MI weekly selection #331

E. coli variant created with synthetic genome

An artificial version of Escherichia coli was created with a synthetic genome. Researchers built the genome piece by piece because “the bacterial chromosome is so big, we needed an approach that would let us see what had gone wrong if there had been any mistakes along the way,” said study leader Jason Chin.

Smithsonian Magazine

Bedbugs may have been around since Cretaceous

Bedbugs may have been around for 100 million years or more, according to genetic tests. Researchers looked at a number of bedbug species collected over a 15-year period, creating a timeline by comparing that data with fossil records.

Science News

New Horizons data suggests Ultima Thule formed by slow collision

The first data from the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule suggests it was formed by a slow-speed collision between two ancient bodies, resulting in its snowman-like shape. The study is the first report on data collected during the Jan. 1 flyby by New Horizons, which has so far only transmitted about 25% of the information it collected.

Space.com

Common Neanderthal, human ancestor may have lived 800,000 years ago

The most recent common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals likely lived at least 800,000 years ago. Researchers looked at dental evolution, placing the divergence about 400,000 years earlier than previously estimated.

The Scientist

Colourful peacock spiders owe their vibrance to microlenses

Colours on the abdomens of male peacock spiders appear extremely bright because of black patches situated there. Researchers say the patches consist of densely packed microlenses that reflect less than 0.5% of light, making the surrounding colours seem as if they are glowing.

Science

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