Evidence of an Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines

In 2007, during an excavation on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, archeologist Armand Salvador Mijares discovered a 67,000-year-old foot bone that led scientists to rethink the history of human evolution.  The bone had features resembling hominins – a subfamily of primates comprised of modern Homo sapiens and others closely related human species.  The finding provided the earliest direct evidence of human presence in … Continue reading Evidence of an Ancient Human Species Unearthed in the Philippines

Pain works differently between the sexes

For a long time, scientists did not often carefully consider sex as a variable in their research, and often worked with only male or only female animals depending on the ease of housing and handling these animals. In 2016, the NIH began requiring grant applications to justify the choice of sex of experimental animals, as part of a growing movement to consider sex as a … Continue reading Pain works differently between the sexes

Jellyfish-inspired electronic skin can heal itself under water

Skin is the largest organ in human body, and can sense important information such as pressure, temperature and pain. This waterproof barrier protects us from infections and can heal itself. Electronic skins are soft and flexible electronics that mimic the functions of skin in one or multiple aspects, and can give robots or even prosthetic limbs the sensations of real skin. However, unlike real skin, … Continue reading Jellyfish-inspired electronic skin can heal itself under water

A New Kind of Twin

Researchers in Australia have found the second-ever documented case of semi-identical twins, who share all the DNA from their mother but have different sets of genes from their father. A potential mechanism for such an uncommon occurrence is the fertilization of a single egg by two sperm cells. However, this scenario typically results in an inviable pregnancy, raising the question of what specific conditions allowed for the proper development of these twins. Continue reading A New Kind of Twin

Scientists create an expanded 8-letter DNA genetic code

Each cell in a living organism has an instruction manual known as the genome. These instructions are spelled out using letters, called bases, that pair with one another to form long double-stranded molecules of helical DNA. Life as we know it uses 4 bases called A, C, T, and G. Recently, scientists expanded this alphabet to include 8 bases – 4 natural and 4 artificial. … Continue reading Scientists create an expanded 8-letter DNA genetic code

Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

In December 2018, a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world when he revealed the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies. While it is clear that Jiankui egregiously violated university regulations and ethical standards, his announcement has since ignited a heated international dialogue about the permissibility of human embryonic gene editing. Currently, there are scientists in the United States working in university laboratories, … Continue reading Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

The concept of mind control sounds like something that only exists in sci-fi movies. Until now. Recent work from Zhejiang University on developing a system appears to allow human mind control over the rat’s movements. This “brain-to-brain interface”, or BBI, is achieved by wirelessly coupling the brains of a human operator and a “rat cyborg” and transmitting brain activity in real time. Brain cells communicate … Continue reading Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, … Continue reading Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

A study of the mouse brain found that a region involved in processing visual motion does not depend on the area thought to be the primary source of visual information, but rather a separate structure. While a similar discovery in the analogous region of primates has yet to be made, this suggests the presence of non-conventional pathways in sensory processing and highlights that, even in widely studied areas, there is still much to learn. Continue reading Double Vision: A Second Visual Pathway in Mice

Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake

The frozen desert of Antarctica is not exactly a place you would want to call home. But under its surface lies an unexplored, watery world of subglacial lakes and rivers stretching for millions of square miles, the ice above exerting enough pressure to keep them from freezing. But when scientists found a diverse bacterial haven in the secluded lakes, they were mystified: What other organisms … Continue reading Breaking the ice: Scientists find signs of ancient life in submerged Antarctic lake