A team of scientists may have detected a twist in light from the early universe that could help explain how the universe began. Such a finding has been compared in significance to the detection of the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012.
What they detected is known as primordial B-mode polarization and is important for at least two reasons. It would be the first detection of gravitational waves, which are predicted to exist under Einstein’s theory of relativity but have never before been seen. But the thing that has scientists really excited is that it could provide the first direct evidence for a theorized event called inflation that caused the universe to exponentially grow just a fraction of a fraction of a second after it was born.
“Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,” astronomer John Kovac of Harvard, who led the team announcing the discovery today, in a press release.
Though the team’s work will still need to be confirmed by other experiments, it is already generating a huge amount of interest. It would give physicists a look at the hot and violent early universe, when temperatures were 13 orders of magnitude greater than what can be achieved at the LHC. And it could help solve some lingering problems with our models of the Big Bang and the origins of the universe.
“This is literally a window back to almost the beginning of time itself,” said physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who was not involved with the work but who has studied inflation.
Now you might be asking yourself how primordial B-modes could be so important if you’ve never heard of them. Though not well known outside cosmologists’ meetings, primordial B-modes have been called the “first tremors of the Big Bang.”
By incorporating nanomaterials into the energy-producing structures inside plants, scientists have managed to turn an ordinary plant into a super plant (no phone booth required). The team used carbon nanotubes to enhance the photosynthetic ability of chloroplasts and triple a plant’s energy-producing potential.
The carbon nanotubes expand the range of light wavelengths that activate a plant’s photosynthetic systems. Even at their most productive, plants can normally only absorb about 10 percent of full sunlight. So, science to the rescue.
Scientists have an awesome word for things that look like they’re dead but aren’t really dead: cryptobiosis. Crypto for hidden, and biosis for life. Lots of organisms can do this. Scientists have previously revived microbes stuck in permafrost for tens of thousands of years. But for multicellular organisms like plants and animals, the record for suspended animation has been a decade or two at most.
A new study shatters that record.
A team of British researchers drilled core samples from moss beds on Signy Island, off Antarctica, and took slices from different depths back to the lab. Then they warmed up the samples in an incubator and exposed them to light to see if they could get anything to grow. They weren’t optimistic. The deepest layers from their Antarctic cores were more than 1,500 years old.
And the record for getting frozen plant material to start growing again was no more than 20 years. (Among animals it’s even shorter: Brine shrimp, aka Sea Monkeys, can be rejuvenated after a couple years in dry, freezing conditions; tardigrades, bizarre little eight-legged, water-dwelling creatures, can be revived after as much as a decade.)
To the researchers’ surprise even the oldest mosses in their core samples began to grow new shoots, they report today in Current Biology. Perhaps even older mosses could be coaxed into growing, they write. The oldest Antarctic moss banks are 6,000 years old.
Scientists discovered a way to reverse the process of aging — and no, they didn’t invent another skin cream. Instead, a team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh has, for the first time, succeeded in regenerating a living organ in an animal.
The team manipulated a single protein in very old mice that caused their bodies to rebuild their thymuses — an organ that produces white blood cells. After receiving the treatment, the senior citizen mice not only had thymuses that were similar in structure to a young whippersnapper’s, but they were also twice as large.
Here’s the catch: The mice were genetically modified, which enabled their bodies to increase levels of the protein in response to a drug administered by researchers. Therefore, the experiment simply demonstrates that regeneration is possible. Researchers will still need time to figure out how this protein trigger could work safely in humans.
TOKYO - A cosmic mystery is uniting monks and scientists in Japan after a cherry tree grown from a seed that orbited the Earth for eight months bloomed years earlier than expected—and with very surprising flowers.
The four-year-old sapling—grown from a cherry stone that spent time aboard the International Space Station (ISS)—burst into blossom on April 1, possibly a full six years ahead of Mother Nature's normal schedule.
Its early blooming baffled Buddhist brothers at the ancient temple in central Japan where the tree is growing.
"We are amazed to see how fast it has grown," Masahiro Kajita, chief priest at the Ganjoji temple in Gifu, told AFP by telephone.
"A stone from the original tree had never sprouted before. We are very happy because it will succeed the old tree, which is said to be 1,250 years old."
The wonder pip was among 265 harvested from the celebrated "Chujo-hime-seigan-zakura" tree, selected as part of a project to gather seeds from different kinds of cherry trees at 14 locations across Japan.
The stones were sent to the ISS in November 2008 and came back to Earth in July the following year with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, after circling the globe 4,100 times.
Some were sent for laboratory tests, but most were ferried back to their places of origin, and a selection were planted at nurseries near the Ganjoji temple.
By April this year, the "space cherry tree" had grown to around four meers (13 feet) tall, and suddenly produced nine flowers—each with just five petals, compared with about 30 on flowers of the parent tree.
It normally takes about 10 years for a cherry tree of the similar variety to bear its first buds.
The Ganjoji temple sapling is not the only early-flowering space cherry tree.
Of the 14 locations in which the pits were replanted, blossoms have been spotted at four places.
Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.
While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.
"The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind's quest to find truly Earth-like worlds."
Although the size of Kepler-186f is known, its mass and composition are not. Previous research, however, suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky.
For the first time scientists have used cells from a woman with type 1 diabetes to create cloned human embryos from which they extracted embryonic stem cells.
The American-Israeli team also coaxed the stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells, the kind lost in patients with type 1 diabetes.
"These stem cells could therefore be used to generate cells for therapeutic cell replacement," research leader Dieter Egli, from the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute, said.
Embryonic stem cells are capable of transforming into any tissue in the body, not just insulin-producing cells. Therein lies their medical potential – to regenerate tissue or organs for transplant.
The benefit of stem cells obtained from cloned human embryos is they are genetically matched to the person who donated the adult cell, meaning they could be used to personalise therapies for a range of crippling diseases, not just diabetes.
But somatic cell nuclear transfer – the technique used to create Dolly the sheep – is ethically controversial in humans because it involves the creation of embryos for research that are subsequently destroyed.
To obtain stem cells from the cloned human embryo, the nucleus of a skin cell from the woman with type 1 diabetes was transferred into a donated human egg, which had had its nucleus removed.
The cells grew into early-stage embryos, or blastocysts, that gave rise to human embryonic stem cells. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature.
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