MI weekly selection #454

Chromosome study hints at early evolution of animals

Chromosome changes that took place about 800 million years ago have been examined and used to find genes that may have been present in the earliest moments of animal life. Researchers viewed genomes at the chromosome level to study what they call genome tectonics to find nearly 30 gene blocks that were still identifiable as they went through divisions and animals evolved.

Quanta Magazine

Arctic fires’ effects on permafrost

Scientists studying permafrost and Arctic wildfires have found that fires can stimulate the creation of a land formation known as thermokarst for as much as 80 years after a blaze occurs. They reviewed high-resolution images of the Noatak National Preserve in Alaska and found that fires and climate change increased thermokarst formation by 60% from 1950 to 2015.


A potential cure for leukemia

Carl June and Joseph Melenhorst, immunologists from the University of Pennsylvania, treated Doug Olson in 2010 for leukemia using an experimental chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, and after 10 years, Olson has remained cancer-free, together with another trial participant. “We can now conclude that CAR-T cells can actually cure patients, based on these results,” said June.

Associated Press

Iron buildup in brain linked to cognitive decline

Researchers found that older mice had higher levels of hepcidin in the cerebral cortex, the increased production of which leads to a reduced activity of ferroportin, which increases iron levels in areas of the brain that are related to cognition. Elevated cortical iron levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and study senior author Hossein Ardehali said the next step is to investigate if an iron chelator can restore normal iron metabolism.

New Atlas

Ancient spines on posts may have been warning to looters

Human spines displayed on 192 posts at a burial site in Peru dating back about 500 years may have served as a warning by indigenous people to European grave looters. Vertebrae belonged to both adults and juveniles, and weren’t placed on the posts in anatomical order, though each spike’s vertebrae belonged to one individual.


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