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  • News in Brief

    Why people with celiac disease suffer so soon after eating gluten

    Researchers finally know why people with celiac disease get nauseous within hours of eating gluten.

    Some immune cells dump stomach-churning levels of immune chemicals called cytokines into the blood soon after the cells encounter gluten, triggering symptoms, scientists report August 7 in Science Advances.

    “When patients ate gluten, symptoms and cytokines went up at the same time,”...

    08/07/2019 - 14:00 Immune Science, Cells, Biomedicine
  • Science Visualized

    Mapping how the ‘immortal’ hydra regrows cells may demystify regeneration

    Hydras seem to have found the fountain of youth, perpetually renewing their cells and regrowing damaged body parts. The tiny tubelike creatures, with a tentacle-ringed mouth and a sticky foot, can regrow their entire bodies from just a scrap of tissue.

    These freshwater invertebrates’ regenerative superpowers hinge on three groups of stem cells that develop into specific cells of the...

    07/26/2019 - 12:14 Cells, Development, Animals
  • News

    Droplets of these simple molecules may have helped kick-start life on Earth

    For the origin of life on Earth, ancient puddles or coastlines may have had a major ripple effect.

    A new study shows that a simple class of molecules called alpha hydroxy acids forms microdroplets when dried and rewetted, as could have taken place at the edges of water sources. These cell-sized compartments can trap RNA, and can merge and break apart — behavior that could have encouraged...

    07/22/2019 - 15:24 Chemistry, Evolution, Cells
  • News

    Boosting a gut bacterium helps mice fight an ALS-like disease

    A friendly gut bacterium can help lessen ALS symptoms, a study of mice suggests.

    Mice that develop a degenerative nerve disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, fared better when bacteria making vitamin B3 were living in their intestines, researchers report July 22 in Nature. Those results suggest that gut microbes may make molecules that can slow...

    07/22/2019 - 11:00 Neuroscience, Cells, Biomedicine
  • News in Brief

    This body-on-a-chip mimics how organs and cancer cells react to drugs

    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...

    06/19/2019 - 14:00 Biophysics, Technology, Cells
  • News

    Key parts of a fruit fly’s genetic makeup have finally been decoded

    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...

    05/17/2019 - 12:05 Genetics, Cells, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Resurrecting woolly mammoth cells is hard to do

    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...

    03/18/2019 - 07:00 Genetics, Cells, Animals
  • 50 years ago, doctors lamented a dearth of organ donors

    Number of donors drops —

    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, 1969

    Update

    Candidates for heart or other organ...

    03/12/2019 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Cells, Technology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Skeleton Keys’ unlocks the history and mysteries of bones

    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...

    03/08/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Anthropology, Cells
  • News

    How helpful gut microbes send signals that they are friends, not foes

    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...

    03/07/2019 - 14:26 Cells, Immune Science, Microbiology