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Science News Staff

Science Ticker

Science Ticker

Slug slime inspires a new type of surgical glue

new adhesive on a pig heart

OZY INSPIRATION Gelatinous slug slime inspired a new adhesive, which sticks strongly to wet surfaces such as this pig heart.

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For a glue that holds up inside the body, turn to the humble slug, Arion subfuscus. A new super-sticky material mimics slug slime’s ability to stick on slick wet surfaces and could lead to more effective medical adhesives.

The material has two parts: a sticky layer that attaches to a surface, and a shock-absorbing layer that reduces strain. That makes the adhesive less likely to snap off.

Researchers tested the material as a surgical adhesive in a number of different scenarios: It stuck to pig skin and liver. It latched on to a beating pig’s heart, even when the surface was coated in blood. It sealed up a heart defect, preventing liquid from leaking even when the organ was inflated and deflated tens of thousands of times. And it was less toxic in the body than a commonly used commercialized tissue adhesive, researchers report July 28 in Science.

The researchers hope the material could someday be used in surgical procedures in place of invasive sutures and staples.

STICK AND STRETCH This adhesive prototype can stick to the slick surface of a pig heart — and remain attached even when stretched. Jianya Li, Adam D. Celiz, David J. Mooney


Elephant seals recognize rivals by the tempo of their calls

By Laurel Hamers 12:00pm, July 20, 2017
The distinct sputtering-lawnmower sound of a male elephant seal’s call has a tempo that broadcasts his identity to competitors.
Planetary Science,, Astronomy

New Horizons’ next target caught making a star blink

By Lisa Grossman 7:00am, July 20, 2017
The team behind the spacecraft that visited Pluto has seen its next quarry blocking the light from a distant star.
Robotics,, Plants

This robot grows like a plant

By Helen Thompson 5:26pm, July 19, 2017
A new soft robot navigates its environment by growing in a manner inspired by plants.
Climate,, Science & Society

Rising temps may mean fewer passengers on airplane flights

By Maria Temming 5:30am, July 13, 2017
Global warming could force airplanes to carry a lighter load — and fewer passengers —on each flight.
Genetics,, Technology

CRISPR adds storing movies to its feats of molecular biology

By Helen Thompson 7:09pm, July 12, 2017
Video and images could be stored in living bacteria with a little help from the iconic gene editor, CRISPR.
Planetary Science

Here are Juno’s first close-ups of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

By Lisa Grossman 1:22pm, July 12, 2017
The Juno spacecraft swooped just 9,000 kilometers above Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on July 10. Here are the first pictures.

Teeny-weeny star vies for title of smallest known

By Emily Conover 7:00am, July 12, 2017
A Saturn-sized star is one of the smallest yet discovered.
Animals,, Ecology,, Science & Society

Whales feast when hatcheries release salmon

By Susan Milius 7:05pm, July 11, 2017
Whales: “They’re 40 feet long and they’re feeding on fish that are the size of my finger.”
Astronomy,, Cosmology

The most distant star ever spotted is 9 billion light-years away

By Lisa Grossman 4:51pm, July 11, 2017
A bright blue star sends its light from two-thirds of the way across the universe, thanks to a chance alignment with a galaxy cluster.
Planetary Science

Juno will fly a mere 9,000 km above Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

By Maria Temming 7:00am, July 7, 2017
Juno is about to get up close and personal with Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
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