News in Brief
A new body-on-a-chip system could provide a more holistic view of drug effects than other devices of its kind.
Unlike traditional organ-on-a-chip devices that simulate a single organ (SN: 3/17/18, p. 13), the new setup contains five chambers to house different types of cells, connected by channels that circulate a nutrient solution to mimic blood flow. This is the first organ-on-a-chip...
Some of the most important chapters in fruit flies’ genetic instruction book have finally been decoded.
For the first time, researchers have deciphered, or sequenced, the genetic makeup of all of a multicellular organism’s centromeres — and discovered stretches of DNA that may be key in divvying up chromosomes. Errors in doing that job can lead to cancer, birth defects or death. The team...
Proteins from woolly mammoth cells frozen for 28,000 years in the Siberian tundra may still have some biological activity, claim researchers attempting to clone the extinct behemoths.
Japanese scientists first extracted nuclei, the DNA-containing compartments of cells, from the muscles of a juvenile woolly mammoth called Yuka, discovered in 2010 in northeast Russia. The team then...
Number of donors drops —03/12/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Cells, Technology
Both laymen and surgeons have become faint-hearted about heart transplants.… The rejection and infection problems remain unsolved, and although Dr. [Denton A.] Cooley has performed the greatest number of transplants in the world, he has had to stop operating for lack of donors. — Science News, March 15, 1969Update
Candidates for heart or other organ...
Reviews & Previews
Skeleton KeysBrian SwitekRiverhead Books, $26
At this very moment, voracious cells are eating away at your bones. Not to worry, though — that’s just a normal part of bone maintenance in healthy adults. The formation of new bone cells balances out the removal of old bone cells. Although bone-making cells rev up when a bone breaks or disease sets in, eventually bone-eating cells kick...
Some gut bacteria really put the hooks into their host — but in a good way. Observations in mice show that certain filamentous microbes use a hooklike appendage to send messages that researchers believe are aimed at preventing immune cells from attacking the microbes.
The finding, reported in the March 8 Science, could help explain how an immune system distinguishes friendly gut bacteria...
Mama bears may need to raise their snouts and join the chorus protesting junk food.
The more sugary, highly processed foods that 30 female black bears scrounged from humans, the less time the bears were likely to spend hibernating, researchers found. In turn, bears that hibernated less tended to score worse on a test for aging at the cellular level, wildlife ecologist Rebecca Kirby and...
Letters to the Editor
Dad’s contribution02/26/2019 - 06:00 Cells, Anthropology, Oceans
Scientists have long thought that children inherit mitochondria — tiny energy factories found in cells — from only their mothers. But data from three unrelated families suggest that in rare cases children can also inherit mitochondria from their fathers, Tina Hesman Saey reported in “Dads, not just moms, can pass along mitochondrial DNA” (SN: 1/19/19, p. 8).
Chloroplasts may seem like docile farmers of light. But inside these microscopic plant and algal cell structures lurks the spirit of a warrior.
When a pathogen attacks a plant, chloroplasts stop making food from sunlight and rush to the site of infection to help fend off the invader. Now, researchers have identified the protein that mobilizes these organelles into a defensive army....