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Just about every week, it seems, scientists publish the unique DNA code of some creature or plant. Just in February, they published the genome for the strawberry, the paper mulberry tree, the great white shark and the Antarctic blackfin icefish.
They also announced that, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, they’d produced the genome of Lil BUB, a female cat with a large internet following.
That followed a notable advance in January: an improved genome for the axolotl, a salamander renowned for regrowing severed limbs and other body parts.
Scientists have been uncovering genomes for quite a while. The first from an animal — a worm — came in 1998. Now, the technology has advanced far enough that scientists last year announced a project to produce the genomes for all life forms on Earth other than bacteria and single-celled organisms called Archaea. They called it a “moonshot for biology.”
But what’s the point of uncovering new genomes?
For scientists, a detailed look under the hood of their favorite organism provides a foothold for learning the deepest secrets of their objects of attention, it leads to discoveries about how life works, and possibly how to prevent disease.
Take the mosquito. Late last year, researchers published a much-improved description of the DNA code for a particularly dangerous species of mosquito: Aedes aegypti, notorious for spreading Zika, dengue and yellow fever.
That achievement came from analyzing the DNA of 80 mosquito brothers. They were born in Leslie Vosshall’s lab at Rockefeller University in New York, where thousands of mosquitoes swarmed in cages recently as Krithika Venkataraman was trying to make some more.
You can think of a genome as an instruction book for building a living thing. Its language is a four-letter alphabet, which stand for the four compounds that make up the innards of the DNA molecule. The order of those compounds along the molecule is the code; it creates “words” that we call genes.
The mosquito genome, for example, is about 1.28 billion letters long, a bit less than half the length of the human version. Knowing the DNA sequence lets scientists manipulate it with gene editing techniques, said Ben Matthews of the Vosshall lab, who was part of the international team that published the refined description of the mosquito genome last November.
* They nearly doubled the known size of a family of genes that help mosquitoes sense information from their environment, such as the odor of humans. That was “totally, mind-blowingly, unexpected,” Vosshall said. (Vosshall’s salary is paid by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which also supports The Associated Press Health & Science Department.)
Further study may reveal surprises about what mosquitoes pay attention to, Vosshall said. And that could lead to better lures for mosquito traps, as well as better repellents. Maybe scientists can find something “10,000 times more disgusting” to a mosquito than the old standby, DEET, she said.
* They found new details about genes that let some mosquitoes resist certain insecticides. That’s a possible step toward predicting what insecticides would be useless for fighting certain populations, as well as a potential lead for coming up with new chemical weapons against the insect.
* They found previously unknown targets for a major class of insecticides. That could open the door to designing new versions that target mosquitoes while sparing beneficial insects and posing less risk to people.
* They narrowed the search for genetic variants that prevent some A. aegyptimosquitoes from infecting people with dengue, a severe flu-like illness that sickens millions every year. If those variants can be identified, scientists might use genetic engineering to reproduce them in some mosquitoes, which could then be released to spread the variants though wild populations, Voss said. Those variants, or others, might also work for reducing threats of spreading Zika and yellow fever, Voss and Matthews said.
* A similar strategy might be used to make mosquito populations overproduce males. That would reduce mosquito bites in the short term — only females bite — and open the door to shrinking wild populations through genetic engineering. The new genome revealed details of the DNA stretch that makes mosquitoes develop as males, which Matthews called “step one” in pursuing the make-more-males strategy.
The axolotl genome published in January built on a previous publication by European scientists last year. Although its genome is about 10 times the size of the human one, which makes the analysis harder, the salamander’s regenerating capabilities are an obvious lure.
Axolotls can replace “almost anything you can cut off of them, as long as you don’t cut off their heads,” says Jeramiah Smith of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, an author of the more recent genome paper.
But Smith points to another trick that might pay off sooner for human medicine: The salamander can also heal large wounds without scarring.
As for learning how to let people grow back a severed arm, he figures that’s a long way off.
“That probably won’t be useful for me,” joked Smith, who’s 42. “I’ll be dead, so I won’t need to grow my arm back.”
And Lil BUB? She’s the size of a kitten even though she’s eight years old, and has a number of other odd traits. Scientists looked for genetic mutations, and found altered genes that appear to be responsible for her extra toes and for a rare bone disease. (VOA)
Winter weather is harsh on the skin and one needs more than just moisturising to see you through the season. Skin ageing is natural, but you can make it graceful! Kama Ayurveda's newly launched Amarrupa Face Oil accelerates the production of skin collagen and increases the skin's elasticity. It should be applied on the face and specific concerning areas like the neck, crow's feet, and the under-eye.
The Amarrupa Wrinkle Repair & Firming Face Oil is specially formulated for mature skin, enriched with antioxidants and natural actives that nourish and repair skin. The Face Oil is a true multi-tasker since it not only moisturises and firms skin but also reduces signs of ageing like wrinkles and the development of crow's feet. The best part? This highly potent formulation is clinically tested to reduce under-eye dark circles by 31 percent. Clinical trials reveal consistent use results in 15 per cent firmer skin, 36 per cent smoother skin, 31 per cent reduction in under eye dark circles.
Enriched with ingredients that promote collagen synthesis to reduce fine lines and wrinkles it intensely nourishes the skin. | Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash
Ingredients include Centella Asiatica, an anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing herb that stimulates the skin's own collagen production and also repairs skin damage. Indian Gooseberry and Citron Fruit are a powerhouse of Vitamin C that not only improves the complexion but also enhances and nurtures the skin. Oleic Acid, an Omega-9 fatty acid that replenishes lost moisture without clogging pores. Natural actives such as Arjuna Extracts strengthen the skin barrier, reduce dryness, and protects the skin from external aggravators. Carrot Seed Oil plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, giving an even skin tone.
It firms lose, wrinkled skin improving skin texture, locking in hydration and defends skin against pollution and cold weather through its natural actives. Enriched with ingredients that promote collagen synthesis to reduce fine lines and wrinkles it intensely nourishes the skin.
*Based on clinical trials conducted over 28 days
*Based on a 4-week clinical study conducted on men and women between 36-55 years with loose skin, pigmentary spots, crow's feet, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and visible under-eye puffiness. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Firming Face Oil , Wrinkle Repair, Amarrupa Face Oil , Kama Ayurveda, skin , Winter, Youthful, Skin, Firming Oil )
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
Life was moving at a fast pace for most of us and then the pandemic hit. The pace definitely slowed down and gave us an opportunity to look back at our lifestyle, routine and our most cherished old memories. 'Looking back' through your old photos on a phone versus flipping through a glossy photo album and reliving each memory? Getting teary eyed at some, and straight up howling with laughter at some others.
Today, advancement in technologies has opened up an ocean of possibilities. So how does one hold on these closest moments and memories in a thoroughly tangible way? Sachin Kataria, CEO, Zoomin shares all the minute details to make festive season personal.
Moving from gifts to personal stories: Gifts are no longer just confined to material items of a certain 'price tag'. Gifting someone is now seen as a chance to create a unique experience and splash of emotions that the receiver can enjoy for years to come. It's a fact that preserving memories is now a lot easier with delivery partners that can convert digital memories into actual personalised frames, albums and a host of memorabilia. And this makes it so much easier and quicker for you to hold meaningful memories close to your heart.
Gifts are no longer just confined to material items of a certain 'price tag'. | Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Reframing moments of joy: It isn't always possible to create a photo album or a photo frame of all your special moments or even gift them all the time. This is where new age personalized gifting platforms are a boon. It is now possible to add a touch of personalization to any gift item making it that much more special and meaningful for both the giver and the receiver. One can choose from functional items such as coffee mugs or calendars to more stylized gifts like Canvas Prints and Photo décor and add a favorite memory to make the gift item personal and more valuable.
It isn't always possible to create a photo album or a photo frame of all your special moments or even gift them all the time. | Photo by Rirri on Unsplash
Festive season Fun: Why just adorn your house with lights and flowers? Add a touch of 'YOU' to plain walls and table tops and make them more intimate during special occasions. Some simple Photoprints and colorful, wall-safe washi tapes or magnetic ropes can add a touch of style without leaving any pin marks.
Why just adorn your house with lights and flowers? | Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash
New-age apps offer products that are both affordable and of excellent quality - could there be a better deal than this? With the 2022 calendar and planner season around the corner, one can experiment and customize some cool calendars for friends, family, colleagues, business contacts etc. These will last on someone's wall (or table) for a few years. What's more, your gift will be more than just another product... it will be a canvas upon which a beautiful story unfolds! (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: flowers, photo album, personal, festive season, life, pandemic)
Boredom seems to be an unavoidable aspect of existence. Sure, you can pass the time on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter when you’re bored but you can only browse for so long before things become monotonous and uninteresting. The internet has revolutionized the world in various ways, be it politics, shopping, or journalism, to name a few. It has also completely redefined how individuals spend their time.
If there is ever a point when the internet is the most beneficial, it’s for curing boredom. Internet is vast and has dozens of websites that may be used to break the monotony.
The internet is vast and has dozens of websites that may be used to break the monotony. | Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash
Take a look at these entertaining time-killing websites and put an end to boredom! Here’s the ultimate list of entertaining websites, ranging from intriguing, amusing, and unexpected time-wasters to strange websites to visit while bored.
#1 Find the Invisible Cow: Make sure to keep your volume high for this fun game. Hover your cursor over the screen as you hear the sounds changing their intensity. Keep searching for the cow and click when you think it’s there!
Keep searching for the cow and click when you think it’s there! | Scriptist
#2 Hacker Typer: Do you want to feel like one of those awesome hackers from a Bollywood film? Simply go to this website and smash the keys! As you pretend to be a spy hacking into some vital mainframe, this will thrill and entertain you.
Simply go to this website and smash the keys! | HackerTyper
#3 Wayback Machine: Take a look at some of your favourite websites before they were completely revamped with the help of this website. You only need to enter a URL and select a date. The Wayback Machine will then display a picture of the website from the specific day you’ve chosen.
Take a look at some of your favourite websites before they were completely revamped with the help of this website. | WaybackMachine
#4 The Useless Web: You go to this website, click a large button, and then get sent to a random website on the internet. You may be given a simple game to play, a rain of corn dogs, an endless horse, or you may witness a guy being smacked with an eel.
You go to this website, click a large button, and then get sent to a random website on the internet. | Tim Holma
#5 Pointer Pointer: To begin, move your cursor across the desktop, then wait 3 seconds for a picture of someone, object, or a group of people to emerge on your screen, pointing right at your cursor.
Move your cursor across the desktop and wait for a picture of someone, object, or a group of someone’s to emerge on your screen, pointing right at your cursor. | Pointer Pointer
So there you have it, five websites to cure your boredom from the depths of the internet.
(Keywords: Pointer Pointer, The Useless Web, Hacker Typer, Hacker Typer, Find the Invisible Cow, internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, social media, Boredom, Websites)