Monday March 19, 2018

People living in arid, Drought-ridden areas may soon be able to get Water straight from Air: Scientists

FILE - A glass is filled in with drinking water in Paris, April 27, 2014. Scientists have developed a box that can convert low-humidity air into water. VOA

People living in arid, drought-ridden areas may soon be able to get water straight from a source that’s all around them — the air, American researchers said Thursday.

Scientists have developed a box that can convert low-humidity air into water, producing several liters every 12 hours, they wrote in the journal Science.

“It takes water from the air and it captures it,” said Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and co-author of the paper.

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The technology could be “really great for remote areas where there’s really limited infrastructure,” she said.

The system, which is currently in the prototype phase, uses a material that resembles powdery sand to trap air in its tiny pores. When heated by the sun or another source, water molecules in the trapped air are released and condensed — essentially “pulling” the water out of the air, the scientists said.

A recent test on a roof at MIT confirmed that the system can produce about a glass of water every hour in 20 to 30 percent humidity.

Companies like Water-Gen and EcoloBlue already produce atmospheric water-generation units that create water from air.

What is special about this new prototype, though, is that it can cultivate water in low-humidity environments using no energy, Wang said.

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“It doesn’t have to be this complicated system that requires some kind refrigeration cycle,” she said in an interview with Reuters.

An estimated one-third of the world’s population lives in areas with low relative humidity, the scientists said. Areas going through droughts often experience dry air, but Wang said the new product could help them still get access to water.

“Now we can get to regions that really are pretty dry, arid regions,” she said. “We can provide them with a device, and they can use it pretty simply.”

The technology opens the door for what co-author Omar Yaghi called “personalized water.”

Yaghi, a chemistry professor at University of California, Berkeley, envisions a future where the water is produced off-grid for individual homes and possibly farms using the device.

“This application extends beyond drinking water and household purposes, off grid,” he said. “It opens the way for use of [the technology] to water large regions as in agriculture.”

In the next few years, Wang said, the developers hope to find a way to reproduce the devices on a large scale and eventually create a formal product. The resulting device, she believes, will be relatively affordable and accessible. (VOA)

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Scientists identify 36 new genes implicated in cardiac disease

They found the transcription factor gene was directly connected to a whole network of proteins known to play a role in cardiac hypertrophy

Scientists discovered 36 new genes related to cardiac diseases. IANS
Scientists discovered 36 new genes related to cardiac diseases. IANS
  • Scientists discovered 36 new genes
  • These are the genes implicated in cardiac diseases
  • These genes play a casual but important role in the diseases of heart

Researchers have identified 36 new genes that plays a causal role in cardiac hypertrophy — abnormal thickening of the heart muscle — which can lead to heart failure.

These genes can cause heart failure. Pixabay
These genes can cause heart failure. Pixabay

“This is an exciting direction for personalised medicine, and also for identifying genes and therapeutic targets for complex diseases that involve many genes,” said co-author of the study Alain Karma, professor at the Northeastern University. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four deaths in the US each year are due to heart disease.

Also Read: Heart Surgery In Infants May Cause Deafness

“The framework described in the paper can also be used to predict whether individuals suffering from a particular disease will respond to a given drug treatment,” said lead author Marc Santolini, a postdoctoral research associate at Centre for Complex Network Research.

For the study, published in the journal npj Systems Biology, the researchers took an entirely different approach — using the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel, a collection of 100 genetically different strains of mice that can be used to analyse the genetic and environmental factors underlying complex traits.

The Science of Genetics behind Gotra system
The study was done on many kinds of genes and chemicals, Wikimedia Commons

Within each strain, the mice are inbred, making them all identical twins on a genetic level. Researchers took two mice from the same strain and gave one of them a stressor drug that induces heart failure. They then compared the stressed mouse’s gene expression with its non-stressed twin.

Since the mice have the same genome, they were able to pinpoint individual genes that changed expression as a direct result of the heart stressor.

Also Read: Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Often Misinterpreted

Among the identified 36 such genes, many of these genes were previously unknown to be implicated in heart failure, the researcher said. They mentioned that one of them is known as a transcription factor, meaning it controls the expression of many other genes.

They confirmed the gene’s role by using molecular biology techniques to silence it and observe the resulting changes of expression.

blood type
It is important to take care of one’s heart to avoid major health issues. Pixabay

They found the transcription factor gene was directly connected to a whole network of proteins known to play a role in cardiac hypertrophy. IANS