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The human eye lens consists of a highly concentrated mix of several proteins. Protective proteins keep them from aggregating and clumping. If this protection fails, the lens blurs and the patient develops cataracts. Two research groups at the Department of Chemistry of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have succeeded in explaining the molecular architecture of this kind of protective protein. Their findings, which are published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

The effects of amphetamines on gene expression in zebrafish have been discovered. This new study, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Genome Biology, provides clues to the genetics that underlie susceptibility to addiction by describing the nad zebrafish mutant, which does not feel the rewarding effects of the drugs.

Ever since graphene was discovered in 2004, this one-atom thick, super strong, carbon-based electrical conductor has been billed as a "wonder material" that some physicists think could one day replace silicon in computer chips.

But graphene, which consists of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, has a major drawback when it comes to applications in electronics: it conducts electricity almost too well, making it hard to create graphene-based transistors that are suitable for integrated circuits.

In Physics World, Kostya Novoselov--a condensed-matter physicist from Manchester University--explains how their discovery of graphane, an insulating equivalent of graphene, may prove more versatile.

Stem cell researchers trying to understand the mechanisms that determine whether stem cells divide or differentiate, and what types of cells they become and how to control them to develop new treatments, may have gotten some much needed help.

Investigators at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a comparative, large-scale phosphoproteomic analysis of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and their differentiated derivatives. The study was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Comets contained vast oceans of liquid water in their interiors during the first million years of their formation, argue Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and colleagues at the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology in a paper published in the International Journal of Astrobiology

The watery environment of early comets, together with the vast quantity of organics already discovered in comets, would have provided ideal conditions for primitive bacteria to grow and multiply, they say. 
Previously thought to be indivisible, with negative charge for all, the electron is one of the fundamental building blocks of nature. A new experiment, however, has shown that electrons, if crowded into narrow wires, are seen to split apart.

The electron is responsible for carrying electricity in wires and for making magnets. These two properties of magnetism and electric charge are carried by electrons which seem to have no size or shape and are impossible to break apart.