Researchers detect cosmic rays from a galaxy far, far away
In Argentina, at the Pierre Auger Observatory, scientists recorded cosmic rays coming from outside the galaxy. According to Karl-Heinz Kampert, the spokesman for the Auger Collaboration, he and hundreds of other collaborators are making progress in uncovering the origin of cosmic rays.
By studying cosmic rays, scientists can understand more about the creation of matter that make up the nuclei in the elements on Earth. Furthermore, it is the gateway to learning more about matter originating from and existing in the solar system, as well as the Milky Way galaxy.
The Pierre Auger Observatory used a type of electromagnetic radiation, called Cherenkov light, to detect the cosmic rays, which make rare arrivals to the atmosphere of the Earth. After studying the distribution of more than several thousand cosmic particles, they discovered that cosmic rays come from outside the galaxy. The findings were published in the journal, Science.
Ongoing research is being done to identify the extragalactic sources of the cosmic rays, which is important as cosmic rays are becoming more rare to find.
Scientists make first attempt to modify human embryo to explore gene function
At the Francis Crick Institute in London, United Kingdom, researchers deleted a gene in human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization experiments for the first time. A gene-editing technique that had not previously been used in human embryos, CRISPR/Cas9 was used order to study the role of the gene, OCT4, on human development.
After getting approval for their research proposal from the national government, Kathy Niakan, a developmental biologist, and her colleagues spent a year optimizing the experimental technique in embryos and human stem cells. Once they conducted the study, the researchers saw that the removal of OCT4 decreased the formation of blastocysts, which are balls of cells that form several days into fertilization, going with the prediction that OCT4 is essential for human development.
However, the researchers were surprised when they discovered that OCT4 played an important role in the development of the placenta. Such a finding, which was published in the journal, Nature, has helped scientists acquire further insight into human biology, and maybe, one day, help to improve fertility treatments.
Scientist found that Neanderthal brains developed more slowly
A team of researchers at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, Spain, conducted an analysis of the well-preserved remains of the Neanderthal child. According to the paper published in Science, the researchers discovered that it takes longer for Neanderthal children to develop their brains than human children.
The bones of a Neanderthal boy, who was around seven-and-a-half years old upon his death, were uncovered at a site in El Sidrón, Spain, which dates back to 49,000 years ago. By looking at the teeth, scientists were able to make an accurate estimate of his age, and calculated that the Neanderthal boy had 87.5% of the size of a fully developed brain of an Neanderthal adult. On the other hand, a human child at the same age would have around 95% of the brain size of a human adult.
The findings challenged research that suggested Neanderthals had a faster development period, which is indicative of having less sophisticated brains, than humans. Antonio Rosas, the leader of the research team, stated that their study will support the fact that Neanderthal were not that different from humans.
Source: BBC News