The tail of a beautiful, feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. It is a huge breakthrough that could help open a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years. From a report on the National Geographic: The semitranslucent mid-Cretaceous amber sample, roughly the size and shape of a dried apricot, captures one of the earliest moments of differentiation between the feathers of birds of flight and the feathers of dinosaurs. Inside the lump of resin is a 1.4-inch appendage covered in delicate feathers, described as chestnut brown with a pale or white underside. CT scans and microscopic analysis of the sample revealed eight vertebrae from the middle or end of a long, thin tail that may have been originally made up of more than 25 vertebrae. NPR has a story on how this amber was found. An excerpt from it reads: In 2015, Lida Xing was visiting a market in northern Myanmar when a salesman brought out a piece of amber about the size of a pink rubber eraser. Inside, he could see a couple of ancient ants and a fuzzy brown tuft that the salesman said was a plant. As soon as Xing saw it, he knew it wasn't a plant. It was the delicate, feathered tail of a tiny dinosaur.
Researchers have discovered a way to program cells to inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 activity. 'Anti-CRISPR' proteins had previously been isolated from viruses that infect bacteria, but now scientists report three families of proteins that turn off CRISPR systems specifically used for gene editing. The work offers a new strategy to prevent CRISPR-Cas9 technology from making unwanted changes.
Starting in 1993 and ending in 2001, ten academic medical centers in the United States screened 76,685 men and 78,216 women for prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers. The question was whether yearly screening could catch cancers early and thus decrease mortality from these diseases. Fifteen-year follow-up results focusing on prostate cancer show little difference in mortality between men screened annually and the control group, some of whom chose to be screened occasionally. According to researchers, the results don't necessarily negate the value of prostate cancer screening, but imply that within the data of this massive trial are clues that inform personalized decisions for subsets of this prostate cancer population.
After decades of eluding researchers because of chemical instability, key metal-oxide clusters have been isolated in water, a significant advance for growing the clusters with the impeccable control over atoms that's required to manufacture small features in electronic circuits.
Researchers have identified a common mechanism underlying separate forms of dystonia, a family of brain disorders that cause involuntary, debilitating and often painful movements, including twists and turns of different parts of the body. The research has led to the development of a new cell-based test that is being deployed on a large scale to identify new drug candidates to treat dystonia.
One of the most sophisticated networks of acoustic detectors ever developed for wildlife science has documented a devastating 34 percent per year decline of Mexico's critically endangered vaquita porpoise, according to a new study. A companion article uses both acoustic and visual surveys to estimate that only about 60 vaquitas remained, as of last year.
What we see in the periphery, just outside the direct focus of the eye, may sometimes be a visual illusion, according to new findings. The findings suggest that even though our peripheral vision is less accurate and detailed than what we see in the center of the visual field, we may not notice a qualitative difference because our visual processing system actually fills in some of what we 'see' in the periphery.
A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has identified six loci or regions of the human genome that are significantly linked to personality traits, report researchers. The findings also show correlations with psychiatric disorders.
Researchers have developed a way to use commercial inkjet printers and readily available ink to print hidden images that are only visible when illuminated with appropriately polarized waves in the terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The inexpensive method could be used as a type of invisible ink to hide information in otherwise normal-looking images.
Turning the theory of how the human brain perceives time on its head, a novel analysis in mice reveals that dopamine neuron activity plays a key role in judgment of time, slowing down the internal clock.
A professional astrophysicist and an amateur astronomer have teamed up to reveal surprising details about an unusual millisecond pulsar (MSP) binary system comprising one of the fastest-spinning pulsars in our Galaxy and its unique companion star.
Evolution is working hard to rescue some urban fish from a lethal, human-altered environment, according to a study. Atlantic killifish living in four polluted East Coast estuaries have adapted to levels of highly toxic industrial pollutants that would normally kill them.
Scientists have created a nanoscale optical element that regulates the flow of light particles at the intersection of two glass fibers like a roundabout. A single atom was used to control the light paths.
Researchers have used the simplest approach yet to produce artificial beta cells from human kidney cells. Like their natural model, the artificial cells act as both sugar sensors and insulin producers.