MI weekly selection #427
Gene found in gecko may have link to melanoma
SPINT1, a gene responsible for the skin coloring of Lemon Frost geckos, may play a role in the lizards’ propensity to develop tumors and has also been linked to the development of melanoma in humans, a study in PLOS Genetics suggests. “Studying a gecko is not only about the gecko’s health or about understanding basic biology, but could also provide key information to further research on other organisms, including humans,” says evolutionary biologist Ylenia Chiari.
Fossil discovery in Israel reveals ancient human group
Fossils found in Israel have been identified as belonging to a new hominid group called Nesher Ramla Homo that dates back between 120,000 and 140,000 years ago, possibly living alongside Homo sapiens and interbreeding with them. “The European Neanderthal actually began here in the Levant and migrated to Europe, while interbreeding with other groups of humans,” asserts researcher Hila May.
Many planets have bird’s-eye view of Earth
Possible inhabitants of exoplanets orbiting 1,715 stars would have been able to view us here on Earth over the course of our civilization. Researchers using Gaia space telescope data searched for places within a range of 326 light-years that would have been able to see Earth as it passed in front of the sun.
Arctic may have been home to dinosaur families
Dinosaurs may have lived in the Arctic year-round more than 70 million years ago despite the cold weather and may have hatched offspring there. Researchers found evidence of as many as seven different dinosaur species as well as the fossils of their offspring, and the timing of the egg incubation period suggests that the dinosaurs lived in the area all year long rather than migrate to warmer areas in the winter, as previously thought.
Echoes of neurodegenerative disease in fatal COVID-19
Researchers who studied the brains of people who died from COVID-19 found that impaired circuitry and inflammation were evident, and the changes resembled changes seen in those who die from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The findings provide a possible explanation for neurological and psychiatric symptoms experienced by patients with long COVID.