Body

Solving a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, MIT and Harvard researchers have discovered the final piece of the synthesis pathway of vitamin B12-the only vitamin synthesized exclusively by microorganisms.

B12, the most chemically complex of all vitamins, is essential for human health. Four Nobel Prizes have been awarded for research related to B12, but one fragment of the molecule remained an enigma-until now.

Research performed by a team at Florida State University’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory suggests that the benefits of building higher-field superconducting magnets likely will far outweigh the costs of building them.

A University of Alberta paleontologist has helped discover the existence of a 95 million-year-old snakelike marine animal, a finding that provides not only the earliest example of limbloss in lizards but the first example of limbloss in an aquatic lizard.

Geneticists have discovered a new gene that may put individuals at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The identification of the gene, called kalirin, implicates a biological mechanism never before linked to cardiovascular disease, according to the Duke researchers who led the study. Further study of this new clue could lead to novel ways to treat or even prevent the disease, the researchers said.

Today, during the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, scientists are reporting that the use of saliva for clinical detection of major human diseases is only a few years away. Intense research is ongoing to discover diagnostic saliva biomarkers. A necessary prerequisite is to know, in a comprehensive manner, the informative biomarkers in saliva: the diagnostic alphabets. Like languages, which are synthesized from a foundation of alphabets, there are multiple diagnostic languages and thus diagnostic alphabets in saliva.

In today’s online edition of Genome Research, a husband-and-wife research team from Thomas Jefferson University report the discovery of a gene that, when mutated, may suppress colorectal cancer. To conduct the study, the researchers used a strain of mice that develop polyps, or small growths of tissue, in the digestive tract—the harbingers of cancer. When these mice possessed one copy of the mutated gene, the incidence of small intestinal and colon polyps were reduced by about 90%.

Women who undergo breast enlargement often see a sizable boost in self-esteem and positive feelings about their sexuality, a University of Florida nurse researcher reports.

Engineers at Purdue University have designed and tested a "structural health monitoring" system to detect flaws that could hinder the performance of new types of military missiles made of composite materials instead of metal.

Missiles are sometimes damaged when struck by rocks and debris kicked up by helicopter rotors or when mishandled during shipping or maintenance.

The inventors of self-healing plastic have come up with another invention: a new way of doing chemistry.

Current methods used to sniff out dangerous airborne pathogens may wrongly suggest that there is no threat to health when, in reality, there may be.

But researchers have found a better method for collecting and analyzing these germs that could give a more accurate assessment of their actual threat. For example, the findings may make it easier to detect airborne pathogens in low concentrations.

Generating electricity from renewable sources will soon become as easy as putting a brush and a tube in a tub of wastewater.

A carbon fiber, bottle-brush anode developed by Penn State researchers will provide more than enough surface for bacteria to colonize, for the first time making it possible to use microbial fuel cells for large scale electricity production. In addition, a membrane-tube air cathode, adapted from existing wastewater treatment equipment, will complete the circuit.

UCLA scientists have designed and mass-produced billions of fluorescent microscale particles in the shapes of all 26 letters of the alphabet in an “alphabet soup” displaying “exquisite fidelity of the shapes.”

The letters are made of solid polymeric materials dispersed in a liquid solution. The research will be published March 29 in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C, where it will be illustrated on the cover. The scientists anticipate that their “LithoParticles” will have significant technological and scientific uses.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed an experimental vaccine that could, theoretically, eliminate malaria from entire geographic regions, by eradicating the malaria parasite from an area's mosquitoes.

The vaccine, so far tested only in mice, would prompt the immune system of a person who receives it to eliminate the parasite from the digestive tract of a malaria-carrying mosquito, after the mosquito has fed upon the blood of the vaccinated individual. The vaccine would not prevent or limit malarial disease in the person who received it.

USC College computational biologist Peter Calabrese has developed a new model to simulate the evolution of so-called recombination hotspots in the genome.

Published March 5 in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the mathematical model and its associated software bring much-needed rigor to evolutionary investigations of how natural selection acts on individual genes, said Calabrese, a research assistant professor of biological sciences.

And, they may also aid the search for disease-associated genes within the human genome.

Some 40 years after the release of the classic science fiction movie Fantastic Voyage, researchers in the NanoRobotics Laboratory of École Polytechnique de Montréal’s Department of Computer Engineering and Institute of Biomedical Engineering have achieved a major technological breakthrough in the field of medical robotics. They have succeeded for the first time in guiding, in vivo and via computer control, a microdevice inside an artery, at a speed of 10 centimetres a second.