Closer to brewing the perfect beer after scientists sequence barley genome

Barley is a key ingredient in beer, the third most popular drink in the world after water and tea, an industry which currently amounts to $300 billion a year. The quality of the barley greatly influences the savor of beer, so by growing better quality barley we might be able to brew a beer that’s closer to perfection. A worthy

Multivitamins cut cancer risks in middle-aged men

A recent study concluded a daily vitamin dose taken for years dramatically cuts the risk of cancer; the study was conducted on almost 15,000 men over 50 suggests. It’s not yet clear if the same would apply to younger men and/or women. The decrease was almost 10 percent. “Despite the lack of definitive trial data regarding the benefits of multivitamins

Picture of the day: fluorescent chicken embryo

To biologists, chicken eggs are far more than breakfast; this is a picture of a chicken embryo being fed through fluorescent-labeled blood vessels from the yolk.   For a growing embryo, the biggest concern is nutrients; nutrients are transported through blood vessels sprouting independently from the chick to the yolk. With a fluorescent dye each blood network becomes visible, resulting

Pressure to be thin influenced by genetics, study finds

Be tall, be thin, be beautiful. The media has made sure we’re constantly bombarded by such imperatives, and aside from frustrations, some people have gone to such extremes to fit popular media expectations that they end up hurting themselves. This is, sadly, most evident in the case of women, where eating disorders or anorexia are frequently encountered. A new study, however,

Scientists grow mice from dish-cultured sperm and egg

Kyoto University researchers have produced normal, healthy mouse pups after inseminating a foster mother with eggs and sperm derived from stem cells, exclusively grown in a petri dish. This remarkable accomplishment came after last year scientists produced mouse pups from stem cell grown sperm. Their research might lead to the development of novel techniques through which infertile couples may conceive.

Abortion rates plummet when birth control is free

A laudable measure was adopted in Missouri: birth control was made free for women and teens at high risk of unplanned pregnancies. Good results were expected, but nobody really expected them to be this good. Abortion rates saw a massive drop, and the rate of teenage mothers plummeted. If these results were replicated throughout the entire US, 1,060,370 unplanned pregnancies

Black mamba venom – more effective than morphine

I know this sounds much like a joke, how black mamba venom can really ease you of your pain – but it’s not. A painkiller just as effective as black mamba venom but without the unwanted side effects has been found by French researchers in the venom. The predator, like many other snakes, uses neurotoxins to paralyze and kill small

Intelligent nanoparticles drop anti-aging cargo

A group of researchers have successfully tested a novel nanodevice treatment, in which intelligent nanoparticles selectively open and release drugs which target aging cells. The approach could render results when treating patients suffering from diseases involving tissue or cellular degeneration such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, accelerated aging disorders (progeria). It could also boosts results in the cosmetic industry, where anti-aging products are always

Cheap DNA sequencing is a step closer with graphene nanopores

Graphene is the strongest material ever discovered by man, and naturally its applications has been extended to a variety of fields – most recently genetics.  University of Texas at Dallas scientists have used advanced manipulation techniques to shrink a sheet of graphene to the point that it’s small enough to read DNA. This successful attempt now opens doors for the possible introduction

Biochemical reactions that maintain an erection uncovered

For decades now, scientists have known what are the biochemical reactions that trigger a penile erection, however not those that actually maintain it. In a breakthrough, physicians at Johns Hopkins Medicine have finally uncovered the exact biochemical chain of events involved in the process. The findings will hopefully lead to novel medical treatment for patients suffering from erectile dysfunctions – a

Psychopaths can be spotted through a smell test, study says

Australian scientists say that persons with psychopathic tendencies could be spotted through a smell test, correlated with a psychological questionnaire. The link doesn’t lye in the actual odor emanated by a potentially psychopathic person, though, but rather in their sense of smell. The study conducted by Mehmet Mahmut and Richard Stevenson, from Macquarie University, is based on findings which show that people

The only mammals that regenerate tissue: African mice

These little spiny African mice can do something no other mammal can: they completely regenerate damaged tissue, a feat once thought impossible. They may not look as impressive as Wolverine, but they held quite the surprise: Acomys kempi and Acomys percivali have skin so brittle and easily torn that one can only ask… why? What evolutionary joke was played on

Of mind control: scientists manipulate worm and take control of its behavior

In a remarkable feat of science, scientists at Harvard University have surpassed seemingly insurmountable technological challenges have managed to take over the behavior of a lab worm. Using precisely targeted laser pulses at the worm’s neurons, scientists were able to direct it to move in any directions they wanted, and even trick it in thinking there’s food nearby. These fantastic

Micro-beads based system could allow for instant laboratory analysis

Harnessing the oscillation of magnetic microscopic beads, MIT scientists have carried out experiments which show that it’s possible to develop a tiny device capable of diagnosing biological samples instantly. Such a tiny lab would allow for fast, compact and versatile medical-testing. Tiny magnetic balls, in the micrometer scale or a millionth of a meter, embedded with biomolecules such as antibodies, allow for

Leaders are less stressed than regular employees

Leaders, whether they’re heads of states or business executives, are generally less stressed than non-leaders, contrary to popular belief, according to a recent study from Harvard psychologists, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For the study, the researchers invited 65 non-leaders from various professions and 148 leaders, mainly recruited from a Harvard University executive education program and

Einstein’s brain: now available on iPad

After the most recognized physics figure in the world, Albert Einstein, past away on April 18, 1955, the whole world was left in shock, seeing how he was even by then considered the most famous physicist in history. His dying wish was that of being cremated, however an eccentric physician by the name of Thomas Harvey, a Princeton Hospital pathologist, removed Einstein’s

Hearing restored in gerbils by stem cell treatment – might work for the human ear, too

In an exceptional feat of medical and technical ingenuity, scientists have been able to restore partial hearing to deaf gerbils by implanting modified human embryonic stem cells in their ears. The success rate is pleasing, and offers solid ground on which human trials with a similar treatment might commence. There are many causes which might lead to hearing loss. The

Bacteria replicate close to the limit of thermodynamic efficiency

We often like to think us humans have achieved a remarkable standard of efficiency and development – but a look at the animal life around us is often enough to humble us. Replicating bacteria and physics The common gut bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli, in short) typically takes about 20 minutes to duplicate itself in good conditions – a staggering

How tabby cats earn their stripes – genetics answer

A feline genetic study has revealed that a particular gene variation in a cat’s chromosome is responsible for the stripped fur so many cat lovers adore. According to the researchers, the same gene gives cheetahs, the house cat’s larger and wilder cousin, stripes instead of the regular spots. The research was lead by Stephen O’Brien of the National Laboratory for Cancer

Atlas of the human brain might help identify the mechanics of neural conditions

Neuroscientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle have created an atlas of the human brain, which highlights the activity of genes across the entire organ. The brain map was created after many hard years of labor, and might help scientists from across the world  identify factors that underlie neurological and psychiatric conditions. “The human brain is the most complex structure known