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News on Science and Research

Read the latest from the world of science, including news on research projects and results. The news is kindly supplied by idw (Informationsdienst Wissenschaft).

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Iceman Ötzi had bad teeth For the first time, researchers from the Centre for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich together with colleagues abroad have been able to provide evidence of periodontitis, tooth decay and accident-related dental damage in the ice mummy 'Ötzi'. The latest scientific findings provide interesting information on the dietary patterns of the Neolithic Iceman and on the evolution of medically significant oral pathologies.
Surprising Findings in Fish Genome It is a popular aquarium fish: the platyfish, Xiphophorus maculatus. It is valued by researchers as an important model organism in the search for genetic trigger factors of skin cancer. Together with colleagues from the USA, University of Würzburg biochemist Manfred Schartl has decoded the genome of this fish species.
Blockade of pathogen's metabolism The search for new antibiotics: Tiny proteins prevent bacterial gene transcription In the search for new antibiotics, researchers are taking an unusual approach: They are developing peptides, short chains of protein building blocks that effectively inhibit a key enzyme of bacterial metabolism. Now, scientists at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) in Saarbrücken, a branch of the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI), have published their findings and the implications for potential medical application in the scientific journal ACS Chemical Biology.
Particles Changing Angle: Unexpected Orientation in Capillaries When small particles flow through thin capillaries, they display an extremely unusual orientation behaviour. This has recently been discovered by a research team led by Prof. Stephan Förster and Prof. Walter Zimmermann (University of Bayreuth). The participating scientists of Bayreuth University, the Radboud University Nijmegen, the research centre DESY in Hamburg, and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen report their new findings in the scientific journal PNAS. The discovery is of major importance for spinning processes designed for the production of synthetic fibres, and the understanding of vascular stenosis.
MDC and FMP Researchers Identify Edema Inhibitor Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) and the Leibniz Institute of Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) in Berlin-Buch, Germany, have now detected a substance that can prevent the accumulation of fluid in body tissue and thus edema formation. The results of Dr. Jana Bogum (MDC/FMP) from the MDC research group led by Professor Walter Rosenthal and PD Dr. Enno Klußmann could be important in the future for the treatment of excessive fluid retention in patients with chronic heart failure. Using a novel approach, the researchers have also discovered a new molecular mechanism controlling water homeostasis in the kidneys (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, doi:10.1681/ASN.2012030295)*.
Power struggles are best kept out of the public eye: Audiences influence status after quails fights Does the presence of an audience influence the behaviour and the testosterone changes of Japanese quails after a fight? Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen found evidence that both winners and losers exhibit raised testosterone levels after a conflict without an audience. Furthermore, both maintained their social status within their group. With an audience, on the other hand, this remained true for winners, but not for losers: they had neither raised testosterone levels nor were they able to maintain their dominant status within the group. Thus, informed audiences determine the future social status of a male, while testosterone plays a secondary role.
"Smart Systems" Require Innovations of Microelectronics - edaWorkshop13 with Comprehensive Program From Mai 14 - 16, 2013 international science and economic experts will get together at the edaWorkshop13 in Dresden for the publication and discussion of application-oriented EDA research findings, that lead to innovations in microelectronics which are mandatory for "Smart Systems" as well as applications in the sector of electric cars, energy supply etc. The edaWorkshop is an excellent platform for scientists, academic researchers and industry to present application-oriented EDA research findings, exchange ideas and conclude further assignments.
Tracing Photochemical Reactions When light hits organic molecules, it triggers processes that are of considerable interest to scientists. But the individual steps of the reaction are very hard to identify. A study group at the University of Würzburg has now accomplished this task - with a sophisticated approach.
Innovative Tomographic Imaging Process Scanning Laser Optical Tomography (SLOT) is a fast method which can be used for imaging biological tissue or complete organs in a high 3-D resolution. The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has filed a patent application for a SLOT process, which was originally developed as a 3-D fluorescence process for quickly scanning larger samples. SLOT, which can...
Stem cells fill gaps in bones Large defects will heal more quickly RUBIN: Reducing recovery time by months For many patients the removal of several centimetres of bone from the lower leg following a serious injury or a tumour extraction is only the beginning of a long-lasting ordeal. Autologous stem cells have been found to accelerate and boost the healing process. Surgeons at the RUB clinic Bergmannsheil have achieved promising results: without stem cells, it takes on average 49 days for one centimetre of bone to regrow; with stem cells, that period has been reduced to 37 days.
Wild mice have natural protection against Lyme borreliosis Like humans, mice can become infected with Borrelia. However, not all mice that come into contact with these bacteria contract the dreaded Lyme disease: Animals with a particular gene variant are immune to the bacteria, as scientists from the universities of Zurich and Lund demonstrate. Wild mice are the primary hosts for Borrelia, which are transmitted by ticks.
One extinct turtle less: Turtle species in the Seychelles never existed Dresden, 03.04.2013. The turtle species Pelusios seychellensis regarded hitherto as extinct never existed. Scientists at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Dresden discovered this based on genetic evidence. The relevant study was published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
Clockwork in the eye of a fly The blue-light pigment cryptochrome is important in regulating the circadian clock of many organisms. Scientists have now discovered that in the fruit fly Drosophila it also intervenes in the visual process. The central experiments involved were conducted at the University of Würzburg's Biocenter.
Kühne Logistics University Students Develop Logistics Quiz iPhone App The students in the Master in Global Logistics program at Kühne Logistics University (KLU) - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung - have developed a new Logistics quiz in their Supply Chain Management course.
Unsettled economic situation leaves mark on microtechnology industry A year ago, the microtechnology, nanotechnology, and advanced materials industry looked out on the year 2012 with quite positive expectations. As it turned out, the unstable economic situation has left its mark on these industries, too. For 2013, at least, the companies expect a slight upwards trend.
Software for Patient-Friendly Radiation Therapy - The SPARTA Research Project Commences on April 1. X-rays can provide much more than radiography for diagnosing bone fractures or internal disease. In the form of high-energy photon beams, cancer can be treated by exposing tumors to a strong dose of targeted radiation. This type of radiation therapy is currently one of the most important treatment methods for cancer; about half of all tumor patients...
The way of science Surprising findings in mitochondrial biology change long-standing ideas on the protein MTERF1 New findings in mitochondrial biology thoroughly change the idea scientists had for 20 years on the role and importance of the protein MTERF1. For the first time, Max Planck researcher Mügen Terzioglu investigated in vivo what was up to now only explored in cell culture. Using the mouse as a model organism, she made a surprising discovery: MTERF1 does after all not play the key role in mitochondrial transcription and translation that was hitherto ascribed to it. Terzioglu's findings will change the way we look at the regulation of mitochondrial function in the cell.
Researchers support Berlin on its way to climate neutrality Berlin aims to be climate neutral in the year 2050 - how this goal can be reached is to be shown by a team of experts from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), on behalf of the Berlin Senate. "Europe and the whole world is monitoring the Berlin metropolis," PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says. "If the German capital is pioneering in climate protection, this is a contribution to maintain the two-degrees-limit in regard to global warming - to achieve this, states have to act as well as bold local authorities."
Fraunhofer SCAI at Hannover Messe 2013: less wasted space and material, more goods and parts SANKT AUGUSTIN. At Hannover Messe 2013 the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI will present its software solutions for the optimized utilization of materials and space in resource-intensive areas. Amongst others, current versions of the software products AutoNester (automated and optimized construction of cutting patterns...
The evolutionary consequences of infidelity Male and female blue tits are hard to distinguish for the human observer. However, in the UV-range, visible to birds, the male is much more colourful. A look at the monogamous mating system again reveals that all is not what it seems: in every second nest are chicks not related to the care-giving father. An already mated male can increase the number of his offspring by siring extra-pair offspring. Emmi Schlicht and Bart Kempenaers of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen investigated if this could be the driving force behind the evolution of sexual dimorphism. However, effects of extra-pair paternity are limited, cuckoldry can even reduce the intensity of sexual selection.