Category Archives: Animal Gate

On the path to vitamin A in rice

Biochemists have elucidated the structure of an enzyme that supplies carotenoid, investigators report. The lack of vitamin A in food is a major cause of health problems worldwide and can lead to blindness and even death. This is especially a problem in threshold or third-world countries, where children are likely to suffer from a lack of vitamin A or its precursor beta-carotene due to malnourishment.

Temperature, solar radiation, wind: Three parameters to predict a vehicle’s cabin air temperature

Parked vehicles can quickly become a life-threatening environment for unattended children or dogs during the summer months. Dangerous cabin temperatures can be reached in a matter of minutes. Researchers not only calculated the temperature rise but also developed a dynamic model that requires only three readily available parameters to predict this increase: outdoor air temperature, wind velocity and solar radiation. All three values are available on an hourly basis from standard meteorological stations. This makes the model ideal as the basis for warning indications in modern vehicles, as an app and as a forensic tool in hyperthermia deaths.

How CRISPR proteins find their target

In addition to the Cas9 protein that bacteria use to bind and snip DNA, bacteria have other Cas proteins that know where to insert that viral DNA into the CRISPR region to remember which viruses have attacked and mount a defense. A research team has discovered how these proteins — Cas1 and Cas2 — locate and insert the viral DNA, and it relies on the flexibility of these enzymes and the shape of the DNA.

Imaging of scar tissue formation

Organs respond to injuries with the formation of new fibrous tissue, which can result in scarring. This process called fibrogenesis can now be monitored noninvasively on a molecular level, as scientists report. They have created a new gadolinium-based probe for magnetic resonance imaging that specifically reports the proteins involved in fibrogenesis. The imaging method may provide a quantitative assessment of the formation of the potentially harmful scar tissue.