Coasts drown as coral reefs collapse under warming and acidification — ScienceDaily

A new study shows the coastal protection coral reefs currently provide will start eroding by the end of the century, as the world continues to warm and the oceans acidify.

A team of researchers led by Associate Professor Sophie Dove from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at The University of Queensland (Coral CoE at UQ) investigated the ability of coral reef ecosystems to retain deposits of calcium carbonate under current projections of warming and ocean acidification.

Calcium carbonate is what skeletons are made of — and it dissolves under hot, acidic conditions. Marine animals that need calcium carbonate for their skeletons or shells are called ‘calcifiers’. Hard corals have skeletons, which is what gives reefs much of their three-dimensional (3D) structure. It’s this structure that helps protect coasts — and those living on the coasts — from the brunt of waves, floods and storms. Without coral

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New study shows how ‘our’ RNA stably binds to artificial nucleic acids — ScienceDaily

As medical research progresses, traditional treatment protocols are being rapidly exhausted. New approaches to treat diseases that do not respond to conventional drugs are the need of the hour. In search for these approaches, science has turned to a wide range of potential answers, including artificial nucleic acids. Artificial or xeno nucleic acids are similar to naturally occurring nucleic acids (think DNA and RNA) — but are produced entirely in the laboratory.

Xeno nucleic acids are essential for the development of nucleic acid-based drugs. To be effective, they need to be able to stably bind to natural RNA (a cellular single-stranded version of the DNA, which is essential for all body processes). However, it is unclear how, if at all, RNA hybridizes with these xeno nucleic acids. A new study by researchers from Japan sheds light on this mechanism, opening doors to the development of potentially revolutionary nucleic acid-based drugs.

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Blackcurrants are favorable for glucose metabolism — ScienceDaily

Blackcurrants have a beneficial effect on post-meal glucose response, and the required portion size is much smaller than previously thought, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows.

Blackcurrants have a beneficial effect on the blood glucose response after a meal. They balance the glucose response of ingested sugar by attenuating its rise and delaying its fall. The effect is likely associated with berry-derived polyphenolic compounds, anthocyanins, which are rich in blackcurrants.

The beneficial health effect of blackcurrants was supported by a recent study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. In the clinical meal study (Maqua) the beneficial effect on postprandial glucose response was achieved by 75 g (1.5 dL) of blackcurrants, a remarkably smaller portion size than in earlier studies. Blackcurrants are often consumed with added sugar because of their natural sourness, which may be a cause of concern for health-conscious consumers. However, it seems that

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New DNA modification ‘signature’ discovered in zebrafish — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have uncovered a new form of DNA modification in the genome of zebrafish, a vertebrate animal that shares an evolutionary ancestor with humans ~400 million years ago.

Dr Ozren Bogdanovic and his team discovered that unusually high levels of DNA repeats of the sequence ‘TGCT’ in the zebrafish genome undergo a modification called methylation, which may change the shape or activity of the surrounding DNA. The study, published in Nucleic Acids Research and conducted in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London, could lead to the development of new experimental models for studying how DNA modifications impact human development and disease.

“We’ve revealed a new form of DNA methylation in zebrafish at TGCT repeats, and crucially, the enzyme that makes the modification,” says Dr Bogdanovic, who heads the Developmental Epigenomics Lab at Garvan and Senior Research Fellow at the School of Biotechnology

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Australian research voyage to investigate how life in the Southern Ocean captures and stores carbon from the atmosphere — ScienceDaily

A fleet of new-generation, deep-diving ocean robots will be deployed in the Southern Ocean, in a major study of how marine life acts as a handbrake on global warming.

The automated probes will be looking for ‘marine snow’, which is the name given to the shower of dead algae and carbon-rich organic particles that sinks from upper waters to the deep ocean.

Sailing from Hobart on Friday, twenty researchers aboard CSIRO’s RV Investigator hope to capture the most detailed picture yet of how marine life in the Southern Ocean captures and stores carbon from the atmosphere.

Voyage Chief Scientist, Professor Philip Boyd, from AAPP and IMAS, said it would be the first voyage of its kind to combine ship-board observations, deep-diving robots, automated ocean gliders and satellite measurements.

“The microscopic algae in the ocean are responsible for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as much as the forests on land

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Norepinephrine release to cells is diminished, causing cascade of effects — ScienceDaily

In a new paper, researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) report brain chemistry that may contribute to why drinkers have difficulty paying attention while under the influence.

The work is funded by generous support from the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation and by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute of Mental Health. Findings were published Dec. 2 in Nature Communications.

“When we want to focus on something, or when we stand up from a chair and become active, a brain stem nucleus releases a chemical called norepinephrine. Acute exposure to alcohol inhibits this signal in the brain,” said senior author Martin Paukert, MD, assistant professor of cellular and integrative physiology at UT Health San Antonio. When attention is needed for a task, norepinephrine is secreted by a brain

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Marine mammals’ adaptations to low oxygen offer new perspective on COVID-19 — ScienceDaily

When Terrie Williams began hearing about the wide range of symptoms experienced by patients with COVID-19, she saw a connection between the various ways the disease is affecting people and the many physiological adaptations that have enabled marine mammals to tolerate low oxygen levels during dives.

Williams, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, has spent decades studying the physiology of marine mammals and their extraordinary ability to perform strenuous activities while holding their breath for long periods under water.

“Diving marine mammals experience a lifetime of rapid physiological transitions between normal oxygenation and hypoxia [low oxygen levels],” Williams said. “They’ve got ways to protect themselves and allow their organs to keep functioning while holding their breath for hours at a time, but there’s a whole suite of biological adaptations that had to happen for them to be able to do that.”

Lacking those adaptations, humans

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Leaving so soon? Unusual planetary nebula fades mere decades after it arrived — ScienceDaily

Stars are rather patient. They can live for billions of years, and they typically make slow transitions — sometimes over many millions of years — between the different stages of their lives.

So when a previously typical star’s behavior rapidly changes in a few decades, astronomers take note and get to work.

Such is the case with a star known as SAO 244567, which lies at the center of Hen 3-1357, commonly known as the Stingray Nebula. The Stingray Nebula is a planetary nebula — an expanse of material sloughed off from a star as it enters a new phase of old age and then heated by that same star into colorful displays that can last for up to a million years.

The tiny Stingray Nebula unexpectedly appeared in the 1980s and was first imaged by scientists in the 1990s using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. It is by far the

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No nanoparticle risks to humans found in field tests of spray sunscreens — ScienceDaily

People can continue using mineral-based aerosol sunscreens without fear of exposure to dangerous levels of nanoparticles or other respirable particulates, according to Penn State research published in the journal Aerosol Science and Engineering.

The findings, reported by a research team led by Jeremy Gernand, associate professor of industrial health and safety, are a result of experiments conducted using three aerosol sunscreens commonly found on store shelves.

Gernand’s team simulated the application process for someone using the recommended amount of sunscreen and analyzed the released aerosols. They chose mineral-based sunscreens with silicon dioxide, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient over chemical-based sunscreens because those are more commonly recommended for children and the ingredients are deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We simulated what we considered to be a worst-case scenario for someone being exposed to aerosolized nanoparticles while applying sunscreen, and that scenario is

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Leaf microbiomes are a neighborhood affair in northern forests — ScienceDaily

Forest leaves are teeming with bacterial life — but despite the vast extent of bacteria-covered foliage across the world, this habitat, known as the phyllosphere, remains full of mysteries. How do bacteria spread from tree to tree? Do certain types of bacteria only live on certain types of trees?

A new paper published in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecological Monographs addresses some of these questions. The findings reveal that the leaf microbiomes of sugar maple trees vary across the species’ range, changing in accordance with the types of trees in the surrounding “neighborhood.”

Geneviève Lajoie, now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia and the paper’s lead author, performed the research as a Ph.D. student at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She and her field assistant spent a summer in hot pursuit of bacteria-covered foliage, camping at remote parks and rushing to get their leaf

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