Genetically engineered animals offer fresh hope to heart valve patients

Genetically engineered mutations in cows could pave the way for transplant patients to receive whole animal organs in the future. Image credit - Pexels/Kat Jayne, licensed under Pexels license

Scientists have cloned a genetically engineered bull which they hope will help heart valve transplant patients lead better quality lives and benefit people with red meat allergies. Every year, about 300,000 people worldwide receive a new heart valve. Whenever possible, doctors use valves made of tissue from cows or pigs, because the synthetic alternatives can … Read more

How did the plague reshape Bronze Age Europe?

In the early Bronze Age, there was an infusion of a different genetic makeup in Europe whose origin ancient DNA experts are trying to explain. Image credit - geograph/David Dixon, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Europe changed dramatically during the Bronze Age, with huge population shifts generally ascribed to the rise of new metal technologies, trading and climate change. But scientists believe that there may have been another reason for this social upheaval – the plague, possibly transported by, or on the back of, newly domesticated horses. Plague is forever … Read more

Nobel prize winner: Oxygen regulation discoveries are starting to lead to new anaemia, cancer drugs

Basic research into hypoxia is helping to find mechanisms that would starve cancer of the oxygen it needs to grow. Image credit - Nephron, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Vittoria D’Alessio Drugs that activate or block the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery to treat conditions such as anaemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and cancer are being made possible because we now understand the way that cells respond to oxygen deprivation, according to Sir Peter Ratcliffe, one of three winners of this year’s Nobel … Read more

Why bogs may be key to fighting climate change

Peatlands occupy roughly 2% or 3% of the land’s surface but we don’t know how deep they go. Image credit - Marisa04/ Pixabay

by Caleb Davies There are, arguably, only two interesting facts about bogs. The first is that some people have a jolly good time swimming through them, notably at the World Bog Snorkelling Championships held each year in central Wales, UK. The second is that they could help save the world. Bogs, more properly known as … Read more

Transparent wood: the building material of the future?

Transparent wood is created by stripping out lignin from wood and replacing it with a polymer.

by Sarah Wild  When Timothée Boitouzet studied architecture in Japan, where buildings need to survive earthquakes, he realised the next smart material might be one that humans have used for thousands of years – wood. ‘In France, we build more with concrete and stone than wood,’ he said. ‘When I was exposed to Japanese building … Read more

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