EteRNA – an online video game connects players into a real biochemistry lab

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EteRNA

The latest research rage is crowdsourcing – Kickstarter to raise funding, screen savers that number-crunch, and games to find patterns in data – but most efforts have been confined to the virtual lab of the Internet. Researchers have now crowdsourced their experiments by connecting players of a video game to an actual biochemistry lab.

 

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Science might have gotten it wrong. Now what?

The debate started in late 2011, when Chen-Yu Zhang’s team f found bits of rice RNA floating in the bloodstreams of Chinese men and women.

Last week, freelance journalist Virginia Hughes wrote about a scientific paper that was published in the elite journal Nature in 1995.  The findings of said paper were called into question by several other papers in different journals within a couple of years. As of today, nearly two decades since the original came out, nobody has replicated it. And yet, it’s still sitting there in the literature, still influencing others. It’s been cited nearly 1,000 times.

 

 

 

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Scientists discover the secret to what makes us itch

What makes us itch?

Scientists  now know the secret. In what will be a boon for millions of people with chronic itch conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, a small molecule released in the spinal cord has now been found to trigger a process that is later experienced in the brain as the sensation of itch.

 

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Surgical Tool Sniffs Out Cancer

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This machine uses mass spectrometry to make molecular maps of tissue during surgery.

In the hope of helping oncologists remove every piece of tumor tissue during surgery, researchers are developing new imaging tools that work in real time in the operating room. European researchers have now demonstrated that a chemical analysis instrument called a mass spectrometer can be coupled with an electroscalpel to create a molecular profile of tissue during surgery. The researchers have shown that the method can be used to map out different tissue types and distinguish cancerous tissue. The device will begin clinical trials next month.

 

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Could Alien Life Be Thriving On Saturn’s Frozen Moon?

Could There Be Alien Life Be Thriving On Saturn’s Frozen Moon?

 The surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus shows evidence of ongoing geological activity 

Alien life could have evolved on one of Saturn’s moons, scientists say.

They have found evidence that seas may lie beneath the frozen surface of Enceladus  – the planet’s sixth biggest moon.
 

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Skin Test Could Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Skin Test Could Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Cultured skin cells (green) from a healthy person (top) and a person with Alzheimer’s disease (bottom).

A novel test that detects enzymes that are dysfunctional in patients with Alzheimer’s disease–and that are found both in the brain and in skin cells–is about to undergo large clinical trials. Researchers at the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI), in Morgantown, WV, who developed the diagnostic have also garnered approval from the Food and Drug Administration to test in humans an experimental drug that activates the enzymes–a mechanism that represents a new therapeutic approach to Alzheimer’s.
 

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Organic Solar Cells Starting To Take Off In The Renewable Energy Field

Organic Solar Cells Starting To Take Off In The Renewable Energy Field

 The flexible solar module is as small as the page of a book.

In the race to renewable energy, organic solar cells are now really starting to take off. They can be manufactured easily and cheaply, they have low environmental impact, and since they are compatible with flexible substrates, they could be used in many applications such as packaging, clothing, flexible screens, or for recharging cell phones and laptops.

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Instant Immunity From A Vaccine

Instant Immunity From A Vaccine

 

A new approach primes antibodies to instantly attack cancers, HIV, and other diseases.

The body’s immune system is often likened to an army, and vaccines to training exercises that build up defenses against pathogens. By exposing the immune system to inactive forms of a virus or bacteria, a vaccine trains antibodies to fight off a real pathogen in the event of an invasion. However, while vaccines prepare antibodies to identify an attacker, they often don’t give specific instructions on exactly how to bring it down. Some antibodies may successfully hit a pathogen’s weak spot, while others may miss the mark entirely. That’s part of the reason why it normally takes several weeks or months for some vaccines to build up an effective immune response.

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Molecular Visualization of DNA

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Here is an amazing CGI visualization of DNA coiling, replication, transcription and translation in real time as is occurring every second in our bodies. For me the most fascinating aspect of watching this is the realization of how the production of DNA in our cells is so industrious. It’s like watching a souped miniature assembly line working non stop!

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