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Latest Max Planck Society Stories

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2010-03-25 06:20:00

Genetic testing on a humanoid pinky finger bone discovered in a Siberian cave in 2008 has revealed the possible existence of a new, previously undiscovered pre-human life form, researchers announced on Wednesday. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the University of Montana's Division of Biological Sciences, the University of Vienna's Department of Anthropology, and the Russian Academy of Sciences published their research online in the journal Nature on...

2010-03-04 16:50:12

Iron atoms convey mussel fibers with a robust but stretchy covering We may like to eat mussels steamed in white wine, but we also like to find mussels at the beach. Mostly they are burrowed into the ground or tethered to rocks. But if you look closer you will find a mollusc which has adapted to life and nutrition in a special and fascinating way. Mussels thrive in rocky seashore habitats, in spite of the enormous physical demands present there. This is in no small part due to the evolution of...

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2010-01-01 08:26:18

DNA that is left in the remains of long-dead plants, animals, or humans allows a direct look into the history of evolution. So far, studies of this kind on ancestral members of our own species have been hampered by scientists' inability to distinguish the ancient DNA from modern-day human DNA contamination. Now, research by Svante Pääbo from The Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, published online on December 31st in Current Biology "” a Cell Press...

2009-11-11 17:41:05

It is currently estimated that natural gas resources will be exhausted in 130 years; however, those reserves where extraction is cost-effective will only flow for another 60 years or so. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research and at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces might be helping to make it worthwhile to tap into previously unused resources. They have developed a catalyst that converts methane to methanol in a simple and efficient process. Methanol can...

2009-09-17 13:19:11

In mice that are missing a protein found only in the brain, neural signals "go crazy," leaving the animals with epileptic seizures from a young age, researchers have found. The report in the September 18th Cell, a Cell Press publication, details what it is that happens when the protein encoded by plasticity related gene-1 (PRG-1) gets lost, revealing an important fine-tuning mechanism for brain function. The researchers show that PRG-1's usual calming influence in the brain depends on its...

2009-09-03 15:38:37

Scientists have suspected that spare parts in the genome"”extra copies of functional genes that arise when genes or whole genomes get duplicated"”might sometimes provide the raw materials for the evolution of new traits. Now, researchers report in a study published online on September 3rd in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, that they have discovered a prime example of this in fish. The researchers show that a duplicate copy of a gene involved in embryonic development has...

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2009-08-21 06:15:00

New European research using global positioning software finds that walking in circles when lost may not be simply a clich©. The scientists presented the first empirical evidence that people do indeed walk in circles when they lack reliable cues to their direction. Researchers in the Multi-sensory Perception and Action Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tbingen examined the walking trajectories of people who walked for several hours in the Sahara desert in...

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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2008-10-14 09:40:00

In a population survey of West African chimpanzees living in Côte d'Ivoire, researchers estimate that this endangered subspecies has dropped in numbers by a whopping 90 percent since the last survey was conducted 18 years ago. The few remaining chimpanzees are now highly fragmented, with only one viable population living in Taï National Park, according to a report in the October 14th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. This alarming...

2008-08-13 12:00:21

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals has formed an exclusive research agreement with the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, to investigate and characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying intracellular transport of small interfering RNA, the molecules that mediate RNA interference. Alnylam said that its scientists will work closely with the laboratory of Marino Zerial, whose team is internationally recognized as being at the forefront of the...


Word of the Day
tessitura
  • The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.
This word is Italian in origin and comes from the Latin 'textura,' web, structure.