MI weekly selection #142
Small Jupiter-like exoplanet viewed directly by Earth-based telescope
An exoplanet resembling a young Jupiter has been found by astronomers using an Earth-based telescope, the Gemini Planet Imager in Chile, according to findings published online in Science. The gas giant has been dubbed 51 Eridani b and is about 96 light-years from Earth. “To detect planets, Kepler sees their shadow. The Gemini Planet Imager instead sees their glow, which we refer to as direct imaging,” said Bruce Macintosh, lead author of the study.
Closer to viable trans-species organ transplant
Researchers at United Therapeutics subsidiary Revivicor are working on between-species organ transplants and say they have kept a pig heart viable in a baboon for 945 days and kept a kidney alive for 136 days. The donor pigs were bioengineered with up to five human genes to reduce the risk of organ rejection.
Strangely social species of octopus rediscovered
An unusual species of octopus has been rediscovered and described in a study published in PLOS ONE. The Larger Pacific Striped Octopus was first discovered off the coast of Panama about 40 years ago, but it was never formally described or named. The new species is more social that other octopus species, with what researchers say is an almost romantic mating style and longer-lived females who produce eggs constantly.
The evolution of lager yeast: a natural history of beer
The evolution of yeast used in making lager beer has been charted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The scientists have discovered that the two major lineages of lager yeast, Frohberg and Saaz, did not come from a single precursor but had separate origins.
Nefertiti’s tomb may be hidden within King Tut’s
The mystery of Queen Nefertiti’s tomb may lie within the burial chamber of her son, King Tutankhamun, according to researchers. Vertical lines seen on a scan of wall textures within King Tut’s tomb hints at the presence of two hidden doors that may be an entrance to Nefertiti’s long-lost resting place, according to University of Arizona archaeologist Nicholas Reeves. “We could be faced for the first time in recent history with the intact burial of an Egyptian pharaoh in the Valley of the Kings,” he said.