|ShxC expression in the egg developing inside the mother’s ovary. |
Photo by Jean-Michel Carter
A new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics (23 October 2014, PLOS Genet 10(10): e1004698) shows some very striking images of developing butterfly embryos; they look like little tennis balls! Dr Melanie Gibbs of the Centre for Ecology & [...]
A new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics (23 October 2014, PLOS Genet 10(10): e1004698) shows some very striking images of developing butterfly embryos; they look like little tennis balls! Dr Melanie Gibbs of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), one of the authors on the paper, explains where this unusual pattern comes from and how it may be linked to offspring survival. >Butterfly tennis balls: ShxA expression in 10 hour old embryos. Photo by Jean-Michel Carter“One of the first things that happens when insects begin to develop inside a freshly laid egg is that cells differentiate into those that will become the embryo, and those that will form extraembryonic tissue. The extraembryonic tissue covers the embryo and consists of a number of membranes, most notably the amnion and the serosa.
Hox genes are normally involved in patterning the embryo from head to tail, but one Hox gene called zerknüllt (zen) took on a new role and became involved in extraembryonic tissue formation in insects. A collaborative project led by researchers at University of Oxford working with scientists at Oxford Brookes University and CEH has recently found that during the evolution of butterflies and moths, zen duplicated a number of times resulting in four novel genes, called the Special homeobox genes (shx).
Although zen has been shown to duplicate in other insect orders, such a large number of zen-derived genes has never been witnessed before.
This begs the question; what do they do?During his PhD, Jean-Michel Carter (co-supervised by Dr. Casper Breuker, Oxford Brookes University and myself at CEH) found that in the Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria) mothers put RNA transcripts of two of these genes, ShxC and ShxD, into the eggs they produce in their ovaries. These transcripts are put in the eggs in the location where the extraembryonic tissue will form.
Such localisation actually represents one of the most complex examples of RNA localisation within a cell ever reported in any species, with the mother outlining the region that will become the future extraembryonic tissue before fertilisation and egg laying has even occurred!>ShxC expression in the egg developing inside the mother’s ovary.
Photo by Jean-Michel CarterIt is possible to visualise the location of specific RNA transcripts by using custom-made probes, called riboprobes, which colour purple when the RNA of interest is detected and bound. When you use such probes for Shx gene transcripts in both the ovaries and developing embryos (at around 10 hours old) and look under the microscope, you see an amazing pattern which closely resembles the pattern on a tennis ball.
These patterns become even clearer when the embryo itself also starts expressing the ShxA and ShxB genes in the extraembryonic region which will become the serosa. So we started wondering what is a serosa exactly, and is it important? We are also intrigued as to why Speckled Wood mothers go to such lengths to make sure that this tissue is specified even before fertilisation occurs. The insect serosa is considered to be an evolutionary novelty, which has been linked with the successful colonisation of the land by a large number of insect orders.
For example, their predominantly aquatic sister group, the crustaceans, do not have a serosa. Apart from protecting the embryo from drying out, the serosa may also play a role in the innate immune system and the processing of environmental toxins. Thus by ensuring that the serosa develops correctly, butterfly mothers can therefore greatly improve their offspring’s chances of developing successfully and surviving to hatch from the egg, in often hostile and changeable terrestrial environments.
”Melanie Gibbs >A Speckled Wood female laying an egg.
Photo by Casper BreukerAdditional informationFull paper reference: Ferguson L, Marletaz F, Carter J-M, Taylor WR, Gibbs M, Breuker CJ & Holland PWH. 2014.
Ancient expansion of the Hox cluster in Lepidoptera generated four homeobox genes implicated in extra-embryonic tissue formation, PLOS Genetics 10 (10): e1004698; doi: 10. 1371/journal. pgen. 1004698.
By Mark Burd / 412-268-3486, Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 PITTSBURGH—Fifteen teams have been chosen to work at the Carnegie Mellon University Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site, designed to create an effective and replicable process to commercialize innovations based on customer discovery [...]
By Mark Burd / 412-268-3486, Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 PITTSBURGH—Fifteen teams have been chosen to work at the Carnegie Mellon University Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site, designed to create an effective and replicable process to commercialize innovations based on customer discovery and product adaptation. The objective of the I-Corps Site is to help students and faculty members hone their skills, collaborate with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, and transition their research out of the lab and into commercial sectors. As a vehicle for promoting university innovation, entrepreneurship and growth, the program leverages CMU's acknowledged strength in encouraging and fueling entrepreneurship as well as building relationships with internal and external partners in the business community. The 15 teams are comprised of faculty members, alumni and students at the undergraduate, graduate and Ph.
The companies cover enterprises ranging from adaptive traffic signals, to on-the-go food options, to lightweight, durable air freight containers.
The 2014 CMU I-Corps Site teams include: AbiliLife: designs products that provide spinal comfort and support; Accessivist: an informational resource for the access-challenged community - a nationwide ratings and reviews system for those utilizing wheelchairs and assistive walking devices; Ancure, LLC: a medical device coating company that aims to treat brain aneurysms using controlled release of biologics; BreatheWise: a device that measures the level of oxygen remaining in individual oxygen tanks; Carbon Freight: produces airline freight containers made of carbon-fiber composites that are lighter weight, more durable and easily repaired than current ultralight containers; Digest-O-Mat: creates integrated waste processing units that convert compostable materials into fertilizer and usable methane gas; Expii: a one-stop destination for truly exciting and interactive expositions, empowering users to create rich and adaptive content on an open platform; Gastronome Foods: a proprietary technological approach to make on-the-go foods, such as pancakes and desirable on-the-go baked foods with nutritional value for the pediatric and geriatric markets; Innovesca: a food technology company that produces high-quality, all-natural ingredients with optimized nutrition from underutilized plants in developing regions; LumiShield: produces environmentally responsible, cost-effective coating solutions; PillowCastle: a game that teaches how to understand and use perspective to solve problems; Salix Lignopolymers: produces additives for concrete to increase viscosity, reduce water usage and improve strength; Surtrac: creates technology that implements an adaptive traffic signal control to move traffic more efficiently and reduce wasteful car idling; Teratonix: makes an energy harvesting diode that can convert ambient heat into electricity for powering sensors, cellphones, laptops and room AC; and Visantica: creates revolutionary machine-learning based solutions providing architects, engineers and designers with unparalleled object recognition and 3D modeling capabilities. In June 2014, the National Science Foundation awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to the Carnegie Mellon Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) to create the I-Corps Site on campus. CIE was created in 2012 to support the culture of innovation at Carnegie Mellon and to accelerate the commercialization of university research and innovative ideas. The creation of the CMU I-Corps Site has been a collaboration among several members of the CMU community.
I-Corps was started by CMU President Subra Suresh when he was the director of the National Science Foundation. The principal investigator (PI) on the project is Lenore Blum, co-director of the CIE.
Co-PIs are Randal E.
Bryant, former dean of the School of Computer Science, currently on sabbatical leave; Robert Dammon, dean of the Tepper School of Business; David Mawhinney, co-director of the CIE; and Robert Wooldridge, director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation. The program will combine CMU's curricula with curricula from other I-Corps programs. ###.
EBOLA UPDATE: Medical Aid Worker Tests Positive in New York City ( New PublicHealth is monitoring the public health crisis in West Africa.) A hospitalized medical worker has tested positive for Ebola in [...]
EBOLA UPDATE: Medical Aid Worker Tests Positive in New York City(NewPublicHealth is monitoring the public health crisis in West Africa. )A hospitalized medical worker has tested positive for Ebola in New York City, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The medical aid worker had volunteered in Guinea. The patient is currently in isolation in Bellevue Hospital—one of eight New York State hospitals that Governor Cuomo designated to treat Ebola patients—as the CDC’s laboratory performs confirmation testing.
Read more on Ebola.
HHS: $840M to Improve Patient Care While Reducing CostsThe U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced an $840 million initiative to improve patient care while also reducing costs, which will encourage patients to seek early preventive care more often. The initiative “will fund successful applicants who work directly with medical providers to rethink and redesign their practices, moving from systems driven by quantity of care to ones focused on patients’ health outcomes, and coordinated health care systems,” according to a release.
Potential strategies include: Giving doctors better access to patient information, such as information on prescription drug use to help patients take their medications properly Expanding the number of ways patients are able communicate with the team of clinicians taking care of them Improving the coordination of patient care by primary care providers, specialists, and the broader medical community Using electronic health records on a daily basis to examine data on quality and efficiency Read more on prevention. EPA Announces $3M to Reduce Diesel Emissions from School BusesThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced approximately $3 million in funding to reduce diesel emissions from school buses. Through the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Rebate program, eligible public and private school bus fleet owners can apply for funding to replace school buses that have “older, dirtier” diesel engines, which will in turn improve air quality. "School buses are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport children to and from school," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in a release.
“The rebates to retrofit older bus engines will provide healthier rides for the 25 million children across the country who ride them on a daily basis. ” Read more on air and water quality.
Energy consumption has become the no. 1 cost factor in numerous sectors. Pumps and fans with their motors and drive systems represent a significant percentage of the overall industrial energy consumption. If you can identify energy saving potential, then [...]
Energy consumption has become the no. 1 cost factor in numerous sectors. Pumps and fans with their motors and drive systems represent a significant percentage of the overall industrial energy consumption. If you can identify energy saving potential, then you have clear business advantages – which are ultimately manifested in a higher degree of competitiveness.
This is the main reason that SinaSave is popular with experts. Based on individual plant and system parameters, it calculates the energy saving potential in specific applications.
The new version 6.
0 has many new features.
SinaSave goes Integrated Drive Systems Already on the start page users can see one of the decisive new features: Using SinaSave, they can simply and easily calculate the energy saving potential and payback times for individual products – as well as for complete drive systems – according to the Siemens Integrated Drive Systems (IDS) concept. The IDS concept is based on the fact that users obtain a special value-added as a result of the seamless integration of the various components of a drive train at the product level, in the automation environment and in the lifecycle of a plant. As a consequence, the focus shifts from individual products to the complete drive train. With the latest version of SinaSave it is now possible to analyze complete drive systems for pumps and fans, clearly reflecting that SinaSave takes now the Siemens IDS concept into account.
SinaSave can be used for converter-based variable-speed systems – as well as motors connected directly to the line supply with motor starters. New design and simpler operation The SinaSave look & feel has been completely revamped.
The new version sets itself apart as a result of its state-of-the-art visual appearance and many new functions.
It can be intuitively used as a result of the graphically oriented operating concept. After users enter the operating profile and parameters of their applications, essential results are immediately graphically visualized, for instance, the power drawn by the compared drive systems. The impact of individual parameters becomes instantly clear.
The new SinaSave version is available in German and English; additional languages are planned for the future.
With its extensive range of functions, it offers an excellent decision-making basis when investing in a drive concept. Determine your energy saving potential and amortization based on your particular application conditions with SinaSave.
Just about every think tank, school of public health and infectious disease association has held a conference on Ebola in the last few weeks, but two coming up are still absolutely worth tracking. Now that New York City has [...]
Just about every think tank, school of public health and infectious disease association has held a conference on Ebola in the last few weeks, but two coming up are still absolutely worth tracking. Now that New York City has seen is first diagnosis of Ebola, an already scheduled conference next week at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has taken on added importance. Presenters include ABC News Chief Health and Medical editor and former acting U. S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser, MD, as well as Irwin Redlener, MD, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Earth Institute. While the conversation surrounding the Ebola cases in Dallas focused on the need for health care workers to receive better guidance and training, hours into the first case in New York City the focus is on the challenge of containing the disease in a huge urban setting—a topic the presenters will discuss at length.
And on November 7, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will host a simulcast workshop together with Texas A&M, the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of California, Berkeley to discuss proposals to dispatch robots to aid in the care of Ebola patients and people who have succumbed to the disease.
The idea is to augment — and not replace — health workers. Robots could spray disinfectant, respond to commands given by health workers in a remote location and even help bury the dead. The conference will include not just engineers, but also public health officials and health care personnel who can speak to the human needs that need to be considered when design the robots.
For example, Texas A&M engineering students are working on a robotic attachment that would pick up a dead body in movements that mimic compassion, rather than in another way that may be efficient but does not show sensitivity for the dead and their families.
>>Bonus Link: Read an interview with the conference conveners. .
Less than six weeks separate us from the beginning of HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona, Dec 2-4. Here is a list of the sessions that will be presented by HP Labs researchers. In the coming weeks we will preview each [...]
Less than six weeks separate us from the beginning of HP Discover 2014 in Barcelona, Dec 2-4. Here is a list of the sessions that will be presented by HP Labs researchers. In the coming weeks we will preview each session so be sure to check back for more information about these thought-provoking and forward-looking presentations on the HP Labs technologies you’ll be able to both hear about and see in action in the Discover Zone. Sign up now to be sure you have a spot!HP Discover Session CatalogInnovation Theater Session:Session ID IT6551 - Inventing the future, HP LabsBernardo Huberman - Senior Fellow and Director, Mechanisms and Design Lab, HP LabsRich Friedrich - Director, Systems Software for The Machine, HP LabsSujata Banerjee - Distinguished Technologist, HP LabsAnuneha Mewawalla - HP Labs CommunicationsHP Discover is all about the future.
And HP Labs – HP’s central research arm – is all about the far future. At HP Labs we’re not just looking toward the future, we’re creating it.
Join three of HP’s leading Senior Technologists to learn how the IT landscape is evolving and how it will transform your world as you know it.
Lately, I’ve been talk to some folks about problems they are having in their production environments. As I talk with them about the issues they encounter it seems clear they don’t even know their environment well enough to ask [...]
Lately, I’ve been talk to some folks about problems they are having in their production environments. As I talk with them about the issues they encounter it seems clear they don’t even know their environment well enough to ask the right questions, let alone answer them. Critical thinking skills were something where a great deal of work was focused on when computing resources were scarce and thinking time was relatively abundant (because you were sitting around waiting for code to compile). Now those forced breaks are rare, so people spend their time iterating through the coding process without having a chance to take a step back.
I don’t think agile techniques should cause a reduction in critical thinking, but I just see the potential is there to not really understand the architecture, the business rational… - since most developers are now so enamored with having working code. If you’re properly doing code reviews/walkthroughs you can outsource some of that big picture work to someone else and you’re forced to think it through.
Lately I’ve been looking at Lean Six-sigma techniques and applying them to operations management.
This view is not anything new, but the abundance of computing capabilities should allow us to drive the costs out of its application. This technique usually involves asking these same kind of big picture questions although operations is a bit late in the process for that. Do you see these issues too? What do you do about them?.
science makes you happy (Pharrell Williams) from KEMRI WELLCOME TRUST RES. PRO on Vimeo. This week we’re taking a departure from our usual static image of the week to bring you a moving image of happiness! As part of [...]
science makes you happy (Pharrell Williams) from KEMRI WELLCOME TRUST RES. PRO on Vimeo. This week we’re taking a departure from our usual static image of the week to bring you a moving image of happiness! As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme in Kenya, the team wanted to express their happiness. What better way to do that than by joining in the craze of creating videos to accompany Pharrell’s upbeat track “Happy”? “It was quite a task getting guys to loosen up” says KEMRI-Wellcome’s Cynthia Mauncho, “but because it included all the programme staff we approached it in a fun easy-going way and the results are fantastic”.
(We agree!) The 25th anniversary celebrations are in full flow today and Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, will be joining in the festivities and touring the labs at the centre. There is an exhibition telling the story KEMRI-Wellcome’s history and the new Mbuyuni Training Complex will be officially opened.
We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on 25 years of excellent research that has led to 75 PhDs, changed policy and helped improve health in Africa.
Here’s to a very happy future!Filed under: External News, Funding, International, Wellcome Featured Image Tagged: Happy, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, KEMRI-WT
Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. [...]
Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. Cosmic inflation refers to a period of rapid, accelerated expansion that scientists think took place about 14 billion years ago. Our universe has likely never grown as quickly as it did during that period. Faster than the blink of an eye, the whole universe expanded so that an area the size of an atom was suddenly the size of a grapefruit.
Scientists think this expansion was driven by the potential energy of the inflaton field, a new field that turned on just after the big bang. Support for the theory of cosmic inflation comes from the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, a pattern of light released when the early universe first cooled enough for particles to travel freely through it.
Although nearly uniform, the CMB contains ripples.
Scientists think these were caused by tiny quantum fluctuations that were amplified to huge scales by cosmic inflation. Scientists study cosmic inflation through experiments at telescopes, such as the Planck satellite and BICEP2 at the South Pole. These experiments measure elements of the CMB, looking for the footprints of inflation.
When inflation ended, the expansion of our universe began to slow down.
But then another influence took over, pushing it back to an accelerating rate. This influence is thought to be dark energy.
Like what you see? Sign up for a free subscription to symmetry! .
A partial solar eclipse was visible from much of North America before sundown on Thursday, Oct.23. A partial eclipse occurs when the moon blocks a portion of the sun from view. The Hinode spacecraft captured images of yesterday’s eclipse as [...]
A partial solar eclipse was visible from much of North America before sundown on Thursday, Oct. 23. A partial eclipse occurs when the moon blocks a portion of the sun from view. The Hinode spacecraft captured images of yesterday’s eclipse as it passed over North America using its X-ray Telescope.
During the eclipse, the new moon eased across the sun from right to left with the Sun shining brilliantly in the background. And as a stroke of good luck, this solar cycle’s largest active region, which has been the source of several large flares over the past week, was centered on the sun’s disk as the moon transited! Hinode is in the eighth year of its mission to observe the sun.
Previously, Hinode has observed numerous eclipses due to its high-altitude, sun-synchronous orbit.
As viewed from Hinode’s vantage point in space, this eclipse was annular instead of partial, which means that the entire moon moved in front of the sun but did not cover it completely. In this situation, a ring of the sun encircles the dark disk of the moon. Led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Hinode mission is a collaboration between the space agencies of Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.
NASA helped in the development, funding and assembly of the spacecraft's three science instruments.
Hinode is part of the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) Program within the Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
, manages the Hinode science operations. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is the lead U. S.
investigator for the X-ray telescope.
Image Credit: NASA/JAXA/SAO
Your end of the week robot videos
Your end of the week robot videos
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