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Latest Max Planck Institute Stories

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2009-04-30 16:10:00

Scientists believe that ice volcanoes observed on Saturn's moon Enceladus may stem from a sea beneath its surface, which could support theories for the existence of extraplanetary life. Since the Cassini spacecraft arrived on Saturn four years ago, scientists have been trying to determine what is causing Enceladus' volcanoes to spew ice. "What we have seen over the course of our travels has informed, moved and amazed us," planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, who heads Cassini's imaging team,...

2009-04-28 07:30:00

ST. LOUIS, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sigma-Aldrich (Nasdaq: SIAL) today announced the global release of MISSION(R) esiRNA, a pool of gene-specific siRNA that provides a novel and powerful approach to RNAi screening in mammalian cells. Unlike traditional synthetic RNAi, esiRNA (http://www.sigma.com/esirna) incorporates a pool of hundreds of siRNAs against a single gene target. This new tool is designed to eliminate the trial and error approach of identifying a single siRNA for gene...

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2009-04-21 09:05:58

Scientists in the US and Germany have discovered two of the most complex molecules ever to be found in space, and their scientific models imply that even larger molecules, such as amino acids, may also exist. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, Cornell University in the US, and the University of Cologne in Germany have reported the discovery of ethyl formate and n-propyl cyanide in space. Using the IRAM 30 m telescope in Spain, the team discovered...

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2009-04-21 08:00:00

The photoreceptor cells in the retinas of nocturnal mammals have a unique nuclear organisation and act as light-guiding micro-lenses. This improves nocturnal visionThe DNA of a mammalian cell is about two metres long if all base pairs were aligned in one string. To fit this genetic material in a nucleus of only a few microns diameter, the DNA is wrapped around millions of so-called histon proteins that are arranged like pearls on a string, leading to a 10,000-fold compaction of the DNA. This...

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2009-02-27 11:15:00

Researchers said on Thursday that bacteria found in human spit does not vary much around the world, a finding that could provide insights into how diet and cultural factors affect human health. Experts say the human body harbors 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells and researchers are hoping to learn more about the diverse array of microbial species we carry in our mouths. While little is known about the diversity of the bacteria found in people's spit and how it relates to diet,...

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2009-02-12 11:40:00

Scientists said Thursday that they have mapped a first draft of the Neanderthal genome, which might reveal the links between modern humans and their prehistoric cousins. Researchers used DNA fragments extracted from three Croatian fossils to show over 60 percent of the entire Neanderthal genome and sequencing three billion bases of DNA. "The Neanderthal genome sequence will clarify the evolutionary relationship between humans and Neanderthals as well as help identify those genetic changes...

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2009-02-05 10:00:00

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy detect that stars were forming at record speeds in the small core region of an infant galaxy When galaxies are born, do their stars form everywhere at once, or only within a small core region? Recent measurements of an international team led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy provide the first concrete evidence that star-forming regions in infant galaxies are indeed small - but also hyperactive, producing stars at...

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2009-01-19 11:30:35

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tbingen, Germany, determined the structure of a protein (L1ORF1p), which is encoded by a parasitic genetic element and which is responsible for its mobility. The so-called LINE-1 retrotransposon is a mobile genetic element that can multiply and insert itself into chromosomal DNA at many different locations. This disturbs the genetic code at the site of integration, which can have serious consequences for the organism. On the...

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2009-01-14 15:16:37

New research is challenging the recent finding that plants could be a major source of the atmosphere's methane levels. A study from 2006 suggested plants could account for almost half of the global production of the greenhouse gas, yet a UK-based team has found that under normal conditions, plants just convey methane from the soil to the air without actually producing it. The research suggests identifying sources of methane is key for climate control, as the gas is about 20 times more potent...

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2009-01-13 15:23:26

Scientists discover a conserved signaling module controlling the formation of dauer or infective larvae in nematodes 150 years after Darwin's epochal "On the Origin of Species" many questions about the molecular basis of evolution are still waiting for answers. How are signaling pathways changed by genes and by the environment enabling the development of new species? Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tbingen, Germany, strive to decode the molecular basis of...


Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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