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Light-based strategy effectively treats carbon monoxide poisoning in rats
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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