DNA analysis of royal mummies suggest that malaria and bone abnormalities may have contributed to the death of Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamun, with other results appearing to identify members of the royal family, including King Tut’s father and mother, according to a new study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association. The findings may lead to a new way of researching the molecular genealogy and pathogen paleogenomics of the Pharaonic era, perhaps even a new field called 'molecular Egyptology.'
The diversity of corals harboring unusual species of symbiotic algae in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea indicates that coral reefs and the ecosystems dependent on them may persist despite climate change, according to a new study in the Journal of Biogeography.
The researchers say the comprehensive survey, which included analysis of the corals and symbiotic algae living in the cooler western Indian Ocean and Great Barrier Reef area of Australia, is unparalleled by any other study.
Research published simultaneously in PNAS and Nature details how scientists have successfully transplanted most of the "nose" of the mosquito that spreads malaria into frog eggs and fruit flies and are employing these surrogates to combat the spread of the deadly disease that afflicts 500 million people worldwide. The mosquito's "nose" is centered in its antennae, which are filled with nerve cells covered with special "odorant receptors" that react to different chemical compounds. The insect ORs are comparable to analogous receptors in the human nose and taste buds on the tongue.
California's coastal fog is decreasing significantly and may endanger redwood trees along the coast dependent on cool, humid summers, according to a new study to be published in PNAS. It is unclear whether this is part of a natural cycle of the result of human activity, but the change could affect the entire redwood ecosystem.
The results came from analysis of new records recently made available by the National Climate Data Center. The U.S. Surface Airways data come from airports around the country, which have recorded for more than 60 years hourly information such as cloud cover (cloud ceiling height), visibility, wind and temperature.
Human cells contain 46 strands of DNA that code for all our genes. Certain chemicals and UV light can break these strands into pieces, a process that typically leads to cell death or diseases such as cancer if the damage is not repaired quickly. But new research, published in PNAS, shows for the first time that stem cells will intentionally cut and then repair their own DNA as a mechanism of activating genes that promote the development of new tissues.
The discovery could help researchers develop better ways to activate stem cells, so that they can produce new tissues for therapeutic purposes. It also suggests that DNA mutations, which can contribute to a variety of diseases, may initially occur as a result of a normal cellular process.
Researchers from the University of Illinois say they know how to exploit an unusual chemical reaction mechanism that allows malaria parasites and many disease-causing bacteria to survive. The findings, detailed in PNAS, could eventually lead to new anti-malarial and antibacterial drugs.
The new study focused on an essential chemical pathway that occurs in malaria parasites and in most bacteria but not in humans or other animals, making it an ideal drug target. Several teams of researchers have spent nearly a decade trying to understand an important player in this cascade of chemical reactions, an enzyme known as IspH. This enzyme promotes the synthesis of a class of compounds, called isoprenoids, which are essential to life.