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New theory proposed on chemical reactions that triggered life

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It is thought that life on Earth has emerged from random reactions occurring over a long period of time among chemical substances present in primordial waters in very large numbers. However, it is not clear how the cellular complexity arose from reactions of this kind.

A new study, conducted by researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the National University of Malaysia, tries to clarify this aspect by proposing an interesting theory. Researchers Tony Z. Jia and Kuhan Chandru show that simple α-hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid, can spontaneously polymerize to form polyester micro-drops when dried at moderate temperatures after rehydration.

These processes could have happened, according to the researchers, on the primordial terrestrial beaches or on the banks of rivers or in dry pools. These environments have favored the formation of biomolecules such as nucleic acids and proteins. The researchers drew inspiration from previous works that showed that a process of drying at moderate temperatures of simple organic compounds such as alpha-hydroxy acids, which can be found for example in meteorites, can lead to a phase of spontaneous polymerization and the formation of long polyesters.

Researchers have therefore shown in the laboratory that these small droplets can also accommodate RNA or protein molecules and thus allow catalysis. Furthermore, the same droplets can favor the formation of a lipid layer on their surface, which probably further encouraged the formation of protocells.

Roy Wilson

I was a former mathematics professor at Delaware Technical Community College before starting my own IT and computer repair business. As I have always loved to read about what's going on in the world of science, I started Turtle Island News in late-2018 with the aim of building up a great resource for people like me who just want to read about the latest research in clear and concise English, without all of the annoying ads and popups. Today, I spend a few hours per week on Turtle Island News and continue to bring on new contributors. In my spare time, outside of working on my business and this publication, I also enjoy jogging, bridge and hiking.

Landline contact number: 302-286-8954
Mobile contact number: 302-981-7680
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Malaria forms resistant to any drug are spreading in Southeast Asia

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According to the results of a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the most resistant forms of human malaria, those of the Plasmodium falciparum parasites, are gaining even more resistance against drugs in Southeast Asia.

These forms have spread quickly since 2015 in various regions of Southeast Asia, from Laos to Cambodia to end with Thailand and Vietnam. Treatment failures are causing alarm among doctors and experts. These forms of malaria seem to be resistant to artemisinin and piperaquine, which is undermining efforts to eradicate the disease in these regions.

According to Olivo Miotto of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and of the University of Oxford, UK, one of the authors of the studies, these results indicate that the resistance of Plasmodium falciparum is becoming a very large epidemiological problem also because this strain seems to spread geographically very quickly invading new territories and acquiring ever more profitable genetic properties that increase resistance even more.

According to Mallika Imwong of the University of Mahidol in Thailand, “to stay one step ahead, continuous surveillance, including genetic surveillance, is needed to map the spread of resistance in real-time, so that other countries can act quickly and change drugs if necessary.”

The Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for nine deaths out of 10 for the case of malaria, a disease which at present infects more than 200 million people around the world.

Roy Wilson

I was a former mathematics professor at Delaware Technical Community College before starting my own IT and computer repair business. As I have always loved to read about what's going on in the world of science, I started Turtle Island News in late-2018 with the aim of building up a great resource for people like me who just want to read about the latest research in clear and concise English, without all of the annoying ads and popups. Today, I spend a few hours per week on Turtle Island News and continue to bring on new contributors. In my spare time, outside of working on my business and this publication, I also enjoy jogging, bridge and hiking.

Landline contact number: 302-286-8954
Mobile contact number: 302-981-7680
Email contact: [email protected]
Roy Wilson
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New species of bioluminescent beetle discovered in China

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A new species of bioluminescent beetle has been discovered in subtropical hardwood forests in the southwestern regions of China.

The new identification, carried out by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences as well as by researchers from other institutes, is related to a new member of the family of elaterids (Elateridae), a family of beetles that is characterized by an unusual behavior: they produce a shot with their own body thanks to which they manage to make jumps to escape predators. They are also called “click beetles” because they produce, by performing this move, an unusual “click.”

The family of elaterids contains about 10,000 species that live around the world but only 200 of them are able to emit light. These species live mainly in Latin America and Oceania and therefore the discovery of a new “luminous” exponent in China bodes well for new species of bioluminescent beetles also in this continent.

As stated by Wen-Xuan Bi, one of the researchers involved in the discovery, the latter occurred in 2017 during an expedition to western Yunnan.

The researchers had noticed a bioluminescent beetle with a single luminous organ on the abdomen. Also, this characteristic is to be underlined: most of the bioluminescent beetles boast the luminous organs on the first of the three thoracic segments of the body or both on the prothorax and on the abdomen. There are very few species that boast these luminous organs only on the abdomen.

The morphological investigation by which researchers also analyzed the genes shows that it is not only a new species but also a new subfamily belonging to the elaterids.

The new subfamily was called Sinopyrophorinae, the new genus was named Sinopyrophorus while the species was named Sinopyrophorinae Schimmel.

Roy Wilson

I was a former mathematics professor at Delaware Technical Community College before starting my own IT and computer repair business. As I have always loved to read about what's going on in the world of science, I started Turtle Island News in late-2018 with the aim of building up a great resource for people like me who just want to read about the latest research in clear and concise English, without all of the annoying ads and popups. Today, I spend a few hours per week on Turtle Island News and continue to bring on new contributors. In my spare time, outside of working on my business and this publication, I also enjoy jogging, bridge and hiking.

Landline contact number: 302-286-8954
Mobile contact number: 302-981-7680
Email contact: [email protected]
Roy Wilson
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Sex change in anemone fish first begins in the brain

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Anemonefish (Amphiprioninae), also called clown fish, are fish of the Pomacentridae family characterized by very vivid colors, usually tending to orange or red with black and white streaks. These fish survive thanks to a highly symbiotic relationship with sea anemones: they always live close to them and feed on the waste they leave.

These fish represent a wonder of creation especially for another reason: they can change sex if there is need. For example, if the last female of a group disappears, a male can become female to continue the reproduction level.

A new study, conducted by Justin Rhodes, a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois, has discovered that this sex change occurs first in the brain and only subsequently involves the gonads and sexual organs, sometimes even after months or years.

The researchers also found that when this change occurs a particular process is triggered in the brain in an area that controls the same gonads. In the study, which appeared in Hormones and Behavior, it is described what appears to be the first case of animals in which the sex change takes place first in the brain and then in the organs.

The change is triggered when, for any reason, the female of the group that lives in the anemone disappears. At this point, the main male companion begins to take on female behaviors and among other things, begins to aggressively defend the “nest,” just like the female did. In this process which then leads to a final sex change, the next larger male becomes his partner.

By performing laboratory experiments, the researchers followed the behavioral development of 17 pairs of male anemone fish. After a few minutes from the moment they were placed in the tank, one of the males emerged as dominant and began to behave as a female but the gonads remained masculine.

By analyzing the brain of the fish, the researchers realized that, among the changes, there was an increase in the pre-optic area, something that made her brain look more and more like that of a female.

After six months the brain became completely feminine and only after the end of this brain process did the sex change of the organs begin.

Roy Wilson

I was a former mathematics professor at Delaware Technical Community College before starting my own IT and computer repair business. As I have always loved to read about what's going on in the world of science, I started Turtle Island News in late-2018 with the aim of building up a great resource for people like me who just want to read about the latest research in clear and concise English, without all of the annoying ads and popups. Today, I spend a few hours per week on Turtle Island News and continue to bring on new contributors. In my spare time, outside of working on my business and this publication, I also enjoy jogging, bridge and hiking.

Landline contact number: 302-286-8954
Mobile contact number: 302-981-7680
Email contact: [email protected]
Roy Wilson
Continue Reading

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