Monday, June 21, 2010

Science Watch (June 2010)

M back! Starting off with this week's top scientific stories...:-)

Chimp Wars

Researchers have discovered that gang wars and territory take-overs are not limited to us humans. Our closest cousins, the chimpanzees, are also pretty good at it!
Chimp groups were observed to send out patrols in rival's territories and strategically take out their opponents, subsequently increasing their territory in fatal turf wars.

Scientists 'link-up' Artificial Genome

Craig Venter and Co's $40 million investment finally bore fruit as a 'hollowed-out' bacterium cell rose from the dead and multiplied with a synthetically manufactured DNA molecule.
The USA based team of scientists, lead by Venter, used a computer to link-up alternate base pairs to give a artificial DNA molecule similar to that of a Myco. mycoides. This synthetic DNA when transplanted into a 'dead' specimen of Myco. capricolum which then successfully restarted its operation and reproduced.

Largest bone-bed of dinosaurs discovered near Alberta
A dinosaur bone-bed consisting of thousand's of bones from Triceratops' cousin Centrosaurus was discovered by a group of scientists near the Canadian city of Alberta.
The site is spread over an area of 2.5 km. square and the bones discovered exclusively belong to the herbivore Centrosaurus which lived a good 10 million before its famous, movie-star cousin Triceratops. The number of specimens has been estimated to be at at least over a thousand which also indicates that dinosaur herds were much larger than previously thought.

Out Hidden Sense of Touch
Scientists at the University of Liverpool found out that we have some nerve endings that surround our blood vessels and sweat glands!
Upon research on two volunteers who did not feel any pain but could tell hot and cold things apart and detect variations in applied pressure revealed that they do did not posses the normal nerve fibers associated with pain detection but they did have nerve endings surrounding at blood vessels near the skin as well as sweat glands!

Grafting 'New' Livers
A group of investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital has recently managed to develop a new method for dealing with liver grafts. The researchers say that, in a few years, it may become possible to grow replacement livers using biocompatible tissue scaffolding derived from rat livers, and human-derived cells. Details of the new work will appear in print in an upcoming issue of the esteemed scientific publication Nature Medicine. The research team was based at the MGH Center for Engineering in Medicine.


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