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Uranus Smells Like Rotten Eggs, Say Scientists

Scientists: Uranus Smells Like Rotten Eggs

FILE - Arriving at Uranus in 1986, Voyager 2 observed a bluish orb with extremely subtle features. A haze layer hid most of the planet's cloud features from view.
FILE - Arriving at Uranus in 1986, Voyager 2 observed a bluish orb with extremely subtle features. A haze layer hid most of the planet's cloud features from view. (NASA/JPL-Caltech) VOA

It’s a punchline that sends every 12-year-old boy into a fit of giggles. Now it has been proven to be true. Uranus stinks!

Scientists using a huge telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano found the seventh planet from the sun is surrounded by clouds made up of hydrogen sulfide, the gas that smells like rotten eggs and bad flatulence.

The study by scientists from the California Institute of Technology, University of Oxford and the University of Leicester was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“If an unfortunate human were ever to descend through Uranus’ clouds they would be met with very unpleasant and odiferous conditions,” Patrick Irwin of the University of Oxford wrote.

Representational image of Uranus.
Representational image. Pixabay

Not that they would live long enough to sniff it. “Suffocation and exposure in the negative 200 degrees Celsius atmosphere made of mostly hydrogen, helium and methane would take its toll long before the smell,” Irwin wrote.

Despite previous observations by ground telescopes and the Voyager 2 spacecraft, scientists had failed to determine the composition of Uranus’ atmosphere.

Also Read: Astronomers searching for a real ninth planet

The new data was obtained by using a spectrometer on the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. It should help scientists better understand the formation of Uranus and other outer planets.  VOA

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Scientists Unveil a Tool That Can Predict Eye, Hair and Skin Color From DNA Sample

Genes are a part of DNA/RNA.
Genes- A segment of DNA. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a novel web tool that can accurately predict eye, hair and skin color from even a small DNA sample, an advance that can be used when standard forensic profiling is not helpful.

The “HIrisPlex-S DNA test” system is capable of generating all three pigment traits from human biological material together using a freely available web tool.

The tool is designed to be used when standard forensic DNA profiling is not helpful because no reference DNA exists against which to compare the evidence sample.

The study, conducted on mice, found that genetic variations in the genes that codes for protein POU6F2 may affect the structure of the eye and increase a person's risk of glaucoma. Pixabay
Eye, representational image. pixabay

“We have previously provided law enforcement and anthropologists with DNA tools for eye colour and for combined eye and hair colour, but skin colour has been more difficult,” said Susan Walsh, forensic geneticist at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the US.

Users, such as law enforcement officials or anthropologists, can enter relevant data using a laboratory DNA analysis tool, and the web tool will predict the pigment profile of the DNA donor.

“Importantly, we are directly predicting actual skin colour divided into five subtypes — very pale, pale, intermediate, dark and dark to black — using DNA markers from the genes that determine an individual’s skin coloration.

"This study provided evidence that fasting induces a metabolic switch in the intestinal stem cells, from utilizing carbohydrates to burning fat," said David Sabatini, an MIT professor of biology and the paper's another senior author.
DNA, Pixabay

“If anyone asks an eyewitness what they saw, the majority of time they mention hair colour and skin colour. What we are doing is using genetics to take an objective look at what they saw,” Walsh said.

Also Read: This DNA Test Can Screen Your Baby For 193 Genetic Diseases

The results are published in the journal, Forensic Science International: Genetics.

The innovative high-probability and high-accuracy complete pigmentation profile web tool is available online without charge, the researchers said. (IANS)

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