Researchers say CRISPR edits to a human embryo worked. But critics still doubt it

sciencenews.org – Researchers say that they have confirmed CRISPR/Cas9 edits of a heart disease–causing version of a gene, but critics still have doubts.

Source: Michael Kosicki, Kärt Tomberg, Allan Bradley. Repair of double-strand breaks induced by CRISPR–Cas9 leads to large deletions and complex rearrangements. Nature Biotechnology, 2018.

Solved: The Spaghetti Physics Problem That Stumped Richard Feynman

popularmechanics.com – The secret has a bit of a twist.

Source: Ronald H. Heisser, Vishal P. Patil, Norbert Stoop, Emmanuel Villermaux, Jörn Dunkel. Controlling fracture cascades through twisting and quenching. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018.

UMD researcher helps to crack the genetic code for wheat for the first time

eurekalert.org – The University of Maryland as part of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium published findings in Science detailing the full wheat genome, the world's most widely cultivated crop. A companion paper is available in the same issue with UMD and the John Innes Centre, using this sequence to examine gene expression in wheat, specifically relating to heat, drought, and disease. This paves the way for wheat varieties adapted to climate, enhancing yields, nutrition, and sustainability.

Source: Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome. Science, 2018.

Children may be especially vulnerable to peer pressure from robots

sciencenews.org – Elementary school children often endorsed unanimous but inaccurate judgments made by small groups of robots.

Source: Anna-Lisa Vollmer, Robin Read, Dries Trippas, Tony Belpaeme. Children conform, adults resist: A robot group induced peer pressure on normative social conformity. Science Robotics, 2018.

99-million-year-old beetle trapped in amber served as pollinator to evergreen cycads

sciencedaily.com – Flowering plants are well known for their special relationship to the insects and other animals that serve as their pollinators. But, before the rise of angiosperms, another group of unusual evergreen gymnosperms, known as cycads, may have been the first insect-pollinated plants. Now, researchers have uncovered the earliest definitive fossil evidence of that intimate relationship between cycads and insects.

Source: Chenyang Cai, et al. Beetle Pollination of Cycads in the Mesozoic. Current Biology, 2018.

This gene prevents elephants from getting cancer and scientists are taking note

cbc.ca – Elephants have one of the lowest rates of cancer in any mammal. Now, a new study from the University of Chicago reveals the elephant’s genetic secret and it’s inspiring new anti-cancer strategies in humans.

Source: Juan Manuel Vazquez, Michael Sulak, Sravanthi Chigurupati, Vincent J. Lynch. A Zombie LIF Gene in Elephants Is Upregulated by TP53 to Induce Apoptosis in Response to DNA Damage. Cell Reports, 2018.

Epidemiologists Link DDT From The 1970s To Modern Autism Diagnoses

science20.com – DDT was banned by a politician in the US in 1972 and was banned a few years later in Finland, so how can it be causing autism now?The answer is statistics.

Source: Association of Maternal Insecticide Levels With Autism in Offspring From a National Birth Cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry, .

Cheese found in an Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old

sciencenews.org – Solid cheese preserved in an ancient Egyptian tomb may be the world’s oldest.

Source: Enrico Greco, et al. Proteomic Analyses on an Ancient Egyptian Cheese and Biomolecular Evidence of Brucellosis. Analytical Chemistry, 2018.

Workers of the World! There Is Efficiency in Idleness

discovermagazine.com – In ant colonies, just a fraction of workers do most of the construction while the others stand around watching. It's the most efficient way.

Source: Collective clog control: Optimizing traffic flow in confined biological and robophysical excavation. Science, 2018.

Fractured Water

scienceblog.com – Within the hidden pores of ancient rock, Clandestine remnants of our past lie trapped And whisper of the future they unlock. As these seductive murmurs leave us rapt, We penetrate the soil w…

Source: Andrew J. Kondash, Nancy E. Lauer, Avner Vengosh. The intensification of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing. Science Advances, 2018.

UMD researcher helps to crack the genetic code for wheat for the first time

eurekalert.org – The University of Maryland as part of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium published findings in Science detailing the full wheat genome, the world's most widely cultivated crop. A companion paper is available in the same issue with UMD and the John Innes Centre, using this sequence to examine gene expression in wheat, specifically relating to heat, drought, and disease. This paves the way for wheat varieties adapted to climate, enhancing yields, nutrition, and sustainability.

Source: The transcriptional landscape of polyploid wheat. Science, 2018.