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Light-based strategy effectively treats carbon monoxide poisoning in rats

massgeneral.org
  • Oxygen ventilation could be a more effective for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning when coupled with phototherapy.
  • When CO poisoning is associated with lung injury, a typical oxygen treatment is ineffective and sometimes dangerous.
  • For a new treatment, scientists combined light that can detach CO from hemoglobin, with a membrane that enables oxygenation of blood and removal of CO.
  • So far it’s only been tested in rats, where it increased the rate of CO removal by 3 times, and increased the survival rate of treated rats.

Lab-made primordial soup yields RNA bases

nature.com
  • For the first time, chemists demonstrate the reaction that could’ve led to the formation of nucleobases that were the building blocks of RNA.
  • The reaction created adenine, uracil, cytosine and guanine from water and nitrogen, in conditions similar to early Earth.
  • This experiment supports the theory that life began from self-replicating, RNA-based genes, which only later started being stored in DNA.
  • It also shows that appearance of RNA-based life could have happened on many other planets.
  • However, the team warns that we can’t say for sure that this is how life on Earth evolved.

Scientists implant "memories" into bird brains to teach them songs they've never heard

newatlas.com
  • By activating light-sensitive proteins in the brains of zebra finches, scientists have taught these birds how to sing a song that they’ve never heard.
  • Only the length of syllables in the bird’s song was controlled -- areas responsible for other aspects of singing are yet to be uncovered.
  • It was achieved using optogenetics, which means using flashes light to stimulate neurons in the brain.
  • In the future, studies like this could eventually lead to new treatments for speech disorders in humans.

The Biggest Quantum Breakthrough Yet—Literally

popularmechanics.com
  • Quantum superposition (shifting between particle- and wave-like states) shown, for the first time, to be true for a massive molecule consisting of 2,000 atoms.
  • Scientists built the longest interferometer in the world to perform the equivalent of the famous “double-slit experiment”, but on a much bigger scale.
  • By increasing the size of molecules in the experiment over time, it will be possible to find out whether quantum mechanics stop working at a certain scale, or not.

New CRISPR Class Expands Genetic Engineering Toolbox

bme.duke.edu
  • New type of CRISPR gene editing technology successfully used to edit human cell genomes.
  • It’s important because it’s a Class 1 CRISPR system, whereas most scientists could only use Class 2 systems so far.
  • Class 1 systems are more complex, relying on multiple proteins (instead of one) that work in a “Cascade” to target DNA.
  • They make up 90% of CRISPR systems in all bacteria in the world, so harnessing them is a big step for CRISPR technology.

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