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Successful transplant of bioengineered rat kidney

Bioengineered rat kidneys have successfully produced urine both in a laboratory apparatus and after being transplanted into living animals. The Massachusetts General Hospital scientists behind the breakthrough believe that with further work, bioengineered kidneys could someday replace donor kidneys. In Nature Medicine, the research team describes building functional replacement kidneys on the structure of donor […]

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Fungi make modern violin sound like a Stradivarius

Researcher Francis W. M. R. Schwarze, from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, has used fungi to modify the wood in a modern violin to make it sound indistinguishable from a Stradivarius. The wood used in making a violin plays a critical role in how the finished violin sounds. The particular qualities […]

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Bucky ball “cage” imprisons smaller molecules

A quantum parlor trick where smaller molecules are “caged” inside the nano-meter sized cavity of a spherical bucky ball (C60 Buckminsterfullerene) molecule could point the way to advanced molecular electronics, say scientists from The University of Nottingham. As well as The University of Nottingham, the work also involved scientists from the US, Japan, France, Estonia […]

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Hamburger-shaped raindrops creating twin rainbows

Computer simulations have allowed scientists to identify the curiously named “burgeroid” raindrop as being responsible for a rare optical phenomenon known as the twinned rainbow. Unlike the more common double-rainbow, which consists of two separate and concentric rainbow arcs, the elusive twinned rainbow appears as two rainbows arcs that split from a single base rainbow. […]

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Artificial jellyfish shows new route to synthetic organisms

Using only silicon and cultured rat heart muscle tissue, bioengineers from Caltech and Harvard University have created a jellyfish-like creature that, despite its relative simplicity, shows complex swimming and feeding behaviors. The researchers say the creature – dubbed a medusoid – serves as a proof of concept for reverse engineering a variety of muscular organs […]

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Entropy the major player in chirality conundrum

Why many of the important molecules in our bodies almost always occur in just one chiral form (either right or left handed) when they could potentially exist in either is a mystery that has confounded researchers for years. This mirror-image phenomenon – or “handedness” – has captured the imagination of a UCLA research group led […]

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Top chemical suspects in autism identified

US medical researchers have published their list of the top 10 chemicals believed to be implicated in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Compiled by medicos from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the report also calls for increased research to identify other suspect environmental toxins and the […]

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Heredity and evolution seen in synthetic DNA

DNA and RNA possess two features believed essential for life: they display heredity (pass on genetic information) and they can adapt over time (Darwinian evolution). Now, scientists have shown that heredity and evolution can be performed by molecules other than DNA and RNA. Their findings, appearing in the current issue of Science, shed new light […]

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Water not necessary for life?

The proteins that are vital to living creatures evolved in Earth’s water-rich environment and it was thought that water was vital for proteins to function, but some intriguing new findings from the University of Bristol (UK) challenge this dogma. Proteins consist of one or more polypeptides (chains of amino acids held together by peptide bonds) […]

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Insect cyborgs get onboard power source

Attaching tiny sensors, recording devices and control mechanisms to insects is now a more realistic prospect after the discovery that electricity can be generated using the insect’s digestive system. The researchers, from Case Western Reserve University, stress that the fuel cell does not depend on movement or light; only on normal insect feeding. Details of […]

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