MI weekly selection #562

Photo: AARN GIRI / Unsplash

Evolution may have moved energy to brain from ovaries

Human brain growth may have taken off by seizing energy left after ovarian follicles adapted to require less fuel. The math shows that evolution freed up about the same amount of energy from follicular maintenance that human brains needed to reach their current size.

Full Story: PhysOrg

Lucy spacecraft collects details of asteroids’ history

NASA spacecraft Lucy has gathered evidence that about a quarter of the asteroid Dinkinesh broke off, leaving a gouge and ridges on its surface and coming together to form the moonlet Selam, which orbits Dinkinesh between Jupiter and Mars in the solar system’s main asteroid belt. Selam is a contact-binary, a small body made of two objects that collide gently enough to merge into one, and this is the first observation of a contact-binary orbiting another asteroid, says planetary scientist Katherine Kretke.

Full Story: Reuters

How do hummingbirds hover without touching flowers?

A hummingbird can hover over a flower and sip nectar without touching the flower because its brain creates a 3D map of its surroundings. Clusters of neurons in specific regions of the forebrain are activated by an acute sense of touch in the bird’s wings, face, bill and head and a sense of the air pressure on its wings and legs.

Full Story: UCLA

Bioengineering feat could transform vaccine production

Researchers have biosynthesized the key vaccine adjuvant QS-21 in yeast, identifying a 20-step process that could replace both the previously achieved 76-step synthesis and the costly, inefficient extraction of QS-21 from Chile’s soapbark tree. CRISPR gene editing introduces enzymes in the process to engineer the compound, which activates the immune system in commercial vaccines for COVID-19, malaria and other conditions.

Full Story: Chemistry World

Tattoos may raise risk of malignant lymphoma

A population-based study in Sweden found people with tattoos had a greater risk of developing malignant lymphoma compared with those who did not have tattoos, and the link was strongest for those with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. “If these findings can be corroborated by further studies, they would indicate that exposure to tattoo ink may be associated with both tumor initiation, which is often associated with a latency of several years, and tumor promotion where effects occur much faster.”

Full Story: MedPage Today

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