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Dec. 2, 2010: NASA-supported researchers have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism, which lives in California's Mono Lake, substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in the backbone of its DNA and other cellular components. Picture is from NASA.
Fossilized alien microbes have been discovered in a sample extracted from a meteorite, according to research carried out by a NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center astrobiologist. Published in the online Journal of Cosmology, Richard Hoover's paper claims to have made the discovery after finding "large complex filaments" inside "freshly fractured internal surfaces" of carbonaceous chondrite meteorite samples. See Discovery News. NASA disagrees with this claim. See http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NASA_says_no_support_for_claim_of_alien_microbes_999.html
BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR:
Human Genetic Variation by Elizabeth Pennisi
Equipped with faster, cheaper technologies for sequencing DNA and assessing variation in genomes on scales ranging from one to millions of bases, researchers are finding out how truly different we are from one another.
What is Synthetic Biology?
And how do scientists plan to bring man-made DNA to life?
FDA to Parents: Do Not Give Tots Cough and Cold Meds
The Food and Drug Administration warns that over-the-counter medications can produce potentially life-threatening side effects
Agricultural Noah's Ark: Doomsday Seed Vault In Arctic To Outlast Major Sea Level Rise And Permafrost Warming The Norwegian government has revealed the architectural design for the Svalbard International Seed Vault, to be carved deep into frozen rock on an island not far from the North Pole. The entrance to the "fail-safe" seed vault will "gleam like a gem in the midnight sun."
"Silent" mutations are not always silent Mutations leading to identical amino acid sequences can change protein folding and function by Charles Choi
World's First Adult Stem Cell Study Using Patient's Own Fat Tissue This week, for the first time in humans, a heart failure patient received adult stem cells -- taken from his own adipose (fat) tissue -- which were processed and injected directly into the heart.
Breakthrough In Understanding Type-2 Diabetes As Key Genes Identified. The most important genes associated with a risk of developing type-2 diabetes have been identified.
New Mechanism Of Cholesterol Lowering Drug Discovered (June 17, 2007) -- New research in animals suggests why the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe (Zetia) is so potent. It had previously been thought that the drug works by preventing cells in the intestine from absorbing cholesterol. The new research suggests that Zetia also works in the liver. In both locations, the drug's target is a protein known as NPC1L1 that moves cholesterol into the body's cells. Zetia blocks the protein's actions so cholesterol cannot be absorbed.
Diet Pills: Pills Seen As Effective May Increase Users' Unhealthy Behaviors (June 16, 2007) -- Glaxo Smith Kline's Alli, the first FDA-approved over-the-counter weight loss pill, is now hitting the shelves nationwide.
Protects Men and Women Differently. TUESDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News)
The battle of the sexes may even extend to aspirin: A new "study of studies" finds the cardio-protective drug benefits men very differently than it does women.
3D structure of
HIV is 'revealed'
The 3D structure of the virus which causes Aids has been revealed for the first time, scientists say.
Experimental malaria vaccine shows huge promise. A review of experimental malaria vaccines finds one good enough to "justify speedy progress towards licensing for routine use" against the global killer.
Scientists have identified a naturally occurring enzyme that can break down a key component of the brain plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.