MI weekly selection #100
Half of all stars exist outside of galaxies
As many as half the stars in the universe may be galaxy castoffs, causing a diffuse glow in the cosmos. Researchers sent a rocket beyond the atmosphere’s edge to record images in wavelengths of near-infrared light, leading them to the surprising discovery.
Los Angeles Times / Science Now
Scientists use gene-editing technique to make HIV-immune blood cells
Harvard University scientists have shown that CRISPR, a gene-editing technique, could be an effective way of preventing HIV by eliminating the cell surface protein that serves as a doorway for HIV into the cell. Scientists snipped out the CCR5 gene out of blood stem cells. The cells could then be injected back into the patient where they would eventually differentiate into cells that are impervious to HIV.
Studies suggest 9,000-year window for European, East Asian split
A pair of studies, when looked at together, suggest a 9,000-year time frame, between 36,200 and 45,000 years ago, during which the genetic populations of Europe and East Asia may have split. According to a report published in Science this week, a genetic study of the shin bone of a man who died about 36,200 years ago in modern-day western Russia indicates he shared genetic sequences with Europeans, but not with East Asians. A study in last month’s Nature found sequences that coincided with modern East Asians and Europeans in a 45,000-year-old Siberian sample.
Fossil found in Madagascar shakes up mammalian family tree
A fossil uncovered in Madagascar of a large groundhog-like creature that lived about 66 million years ago was much larger than most other mammals of that time period. Scientists estimate Vintana sertichi weighed about 20 pounds, or 9 kilograms, and say the big plant eater has helped rewrite mammalian history.
Curiosity’s mineral find offers scientists clues about Mars’ habitability
The Mars Curiosity rover has detected the mineral hematite after it drilled into a rock on the red planet. The find matches data found by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and gives more clues about the planet’s previous habitability. The sample was drilled from a site called Confidence Hills at the base of Aeolis Mons, a.k.a. Mount Sharp.