Scientists to grow "mini-brains" using Neanderthal DNA
A team of scientists led by Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany are preparing to create "miniature brains" that have been genetically engineered to contain Neanderthal DNA, in an unprecedented attempt to understand how humans differ from our closest relatives. The small blobs of tissue, known as brain organoids, will be grown from human stem cells that have been edited to contain "Neanderthalised" versions of several genes. They could demonstrate for the first time if there were meaningful differences between human and Neanderthal brain biology. (The Guardian)
As CO2 increases, rice loses B vitamins and other nutrients
Carbon dioxide helps plants grow. But a new study shows that rice grown in higher levels of carbon dioxide has lower amounts of several important nutrients. A new study published this week in Science Advances found that rice exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide contains lower amounts of several important nutrients such as vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B9. The potential health consequences are large, given that there are already billions of people around the world who don’t get enough protein, vitamins or other nutrients in their daily diet. (New York Times)
Behold, the first image from NASA's exoplanet-surveying satellite
NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) recently embarked on a two-year survey of our solar neighborhood, in which it will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. Last week, it sent back its first image!
Legend of Loch Ness monster will be tested with DNA samples
Next month, a New Zealand scientist is leading an international team to Loch Ness, the legendary Scottish lake said to be the home of a monster nicknamed Nessie, where they will take samples of the murky waters and conduct DNA tests to determine what species live there. University of Otago professor Neil Gemmell says he's no believer in Nessie, but he wants to take people on an adventure and communicate some science along the way. Besides, he says, his kids think it's one of the coolest things he's ever done. (Associated Press)