Monthly Archives: September 2016

Random DNA + high-tech math = ‘universal microbial diagnostic’

Rice University scientists have invented a technology that could potentially identify hundreds of bacterial pathogens simply, quickly and at low cost using a single set of random DNA probes. Rice’s “universal microbial diagnostic,” or UMD, uses pieces of randomly assembled DNA and mathematical techniques that were originally pioneered for signal processors inside digital phones and cameras.

NICE Says Yes to Another Hepatitis C Drug

Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir – a tablet taken once daily – works by blocking the virus from multiplying and infecting new cells. Trials of the drug showed cure rates of 89% and above for all genotypes.

People who have genotype 3 are currently treated with an older type of anti-viral drug, which can cause unwanted side effects. Sofosbuvir-velpatasvir will be the first drug that offers more effective treatment to this group of patients – who make up 44% of the patient population with chronic hepatitis C.

IAEA Reports Highlight Nuclear Power’s Role on Global Climate, Sustainable Development Goals

According to the two reports published by IAEA, nuclear power can significantly contribute to two of the world’s most pressing priorities—combating climate change and ensuring sustainable development.

Clean house

The Matiss experiment is investigating antibacterial properties of materials in space to see if future spacecraft could be made easier to clean.

The experiment consists of four identical plaques that ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will place in the European Columbus laboratory and leave for at least three months. France’s CNES space agency, in collaboration with theENS universityof Lyon, research institute CEA-Leti and construction company St Gobain, selected five advanced materials that could stop bacteria from settling and growing on the surface. A sixth element, made of glass, is used as control material.

Traffic noise reduces wild owls’ foraging efficiency

The team of researchers from Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Agriculture, the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, and California Polytechnic State University developed an artificial prey rustling sound to attract owls and thus facilitate observation of the birds’ nighttime hunting pursuits. From December 2014 to March 2015, the team conducted experiments at 103 locations in Yufutsu Plain in Hokkaido and Sendai Plain in Miyagi Prefecture—both in northern Japan—where owls overwinter. In the experiments, researchers scrutinized the foraging activities of 78 owls (45 short-eared owls and 33 long-eared owls) while playing back different levels of recorded traffic noise and a constant level of an artificial prey rustling sound.

Life in ancient oceans enabled by erosion from land

As scientists continue finding evidence for life in the ocean more than 3 billion years ago, those ancient fossils pose a paradox. Organisms, including the single-celled bacteria living in the…