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Latest Opsin Stories

Solving 100-year Mystery Of How Birds Sense Light
2014-07-09 03:18:09

Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University Professor Takashi Yoshimura and colleagues of the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (WPI-ITbM) of Nagoya University have finally found the missing piece in how birds sense light by identifying a deep brain photoreceptor in Japanese quails, in which the receptor directly responds to light and controls seasonal breeding activity. Although it has been known for over 100 years that vertebrates apart from mammals...

2014-02-10 11:15:53

Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons' electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. Within the past decade, it has become a very powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain. Most of these light-sensitive proteins, known as opsins, respond to light in the blue-green range. Now, a team led by MIT has discovered an opsin that is sensitive to red light, which allows researchers...

New Field Of Optogenetics Could Offer Solutions For Cardiac Arrhythmia
2013-09-19 14:05:49

National Science Foundation With a few flicks of a light switch--on-off-on-off--Stanford University's Oscar Abilez is one step closer to changing the lives of millions. Why? Because as a focused speck of light turns on and off in Abilez's lab, a cluster of heart cells begins to expand and contract. He demonstrates that he can control the rhythm of a heart using just light. Currently, 4 million Americans suffer from some degree of cardiac arrhythmia, wherein a person's heart beats too...

For Your Eyes Only: Understanding How Sight Evolved
2013-07-29 12:19:33

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The ability to look out for predators or see a distant source of water has allowed humans to get where we are today, but how did our sense of vision evolve throughout time? In a newly published research review, Trevor Lamb, a neuroscientist at the Australian National University, decided to look into several questions surrounding the evolution of the human eye. "There are profound questions about the eye which are still not easy to...

Scientist Recommends Research Method Change For Evolutionary Biology
2013-02-16 08:11:00

April Flowers for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online Shozo Yokoyama, a biologist at Emory University, says evolutionary biologists need to shift their focus from present-day molecules to synthesized, ancestral ones to truly understand the mechanisms of natural selection. Yokoyama presented evidence to support his claim at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) meeting in Boston this week. "This is not just an evolutionary biology problem, it's a science problem,"...

2013-02-07 15:27:50

Among the animals that are appealing “cover models” for scientific journals, lancelets don´t spring readily to mind. Slender, limbless, primitive blobs that look pretty much the same end to end, lancelets “are extremely boring. I wouldn´t recommend them for a home aquarium,” says Enrico Nasi, adjunct senior scientist in the MBL´s Cellular Dynamics Program. Yet Nasi and his collaborators managed to land a lancelet on the cover of The Journal of...

2012-12-05 11:03:18

The ability of the eye of a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) to respond to light depends on a delicate ballet that keeps the supply of light sensors called rhodopsin constant as photoreceptors turn on and off in response to light exposures, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) and the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (http://www.nri.texaschildrens.org/) at Texas Children's Hospital in an article that appears online in the journal PLOS Biology...

The Evolution Of Vision
2012-10-30 04:46:51

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A new study from the University of Bristol, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), sheds light on the origin of sight in animals, including humans. The research team, led by Dr. David Pisani of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, used computer modeling to provide a detailed picture of how and when opsins evolved. Opsins are conjugated protein enzymes. These enzymes are components of the visual...

2012-10-17 22:52:30

On the road at night or on a tennis court at dusk, the eye can be deceived. Vision is not as sharp as in the light of day, and detecting a bicyclist on the road or a careening tennis ball can be tough. New research reveals the key chemical process that corrects for potential visual errors in low-light conditions. Understanding this fundamental step could lead to new treatments for visual deficits, or might one day boost normal night vision to new levels. Like the mirror of a telescope...


Word of the Day
cruet
  • A vial or small glass bottle, especially one for holding vinegar, oil, etc.; a caster for liquids.
This word is Middle English in origin, and ultimately comes from the Old French, diminutive of 'crue,' flask.
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