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  • July 18, 2014
  • 08:51 AM

Scientists Create Alcohol-Resistant Worms That Might Cure Alcoholism

by beredim in Strange Animals

Image showing the effects of alchohol in Caenorhabditis elegans and..humansCredit: Jon Pierce-Shimomura from The University of Texas, Austin.A couple of days ago, a team of neuroscientists from the University of Texas, Austin announced that they have created a new strain of mutant worms which is impervious to the intoxicating effects of alcohol!To create the alcohol-immune worms, the researchers implanted a modified human alcohol target – a neuronal channel called the BK channel SLO-1 tha........ Read more »

  • July 8, 2014
  • 06:56 AM

Striped Pyjama Squid

by beredim in Strange Animals

Striped Pyjama SquidKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: MolluscaClass: CephalopodaOrder: SepiidaFamily: SepioloideaGenus: SepioloideaSpecies: Sepioloidea  lineolataConservation Status: Not yet assessedCommon name(s): Striped Pyjama Squid, Striped Dumpling SquidUnlike other strange animals that have been previously featured on the site, it's pretty much obvious why the striped pyjama squid was named this way. Although technically a cuttlefish and not a squid, it does look like it’s wearing strip........ Read more »

  • July 6, 2014
  • 11:07 AM

New Species of Spider Wasp Uses Ant Corpses to Protect Its Nests

by beredim in Strange Animals

A newly discovered wasp species uses the corpses of dead ants as scarecrows, to protect its nest from predators, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Freiburg. Scientifically described as Deuteragenia ossarium and dubbed as the Bone-house wasp, the species uses the chemical cues from ant corpses to ward off predators, by stuffing them into the crevices of its home. The species was discovered in Jiangxi Province in south east China.Wasps use a wide range of ........ Read more »

  • June 14, 2014
  • 04:00 PM

David VS Goliath: How a tiny Israeli spider preys on ants four times its size

by beredim in Strange Animals

Juvenile Zodarion cyrenaicum (red circle) feeding on the gaster of a much larger antCredit: Stano PekárIn nature, the general rule is that big fish eats little fish. Obviously, this doesn't apply exclusively to fish!However, every rule has an exception. One such notable exception is Zodarion cyrenaicum, a tiny spider from the Negev desert, Israel that feeds almost exclusively on the 4-times bigger Messor arenarius ant.M. arenarius ants grow to be up to 1.7 cm (~0.6 in.) long and ........ Read more »

  • June 11, 2014
  • 04:50 AM

Researchers use human induced pluripotent stem cells to create light-sensitive retina in a dish

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

M. Valeria Canto-SolerCreditUsing human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), Johns Hopkins researchers say they have created a three-dimensional complement of human retinal tissue in the laboratory, which notably includes functioning photoreceptor cells capable of responding to light, the first step in the process of converting it into visual images."We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that not only has the architectural organization of the retina but also has th........ Read more »

Zhong X, Gutierrez C, Xue T, Hampton C, Vergara MN, Cao LH, Peters A, Park TS, Zambidis ET, Meyer JS.... (2014) Generation of three-dimensional retinal tissue with functional photoreceptors from human iPSCs. Nature communications, 4047. PMID: 24915161  

  • June 10, 2014
  • 02:53 PM

Australia's thorny dragon

by beredim in Strange Animals

Thorny dragonKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ReptiliaOrder: SquamataFamily: AgamidaeGenus: MolochSpecies: Moloch horridusConservation Status: Not yet assessedCommon name(s): Thorny dragon, thorny lizard, thorny devil, mountain devil and molochThe thorny dragon is a small, scary-looking species of lizard occurring exclusively in Australia and is the sole species of the genus Moloch. It's a truly bizarre creature, with no other lizard in the world coming remot........ Read more »

  • June 10, 2014
  • 03:50 AM

Researchers discover protein that keeps hematopoietic stem cells young

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Saghi GhaffariCreditA protein may hold the key to maintaining the health of aging hematopoietic stem cells, according to work by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai recently published online in Stem Cell Reports. Human adults keep stem cell pools on hand in key tissues, including the blood. These stem cells can become replacement cells for those lost to wear and tear.But as hematopoitec stem cells age, their ability to regenerate blood declines, potentially contributing to........ Read more »

Rimmelé, P., Bigarella, C., Liang, R., Izac, B., Dieguez-Gonzalez, R., Barbet, G., Donovan, M., Brugnara, C., Blander, J., Sinclair, D.... (2014) Aging-like Phenotype and Defective Lineage Specification in SIRT1-Deleted Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells. Stem Cell Reports. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.04.015  

  • June 10, 2014
  • 03:31 AM

Stem cell–stimulating therapy regenerates damaged heart tissue

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Researchers at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging's 2014 Annual Meeting revealed how a protein encourages the production of stem cells that regenerate damaged tissues of the heart following an acute attack (myocardial infarction). They further assert that it has a better chance of working if provided early in treatment. This was confirmed by molecular imaging, which captured patients' improved heart health after therapy. If given after a heart attack, granulocyte colon........ Read more »

Takuji Toyama, Hiroshi Hoshizaki, Hakuken Kan, Ren Kawaguchi, Hitoshi Adachi, Shigeru Ohsima and Masahiko Kurabayashi. (2014) Is the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor therapy in the earliest phase effective to rescue patients with acute myocardial infarction?. SNMMI’s 61th Annual Meeting. info:/

  • June 9, 2014
  • 01:04 PM

Stem cells are a soft touch for nano-engineered biomaterials

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Dr Julien GautrotCredit Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have shown that stem cell behaviour can be modified by manipulating the nanoscale properties of the material they are grown on - improving the potential of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering as a result.Previous research has showed that stem cells grown on hard substrates go on to multiply but do not differentiate: a process by which the cells specialise to perform specific functions in the body. In contrast, stem ........ Read more »

Julien E. Gautrot, Jenny Malmström, Maria Sundh, Coert Margadant, Arnoud Sonnenberg, and Duncan S. Sutherland. (2014) The Nanoscale Geometrical Maturation of Focal Adhesions Controls Stem Cell Differentiation and Mechanotransduction . Nanoletters. info:/10.1021/nl501248y

  • June 9, 2014
  • 12:35 PM

Biodegradable hydrogels improve the healing effect of mesenchymal stem cells

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

A representation of hydrogel polymers (straight lines) trapping mesenchymal stem cells (light-colored figures) and water (blue). (Credit: Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester)When mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are used to regenerate bone tissue, many wind up migrating away from the repair site, greatly disrupting the healing process. Now, a  new technique employed by a University of Rochester research team keeps the repairing cells in place, resulting in faster and better tissue regeneration........ Read more »

  • June 9, 2014
  • 12:21 PM

Harvard scientists discover method to revert mature liver cells back to a stem cell-like state

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Fernando CamargoCredit Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have new evidence in mice that it may be possible to repair a chronically diseased liver by forcing mature liver cells to revert back to a stem cell-like state. The researchers, led by Fernando Camargo, PhD, arumbled upon this discovery while investigating whether a biochemical cascade called Hippo, which controls how big the liver grows, also affects cell fate.The unexpected answer, appearing in th........ Read more »

Yimlamai D, Christodoulou C, Galli GG, Yanger K, Pepe-Mooney B, Gurung B, Shrestha K, Cahan P, Stanger BZ, & Camargo FD. (2014) Hippo Pathway Activity Influences Liver Cell Fate. Cell, 157(6), 1324-1338. PMID: 24906150  

  • June 6, 2014
  • 03:47 AM

Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Case Western Reserve researchers have discovered landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness. The study and its results appear in the June 5 edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell.Pluripotent stem cells are so named because they can evolve into any of the cell types th........ Read more »

Factor, D., Corradin, O., Zentner, G., Saiakhova, A., Song, L., Chenoweth, J., McKay, R., Crawford, G., Scacheri, P., & Tesar, P. (2014) Epigenomic Comparison Reveals Activation of “Seed” Enhancers during Transition from Naive to Primed Pluripotency. Cell Stem Cell, 14(6), 854-863. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.05.005  

  • June 6, 2014
  • 03:37 AM

Fasting triggers hematopoietic stem cells to repair damages of the immune system

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Valter LongoCredit: Dietmar QuistorfIn the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage -- a major side effect of chemotherapy -- but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.Results from both mice and a Phase 1 human cl........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2014
  • 03:18 AM

New method reveals key protein for embryonic stem cell differentiation

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Directed Network Wiring, a new method to simplify the study of protein networks, is illustrated.Proteins are responsible for the vast majority of the cellular functions that shape life, but like guests at a crowded dinner party, they interact transiently and in complex networks, making it difficult to determine which specific interactions are most important.Now, researchers from the University of Chicago say they have pioneered a new technique that simplifies the study of protein networks and id........ Read more »

Yasui, N., Findlay, G., Gish, G., Hsiung, M., Huang, J., Tucholska, M., Taylor, L., Smith, L., Boldridge, W., Koide, A.... (2014) Directed Network Wiring Identifies a Key Protein Interaction in Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation. Molecular Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.05.002  

  • June 5, 2014
  • 06:07 AM

Human induced pluripotent stem cells successfully transplanted and grown in pigs

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Michael RobertsOne of the biggest challenges for medical researchers studying the effectiveness of stem cell therapies is that transplants or grafts of cells are often rejected by the hosts.This rejection can render experiments useless, making research into potentially life-saving treatments a long and difficult process. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have shown that a new line of genetically modified pigs will host transplanted cells without the risk of rejection.“The rejectio........ Read more »

  • June 5, 2014
  • 05:59 AM

Unlocking the potential of mesenchymal stem cells to repair brain damage

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Rachel Okolicsanyi A researcher from the Queensland University of Technology's is hoping to unlock the potential of mesenchymal stem cells as a way of repairing neural damage to the brain.Rachel Okolicsanyi, from the Genomics Research Centre at QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said unlike other cells in the body which were able to divide and replicate, once most types of brain cells died, the damage was deemed irreversible.Ms Okolicsanyi is manipulating mesenchymal ........ Read more »

  • June 3, 2014
  • 05:08 AM

“Alert” stem cells speed damage response

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Thomas RandoCreditStanford neurologist and longevity researcher Thomas Rando, MD, PhD and his colleagues have found that adult stem cells (those that hang around in mature tissues to facilitate tissue repair) have a surprising ability to notice, and respond, to damage in distant parts of the body.The researchers termed the response an “alert” state; the cells are no longer resting deeply, but are also not yet committed to possibly unnecessary action.The team was studying the response of mou........ Read more »

Rodgers JT, King KY, Brett JO, Cromie MJ, Charville GW, Maguire KK, Brunson C, Mastey N, Liu L, Tsai CR.... (2014) mTORC1 controls the adaptive transition of quiescent stem cells from G0 to GAlert. Nature. PMID: 24870234  

  • June 3, 2014
  • 04:56 AM

Researchers identify neuron that tells stem cells to grow new neurons

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Duke researchers have found a new type of neuron in the adult brain that is capable of telling stem cells to make more new neurons. Though the experiments are in their early stages, the finding opens the tantalizing possibility that the brain may be able to repair itself from within.Neuroscientists have suspected for some time that the brain has some capacity to direct the manufacturing of new neurons, but it was difficult to determine where these instructions are coming from, explains Chay Kuo,........ Read more »

  • May 31, 2014
  • 12:16 PM

Paedophryne amauensis: World's smallest vertebrate (and frog)

by beredim in Strange Animals

Paedophryne amauensis dwarfed by a  mere U.S. dimeKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: AmphibiaOrder: AnuraFamily: MicrohylidaeGenus: PaedophryneSpecies: Paedophryne amauensisConservation Status: Not yet assessedCommon name(s): None yetAbout three years ago, I had made a post about Eleutherodactylus cosnipatae, the world's smallest frog species. I am currently in the process of updating all the older posts with new information and this is how I found that E.cosnipatae........ Read more »

  • May 28, 2014
  • 11:32 AM

Researchers find human menstrual blood-derived cells 'feed' embryonic stem cells

by beredim in Stem Cells Freak

Human embryonic stem cellsTo be suitable for medical transplantation, one idea is that human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) need to remain "undifferentiated" i.e. they are not changing into other cell types. In determining the best way to culture hESCs so that they remain undifferentiated and also grow, proliferate and survive, researchers have used blood cell "feeder-layer" cultures using animal-derived feeder cells, often from mice (mouse embryonic fibroblasts [MEFs]). This a........ Read more »

Silva dos Santos, Danúbia ; Coelho de Oliveira, Vanessa Carvalho ; Asensi, Karina Dutra ; Vairo, Leandro ; Carvalho, Adriana Bastos ; Campos de Carvalho, Antonio Carlos ; Goldenberg, Regina Coeli dos Santos. (2014) Human Menstrual Blood Derived Mesenchymal Cells As New Human Feederlayer System For Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Cell Medicine. DOI: 10.3727/215517913X679265  

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