There are two ways to look at this: one is upbeat and optimistic, but the other is much darker.
They’re big, they’re slimy, and they’re invasive.
Yum or yuck?
A new treatment from the University of Manchester brings hope for hundreds of millions of people.
OK, just put some extra garlic on it.
A photoreceptor related to odor proteins was found inside the worms — it could lead to a new generation of better sunscreens.
Worms + graphene = great silk.
Schistosoma mansoni might not as famous as other nasty parasitic worms like flatworms or roundworms, but outside the U.S. this pesky bugger infests more than 200 million people. Symptoms range from rash to organ damage to paralysis. For years, patients have had to rely on drugs that ward off the infection, but for remote or communities in the developing world this may be out of the question. There’s a widely available remedy found almost anywhere in the world though, according to Egyptian researchers. And it’s so cheap that it literally grows in the ground: garlic.
Scientists have stumbled on some incredibly old sperm in the wall of a fossilized cocoon in Antarctica. The remains of the long, thin cells represent the oldest animal sperm known to man – 50 million years old.
One of the perks of being a writer for ZME Science is that I frequently get to feature some really amazing, yet bizarre creatures. Take for instance Ottoia prolifica (priapulid) or the penis-worm as it’s also known, for obvious reasons. This phallic creature actually had a throat full of teeth which it used to munch its meaty prey, and the weirdness doesn’t stop here. It could its mouth inside-out and use those teeth for traction so it could easily move about. Talk about double standards. Now, a team has systematically studied these ancient Cambrian fossils (520 million years old) to compile a dentistry handbook to distinguish between other penis worm species. This proved to be wise, since in their compiling work the researchers at University of Cambridge have already reported what they believe to be new Ottoia species.
Parasitic hookworms infect half a billion people worldwide, causing severe health problems like gastrointestinal issues, cognitive impairment and stunted growth in children. As if the challenges weren’t big enough, the parasites are growing resistant to current drugs. Scientists are trying to tackle this by developing new treatments and vaccines based on the worm’s genome. A team of Caltech sequenced the genome of a hookworm species known as Ancylostoma ceylanicum and found the genes that code key proteins involved in infecting hosts. They hope blocking these proteins from being made might save millions from great sorrow and suffering.
One of the most interesting projects in science today are the BRAIN Initiative in the US and the Human Brain Project in Europe, which aim to map all the synapse connections in the human brain, or connectome, and ultimately simulate it. It’s an ambitious project with numerous challenges, but the possible benefits are well worth it. We could finally deconstruct
An unlikely worm might help millions of people fighting alcohol addiction. No, you won’t find it in tequila, but in the labs of neuroscientists at University of Texas at Austin who have engineered Caenorhabditis elegans – one of the most popular animal models in science – to become insensitive to alcohol intoxication. The findings, if replicated on mice and then humans in
A curious specimen which bares a resemblance to the iconic Jedi master Yoda, due to its large lips on either side of the creature’s head reminiscent of the Jedi’s ears, has been recently collected from far, far away in the ocean depths. Upon closer inspection it along with two other creatures have been recognized as distinct species. Dubbed Yoda purpurata, the tiny deep-sea acorn
There are numerous challenges that come with outer Earth colonization of distant planets like Mars, or our neighboring moon, and one of the major issues scientists have addressed is reproduction. Part of a recently published study, scientists have tracked the development of worm cultures in space in an experiment designed to study how micro-gravity and radiation has affected them. Back in 2006, researchers blasted