MI weekly selection #543

Source: ESA

Researchers link reaction inside moon to unique rocks

A reaction between magma and solids that occurred beneath the lunar surface 3.5 billion years ago may have created unique rocks now sitting on the moon. The rocks contain high levels of titanium, say researchers, who combined high-temperature molten-rock laboratory experiments with a close review of basalts retrieved from the moon.

Full Story: Space

Oldest fossilized skin example provides evolution evidence

A skin-cast amniote fossil dating back almost 290 million years provides clues to how feathers on birds and hair follicles on mammals developed, with its texture similar to crocodile skin and spaces between scales that are analogous to snakes. The fossil was relatively well-preserved due to conditions in the cave where it was located in Oklahoma.

Full Story: Discover magazine

Lessons learned about cloning from 3-year-old monkey

Modifications to conventional somatic cell nuclear transfer methods to clone a Macaca mulatta rhesus monkey born in 2020 proved to be very inefficient, producing only one live birth out of 11 embryos transferred to seven surrogates. The research team adjusted the process by inserting cloned inner cells into noncloned embryos to overcome consistent failures of the outer membrane forming the placenta to develop, and said their primary focus remains improving the success rate.

Full Story: CNN

Genetically modified yeast gains power from light

Researchers synthesized a fungal rhodopsin gene and inserted it into yeast cells’ vacuoles, enabling the yeast to thrive in and produce energy from light. The yeast grew about 2% faster than unmodified yeast, and the technique could lead to the creation of more productive yeast strains for use in beer or biofuels.

Full Story: New Atlas

Radar reveals hidden ice around Mars’ middle

Ice buried under Mars’ equator would cover the entire planet if it were melted into liquid water. The ice found in the Medusae Fossae Formation is too deep to access under hundreds of meters of dust but indicates the potential of water elsewhere on the planet.

Full Story: ScienceAlert

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