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When it rains, plants panic because drops can spread harmful microorganisms.

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When it rains, plants activate a series of fairly complex chemical processes so that rainwater, when it reaches the leaves or surface of a plant, cannot cause damage, especially when acting as a vector of harmful microorganisms.

This is a series of processes that an international team of researchers considers to be very close to the feeling of panic that a person can feel in a dangerous situation. According to Harvey Millar, a researcher from the University of Western Australia and one of the authors of the study, this is a chain reaction caused by a protein called Myc2.

Scientists have noticed that by spraying water on a plant such as Arabidopsis, this protein is activated and thousands of genes are working to defend the plant through warning signs that move from one leaf to another.

But isn’t rain beneficial for plants? Not always. If rain alone can bring water, it is also true that it can be considered one of the main vectors of plant diseases. As the researcher himself explains, when a drop of rain splashes onto a leaf, for example, other smaller droplets reflect in each direction. The same drops contain all kinds of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses or fungal spores. A single reflective drop can spread these microorganisms to other leaves of the same plant or to other plants up to 10 meters away.

When it rains and when the process is activated, one of the chemicals that the plant produces is a hormone called jasmine acid. This is a basic hormone because it is used to send signals between plants and because plants cannot move and cannot move, they rely on these very complex signaling systems to protect themselves and communicate, for example, that they have their own defense mechanisms on.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/37/18723

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https://scx2.b-cdn.net/gfx/news/hires/2018/plant.jpg

Jane Baker

An established and well-respected journalist, Jane worked for The Pueblo Chieftain (chieftain.com) as an editor for many years and holds an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Northern Colorado. In her free time she enjoys motorcycling, hiking and reading. She is largely responsible for assisting with research and writing new stories relating to new medical research.

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Deep artificial neural networks are being used to understand the brain

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Artificial neural networks for predicting brain reactions to any visual stimulus: this is what the scientists at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Tübingen, Germany, have developed. This is a relatively new computational approach that can be used, as stated in a press release presenting the research that appeared in Nature Neuroscience, to dismantle the nervous mechanisms of sensation and, in principle, to automatically understand what the brain likes to see.

“We want to understand how vision works. We approached this study by developing an artificial neural network that predicts the neural activity produced when an animal looks at images. If we manage to build such an avatar of the visual system, we can conduct essentially unlimited experiments. So we can go back and test real brains with what we call inceptive loops,” says Andreas Tolias, Baylor professor and senior research author.

To understand how the brain works by reconstructing information about photons hitting the retina, scientists conducted experiments on mice, showing more than 5,000 natural images and recording neural activity while the images were coming, as Edgar Y explains. Walker, a former lab student in Tolias and now a researcher, has a Tübingen researcher who is also involved in the research. Through the data obtained, the researchers have “trained” a deep artificial neural network to mimic the way biological neurons react to visual stimuli.

“To see if the network had really learned to predict neural responses to visual images, just like a mouse’s living brain, we showed images of the network that it had not seen during science and saw that it was predicting biological neural responses with high precision,” explains Fabian Sinz, another researcher involved in the study.

This study will be useful to better understand how the highly complex neurophysiological processes that use the brain are introduced to enable us to see.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://www.bcm.edu/news/brain/deep-neural-networks-what-brains-like

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-019-0517-x

Image Credit:

https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2018/03/RecycleNetwork_1300Lede1.jpg

Jane Baker

An established and well-respected journalist, Jane worked for The Pueblo Chieftain (chieftain.com) as an editor for many years and holds an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Northern Colorado. In her free time she enjoys motorcycling, hiking and reading. She is largely responsible for assisting with research and writing new stories relating to new medical research.

1387 Berry Street, Saguache Colorado, 81149
719-655-0938
Jane@abc14news.com
Jane Baker
Continue Reading

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According to new research, the universe could be curved

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Nowadays, the most popular theories about the structure of the universe seem to suggest that the latter has a flat form: the universe seems to stretch in every direction, without borders and without turning away from each other, as would happen with a curved universe, for example in the form of a sphere, or a closed universe. In a “closed” universe, starting from any point and travelling long enough in a straight line, you will return to the starting point.

Now a new study that has appeared in Nature Astronomy seems to contradict the theories that have gained more strength in recent years: according to the authors of this new study, which was based on cosmic microwave data, the universe could have been curved. It would have a very weak curve, a flexural curve so imperceptible that it would have absolutely no effect on our existence or even on our own galaxy, but it would allow, absurdly, the traveler who left the point to reach the same point without ever turning back.

According to Alessandro Melchiorre, one of the authors of the study, the first reason why most astronomers believe that the universe is flat is because the physics of exponential expansion occurred at the beginning of the big bang, when from an infinitely small point the space grew with incredible speed and even more incredible distances (we are talking about a small fraction of a second after the big bang). However, the researchers noticed an anomaly in the cosmic background radiation, the oldest thing we can observe in our universe and which is created by electromagnetic radiation, which comes to us in the form of microwaves, considered to be the “remnant” of the event associated with the big bang.

According to researchers, there would be more “gravitational lenses” in this background radiation than expected. A gravitational lens is the effect of the light itself being attracted by gravity and then deformed. This means that CMB microwaves can be bent more than expected, and that’s more than the physics we’ve developed today can explain. To reach this conclusion, scientists used the latest data from the Planck experiment, released last year, an experiment that mapped the same CMB in much more detail.

In connection with the possibility of a greater ‘gravitational lens’ effect in CMB, researchers are now talking about a new additional variable called ‘A_lens’, a variable that would have little to do with the same theory of relativity to understand the very labile theoretical environment in which the same scientists live: “We discovered that we could explain A_lens with a positively curved universe that is a much more physical interpretation than one that can be explained by general relativity,” explains Melchiorre in an article on “Live Science” in connection with the publication of a new study.

According to Andrei Linde, a well-known cosmologist from Stanford, this new study did not take into account another important study published on October 1 in arXiv (not yet reviewed). It would be a document in which two cosmologists from Cambridge, George Efstathiou and Steven Gratton, who also worked on the Planck project, came to conclusions that indicate that the universe is flat.

In addition, according to Linde, a new study of natural astronomy, although commendable, would be based on too small a piece of data from Planck.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/universe-may-be-curved.html

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-019-0906-9

Image Credit:

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/universe-in-giant-loop.jpg?quality=90&strip=all

Jane Baker

An established and well-respected journalist, Jane worked for The Pueblo Chieftain (chieftain.com) as an editor for many years and holds an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Northern Colorado. In her free time she enjoys motorcycling, hiking and reading. She is largely responsible for assisting with research and writing new stories relating to new medical research.

1387 Berry Street, Saguache Colorado, 81149
719-655-0938
Jane@abc14news.com
Jane Baker
Continue Reading

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“Artificial leaf” to create methanol from carbon dioxide produced by scientists

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When we talk about technologies that can convert elements such as carbon into fuel, we often quote the term ‘artificial leaf’, because converting carbon dioxide into useful fuel is more or less what a plant does when it converts the same carbon dioxide into oxygen. And we talk about an “artificial leaf” in a press release issued by the Waterloo University website, according to which a team of researchers who published their research on Nature Energy developed a new technology that “imitates the real leaf and photosynthesis process,” as explained Yimin Wu, Professor of Engineering at the Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology and Principal Author of the research.

Scientists have developed a method for producing methanol from carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is considered to be the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions and therefore, according to death, global warming and the possibility of using it for something useful from the fuel point of view, which is methanol, would mean “killing two birds with one stone.” Researchers used copper oxide, a relatively cheap red powder resulting from a chemical reaction with four substances: glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide, and dodecyl sodium sulfate.

This powder acts as a catalyst for a second chemical reaction, which is performed by blowing carbon dioxide into the water and using a white light beam that simulates solar radiation. Finally, a chemical reaction is obtained which produces oxygen, as well as photosynthesis of plants and methanol. Methanol can be collected when it evaporates when the solution is heated.

Nowadays, researchers are working to increase the efficiency of the amount of methanol that can be obtained from the reaction and to understand whether this process can be marketed and thus made available to everyone.

“Climate change is an urgent problem and we can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions while developing an alternative fuel,” explains Wu.


Related Articles and Sources:

https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/scientists-create-artificial-leaf-turns-carbon-dioxide-fuel

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-019-0490-3

Image Credit:

https://themindunleashed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Artifical-Leaf.jpg

Jane Baker

An established and well-respected journalist, Jane worked for The Pueblo Chieftain (chieftain.com) as an editor for many years and holds an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Northern Colorado. In her free time she enjoys motorcycling, hiking and reading. She is largely responsible for assisting with research and writing new stories relating to new medical research.

1387 Berry Street, Saguache Colorado, 81149
719-655-0938
Jane@abc14news.com
Jane Baker
Continue Reading

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