One day our sun will solidify into a giant crystal orb

latimes.com – Remnants of white dwarf stars have crystal cores made of metallic oxygen and carbon. The solidification slows the aging process by billions of years.

Source: Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay, et al. Core crystallization and pile-up in the cooling sequence of evolving white dwarfs. Nature, 2019.

Neurons From People With Autism Grow Differently, Scientists Find

discovermagazine.com – Researchers announced this week that they may have helped illuminate another small piece of the puzzle that is autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disorder that can impact social communication and behavior. In a paper published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, an international team of neuroscientists described a process that used participants’ skin cells to …

Source: Simon T. Schafer, et al. Pathological priming causes developmental gene network heterochronicity in autistic subject-derived neurons. Nature Neuroscience, 2019.

3D printed implant promotes nerve cell growth to treat spinal cord injury

eurekalert.org – For the first time, researchers at University of California San Diego have used rapid 3D printing technologies to create a spinal cord, then successfully implanted that scaffolding, loaded with neural stem cells, into sites of severe spinal cord injury in rats.

Source: Jacob Koffler, et al. Biomimetic 3D-printed scaffolds for spinal cord injury repair. Nature Medicine, 2019.

Climate change intensifies war of the birds

eurekalert.org – University of Groningen (UG) biologists have discovered that climate change has an effect on the regular clashes between great tits and pied flycatchers during the breeding season. In some years, great tits killed 10 percent of the male pied flycatchers. UG researchers have published an analysis of this behavior on Jan. 10 in the journal Current Biology.

Source: Jelmer M. Samplonius, Christiaan Both. Climate Change May Affect Fatal Competition between Two Bird Species. Current Biology, 2019.

Newly Identified Virus Similar to Ebola, Marburg

the-scientist.com – Mengla virus, detected in bats in China, infects cells through the same host receptor targeted by the deadly pathogens.

Source: Xing-Lou Yang, et al. Characterization of a filovirus (Měnglà virus) from Rousettus bats in China. Nature Microbiology, 2019.

AI can diagnose some genetic disorders using photos of faces

arstechnica.com – DeepGestalt takes faces apart and reassembles them to diagnose genetic disorders.

Source: Yaron Gurovich, et al. Identifying facial phenotypes of genetic disorders using deep learning. Nature Medicine, 2019.

Millions of years ago a massive whale-eating whale roamed the seas

newscientist.com – Huge sharp-toothed whales lived in the oceans million of years ago. An analysis of stomach contents suggests the species was top of the food chain

Source: Manja Voss, Mohammed Sameh M. Antar, Iyad S. Zalmout, Philip D. Gingerich, Carlo Meloro. Stomach contents of the archaeocete Basilosaurus isis: Apex predator in oceans of the late Eocene. PLOS ONE, 2019.

The Oceans Have Absorbed an Unfathomable Amount of Energy Due to Climate Change

popularmechanics.com – It's the equivalent energy of trillions and trillions of nuclear bombs.

Source: Laure Zanna, Samar Khatiwala, Jonathan M. Gregory, Jonathan Ison, Patrick Heimbach. Global reconstruction of historical ocean heat storage and transport. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019.

Scientists Could Soon Develop ‘Mosquito Birth Control’ to Prevent Diseases

geek.com – Mosquitoes are some of the deadliest creatures on Earth. Now, scientists have taken a major step toward developing a “mosquito birth control” drug that can help prevent diseases responsible for several million human deaths …

Source: Jun Isoe, et al. Identification and characterization of a mosquito-specific eggshell organizing factor in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. PLOS Biology, 2019.