The mummified remains of a 16th-century man could help decipher the evolutionary story of E. coli

New Delhi: Using fragments extracted from the mummified remains of an Italian nobleman who died more than 400 years ago, researchers have identified and reconstructed the first ancient genome of E. coli, a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of healthy people and animals.

In a study published in the journal Communications Biologyan international team of researchers has analyzed the mummified remains of an Italian man who was 48 when he died in 1586. The researchers were able to extract fragments of the common bacteria from what they believe to be “chronic inflammation of gallbladder due to gallstones” in man. ”.

Although the. coli is harmless in most forms, some strains can cause outbreaks of food poisoning and serious, sometimes even fatal, blood infections.

Hardy and adaptable bacteria are characterized by their resistance to treatment and their evolutionary history remains a mystery, including when they acquired resistance to antibiotics, according to researchers from McMaster University in Canada.

Although it cannot become the cause of a pandemic, E. coli can act as an “opportunistic pathogen”, infecting its host in the presence of an underlying disease or immunodeficiency.

Having the genome of a 16th-century ancestor of the modern bacterium offers researchers a point of comparison to study its evolution and adaptation over the centuries.


Read also : A sample of a speeding asteroid shows it’s made of material similar to that which formed the Sun


“Porous solar cells could pave the way for sponge-like pacemakers”

Scientists from the University of Chicago in the United States have discovered a way to make porous solar cellswhat they say could contribute to the development of less invasive, sponge-like pacemakers and other similar medical devices.

These soft and flexible cells – about the size of a red blood cell – made from pure silicon, can be combined with an optical fiber as thin as a strand of human hair to reduce the overall size of an implant, making it more respectful of the body. and less likely to cause side effects.

The team credited with this innovation specializes in developing techniques to connect biological tissue and artificial materials such as wires, to modulate brain signals and surfaces for medical implants. Their article was published in Natural materials.

Scientists at the University of Chicago’s Tian Laboratory are currently working on devices that can be powered by light from artificial sources. When operating in the body, these devices – known as photoelectrochemical cells – can be powered using a tiny optical fiber implanted in the body, replacing the bulky batteries that come with pacemakers.

Normally, solar cells require two layers, which can be obtained either by combining silicon with another material such as gold, or by mixing different types of atoms in each layer of silicon. But the team of scientists created a solar cell from pure silicon by making a porous layer.

Study explains how plants adapt to climate change

Plants can often make genetic “switches” to alter their functions and characteristics to adapt to changes in local climate, a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University have found.

The study, published in the review Genome biologylook for show that variations within plant genes can act as “switches” that cause changes in RNA molecules.

Changes can affect a molecule’s stability, how it interacts with other molecules, and how efficiently it can be translated into protein, which can impact plant function and characteristics.

According to the team of scientists, these genetic “switches” have allowed plants to adapt to their microclimates in the past and could be vital for future adaptation and the development of crops resilient to climate change.

Fastest growing black hole

Scientists claim to have found the fastest growing black hole in the last 9 billion years. This black hole, they say, consumes the equivalent of one Earth every second and shines 7,000 times brighter than all the light in our own galaxy – the Milky Way.

Among the most mysterious objects in the universe, black holes are millions and sometimes even billions of times larger than the Sun. Their gravitational pull is such that not even light can escape.

In its conclusions, published in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australiaa team from the Australian National University (ANU) describes the black hole they found as a “very large, unexpected needle in the haystack”.

It is 500 times larger than the black hole in our own galaxy.

With a mass of three billion suns, this black hole keep growing while others of comparable size stopped growing at the same rate billions of years ago.

The black hole has a visual magnitude of 14.5 – a measure of an object’s brightness to an observer on Earth. That means anyone with a decent telescope can see it comfortably.

Scientists are now trying to investigate why this black hole is so different from others discovered so far.

‘Giant Dwarf Crocodiles’ Roamed the Earth Millions of Years Ago

Scientists from the University of Iowa have discovered two new species of crocodile – Kinyang mabokoensis and Kinyang chernovi – which roamed East Africa between 18 and 15 million years ago, feeding on our human ancestors.

The species, called “giant dwarf crocodiles”, are related to the dwarf crocodiles found in central and western Africa. However, the species mysteriously disappeared around 15 million years ago.

Dwarf crocodiles today rarely exceed 4 or 5 feet in length, but their ancestors measured up to 12 feet and were probably among the fiercest threats to any animal they encountered back then.

According to the research team, these crocodiles may have been the largest predators that human ancestors faced in the prehistoric era. The giant dwarf crocodiles spent most of their time in the forest rather than in the water, waiting to ambush prey, according to the team.

They had short, deep snouts and large conical teeth. Their nostrils opened “a little up and forward”, not straight and up like they do in the case of the crocodiles we see today.

(Editing by Amrtansh Arora)


Read also : Scientists Decipher Why Mice Eat Bananas When Around The Fruit