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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Tag: Science

British study: Global warming may have played a role in the emergence of Corona

A British study showed, Friday, that global warming may have played a role in the transmission of the Coronavirus to humans, by providing new shelters for bats that are supposed to be the source of the virus.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, Britain, in a study published Friday, modeled the presence of groups of different types of bats using temperature and precipitation data to determine the location of the type of vegetation that forms their habitat, in order to conduct this study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences.

According to these models, over the past 100 years, 40 species of bats have seen favorable conditions for their proliferation in an area along with southern China, Burma, and Laos.

Since each type of bat carries an average of 2.7 corona viruses, hundreds of these different viruses must be circulating in this region, hence the hypothesis of the origin of the “SARS-Cove-2” virus from them.

Mutual breakthrough
The lead author of the study, Robert Meyer, told “Agence France Presse:” We are far from saying that the epidemic would not have appeared without global warming, but it seems difficult to say that this increase in the number of bats and the Coronaviruses that they carry makes it less likely.

Meyer stressed that “the exact chain of transmission of the (SARS-Cove-2) virus has not been determined yet, but climate change and the destruction of ecosystems are making humans and animals in greater contact.”

“These are two sides of the same coin,” he added. “We are penetrating their habitats more deeply and at the same time climate change can push pathogens towards us.”

Complex transmission
Kate Jones, Professor of Environment and Biodiversity at University College London, said, “The passage from animals to humans is the result of complex mechanisms, and climate change certainly has a role to play by modifying the sites of species, but the increase in the number of individuals in a group and the degradation of habitats through agriculture can occur.” A bigger role. “

For his part, Paul Valdez, a professor of environmental geography at the University of Bristol, pointed out that the researchers “show that climate change may have had an impact on species in Greece, but it is more than 2000 km from Wuhan” where the epidemic appeared in China.

How did the Corona pandemic direct attention to investment in scientific research?

Scientists and specialists in nanotechnology affairs called for an increase in public and private investments in the fields of biotechnology and immunology-related research, and stressed during the Future Investment Initiative conference sessions in Saudi Arabia today, Thursday, that the matter has become more urgent than before.

Dr. Ghada Al-Mutairi, co-director of the Center of Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at the University of California, said that the most important message that came during the pandemic period was for better investments in health care, research, and development, whether those investments are governmental or private. On research and development, government spending is very important on research in the coming period, and investment must be made in the field of immunology, “calling for the necessity of working to deliver the vaccine to the largest possible number and spread it widely, and to abandon prejudice.

Rob Linger, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that the areas of healthy nutrition are among the areas that have been overlooked during the last period, and he considered that the present time is appropriate for many investors to invest in promising areas, including the field of nutrition. He stressed the importance of focusing on linking science with business, and with investors.

Great interest in investing in research
Dr. Jin Li, CEO of the Chinese “Heetjin” company, said that the pandemic revealed that other methods of treatment are available, and that it must be prepared to develop treatment and provide adequate resources to deal with diseases.

He said that the pandemic was a different matter from what the world went through from previous diseases, which requires a review of many aspects, such as safety and ethics, and a focus on efficiency, effectiveness and risk management.

Dr. Alex Denner, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Information Officer at Sarisa Capital, confirmed that the pandemic has pushed many things forward, and reminded the importance of investing in science and research. He said that investment in the research and pharmaceutical sectors is getting more attention, and other fields such as medicine Heart and nerves will witness a concentration of companies in the coming period.

Diener noted the importance of focusing government budgets on health care, engaging companies in some areas, and providing assistance to larger companies for smaller companies.

He lived 12 thousand years ago… The body of an extinct rhino was found in Siberia

Russian scientists are studying the body of a woolly rhinoceros in good condition and it is likely that it was an extinct animal that roamed remote areas in Siberia more than 12 thousand years ago after it was found in the Yakutia diamond-producing region.

“The rhinoceros was found in a river last August, with all its limbs, some of its organs, and its horn, which is rare in such discoveries, even its wool,” Reuters news agency quoted Valery Plotnikov as saying to the Yakutia 24 TV channel, on Wednesday.

Plotnikov said that the woolly rhinoceros “may have lived in the late Pleistocene era, which ended about 11,700 years ago,” adding that the animal was apparently using its horn to collect food, based on signs of wear on it.

Similar discoveries have increasingly occurred in Russia’s vast Siberian region, where climate change, which is causing the Arctic to warm at a faster rate than the rest of the world, is causing ice melt in some areas that were within the frozen lands long ago.

Hazza Al Mansoori is among the “100 Most Influential People” in Space

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al Mansoori won a place in the list of the 100 most pioneering figures in the field of space exploration for the year 2021, which was prepared by the digital platform Richtopia to rank the most pioneering international personalities and their achievements in various fields.

Al-Mansouri shared the news with his followers via a tweet on his official Twitter account.

The name “Al-Mansouri” made headlines in September of last year, as the first Arab astronaut on board the “international station”.

Chinese scientists develop a gene therapy that delays aging

Scientists in Beijing have developed a new gene therapy that can neutralize some of the effects of aging in mice and extend their life, and these results may one day contribute to similar treatment for humans.

The method detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Science Translation Medicine involves disrupting a gene called “Cat7”, which scientists have discovered is a major contributor to cell aging.

“The specific treatment they used and the results were the first of its kind in the world,” said the project’s co-supervisor, Professor Zhou Jing (40 years), a specialist in geriatrics and regenerative medicine from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“The specific treatment they used and the results were the first of its kind in the world,” said the project’s co-supervisor, Professor Zhou Jing (40 years), a specialist in geriatrics and regenerative medicine from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

And the team of biologists of the Chinese Academy used a method to screen thousands of genes, looking for those that are particularly powerful drivers of cellular aging, the term used to describe cellular aging.

Dr. Jing Qu (R), team leader for Stem Cell and Ageing group, and Dr. Wei Wang discuss the work on the genome-wide screen for novel ageing regulatory genes in human stem cells at the cell culture room of the Aging and Regeneration lab at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regeneration of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing, China, January 12, 2021. Picture taken January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

The most effective

Chu confirmed that they identified 100 genes out of about 10,000, and “Cat7” was the most effective in contributing to cell aging.

This gene is one of tens of thousands of genes found in mammalian cells. The researchers inhibited it in the livers of mice using a method called a “slow viral vector”.

Despite this, the method is still far from being prepared for human trials, according to Chu, but she expressed her optimism with the step, saying: “In the end, we hope that we will be able to find a way to delay aging, even a very small percentage .. in the future.”

How do plants produce defensive toxins without harming themselves?

Plants produce toxic substances to defend themselves against herbivores, and these toxins inflict great damage on the nervous systems of insects and sometimes cause them to be killed .. But; How do plants themselves survive these toxins?

In a new study, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and the University of Münster in Germany were able to describe the details of the biosynthesis and precise method of action of substances called “diterpene glycosides”, an important group of defensive elements in wild tobacco plants.

These materials allow plants to defend themselves against herbivores, and the study showed that these phytochemicals attack specific parts of the insect and parasite cell membranes, yet plants at the same time protect themselves from the toxins they emit from them and prevent damage to their cell membranes through the use of a unique mechanism. Of its kind.

Tobacco plants, for example, store these materials in a completely “non-toxic” form. And when they “sense” the presence of parasites and herbivores, they re-excrete those substances in a toxic manner at specific times and within the range of places infested by parasites, insects, and herbivores.

Many plants produce chemical defenses to protect themselves from being eaten, though there is little information available about what makes these substances toxic to those who try to eat the plants.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute and the University of Münster studied how plants produce toxins and store them in their tissues without harming themselves. For the experiments, the researchers chose the “Nicotiana attenuata” plant, one of the wild tobacco types.

Harmless storage

Ian Baldwin of the Max Planck Institute, where the study was conducted, said that these substances are available in very high concentrations in the leaves of tobacco plants.

Further experiments revealed that some components of the cell membrane called “sphingolipids” were attacked.”But we had no idea why they were so effective defenses, or why they were so toxic when produced, so the situation was different from the other toxin that plants produce, nicotine,” Baldwin added.

These defensive substances are found in all animals and plants, including the “manduka Sexta” larvae, which attack wild tobacco, so researchers wondered whether their products could be a target for “diterpene glycosides”.

The analysis of the residues of the “Manduka Sexta” larvae that consumed diterpene glycosides with their food also showed more ideas for the researchers, as they found that the decomposition of phytotoxins during digestion was to some extent reversible to the process of manufacturing substances in plants.

Plants protect themselves from toxins by storing the defenses in a non-toxic form. However, when the insects feed on the plants, the non-toxic part is cut off, and the toxic chemicals are activated.

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