fbpx
01 / 05
In Pursuit of Progress: When Scientists Are Wrong

Nature | Scientific Research

Mice Live Longer When Inflammation-Boosting Protein Is Blocked

“A protein that promotes inflammation could hold the key to a longer, healthier life. Blocking the protein, called IL-11, in middle-aged mice boosted metabolism, reduced frailty and increased lifespan by about 25%.

Although a research team tested for these health effects only in mice, IL-11 and its molecular partners — which include chemical messengers for the immune system called interleukins — also exist in humans. And drug candidates that block IL-11 are already in human trials against cancer and fibrosis, a condition associated with ageing in which scar tissue replaces healthy tissue.”

From Nature.

The Guardian | Scientific Research

Researchers Reconstruct Mammoth’s Genetic Code in Unprecedented Detail

“Researchers have reconstructed the genetic code of the woolly mammoth in unprecedented detail after discovering fossilised chromosomes in the skin of a 52,000-year-old carcass preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

The mammoth’s lavish mane led researchers to name it after Chris Waddle, the mulleted former England footballer. It became freeze-dried on death, a process that preserved the 3D structure of the chromosomes in the animal’s skin.

Armed with the ancient genetic material, scientists were able to assemble the mammoth genome, determine that it had 28 pairs of chromosomes, and see genes that were switched on or off, details that are crucial for understanding what it meant to be a mammoth.”

From The Guardian.

BBC | Scientific Research

The Sperm Whale ‘Phonetic Alphabet’ Revealed by AI

“From elephants to dogs, modern technology is helping researchers to sift through enormous datasets, and uncover previously unknown diversity and complexity in animal communication. And Ceti’s researchers say they, too, have used AI to decode a ‘sperm whale phonetic alphabet’.

In 2005, Shane Gero, biology lead for Ceti, founded The Dominica Sperm Whale Project to study the social and vocal behaviour of around 400 sperm whales that live in the Eastern Caribbean. Almost 20 years – and thousands of hours of observation – later, the researchers have discovered intricacies in whale vocalisations never before observed, revealing structures within sperm whale communication akin to human language.”

From BBC.

Associated Press | Scientific Research

Nobel-Winning Technique Like “Google Earth for Molecules”

“Three researchers won a Nobel Prize on Wednesday for developing a microscope technique that lets scientists see exquisite details of the molecules that drive life — basically providing a front-row seat to study these tiny performers in their biological dance.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said molecules can be captured down to the level of their atoms, and snapshots can catch them in mid-movement. That can help reveal how they interact…

The detailed images may pave the way for developing new medicines, vaccines and industrial chemicals, but experts said such payoffs are largely in the future.”

From Associated Press.