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Blue sharks use hot water swirls to dive into the depths of the sea and feed themselves

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An interesting discovery concerning the behavior of blue sharks was carried out by a research group from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab of the University of Washington (UW). According to the researchers, these fish use marine vortices, whirling currents that can be generated underwater, to descend into the corpuscular areas of the sea faster, almost accelerating, in order to feed and capture more prey.

In this oceanic layer, according to the researchers, located between 200 and 1000 meters deep, there is the largest fish biomass of any other marine area. The researchers came to this conclusion using locators attached to the body of a dozen blue sharks off the northeastern coast of the United States. The nine-month monitoring showed the scientists that blue sharks used sea vortices with a particular ability to sling hundreds of feet below the surface.

Here they also spent more than an hour looking for food basically composed of small fish or squid and then returning to the surface to warmer waters. Once heated the own body, they returned to accomplish this movement projecting in depth. These movements occurred mostly during the day, as specified by Camrin Braun, UW ocean ecologist and lead author of the study.

It is a behavior similar to that of white sharks that, unlike the blue sharks, are warm-blooded animals.

White sharks use a combination of hot and cold water eddies to dash into twilight areas while blue sharks, cold-blooded animals, rely exclusively on hot water vortices, as Braun explains: “Blue sharks they cannot regulate their body temperature internally to stay warmer than seawater like white sharks do. We think this is why they show a clear preference for hot water vortices – it removes a thermal constraint for deep dives.”

Mark Romando

I am an amateur astronomer, computer science student and chess Fide Master. I originally joined The Chunk in mid-2019 as a volunteer contributor in the interest of writing about different scientific research that I felt would be interesting to a wide range of people. Since joining I have published numerous stories and intend to stay publishing for a long time to come.

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Nuclei of half-destroyed planets from stars detectable by radio telescopes

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There are stars that, after burning all their “fuel,” turn into so-called “white dwarfs” but project their outer layers outward before performing this transformation. This material, projected at very high speed, destroys nearby objects and also strongly damages the planets by removing the outer layers of the latter in addition to the atmospheres.

According to a study by researchers at the University of Warwick, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the remaining nuclei of these planets can “survive” for a necessary time, from 100 million to a billion years, so that they can be detected by our telescopes.

This is not an absolute novelty: already in the early 90s, Alexander Wolszczan of Pennsylvania State University discovered one of these planets around a pulsar using a method to detect radio waves emitted by the star.

Researchers at the University of Warwick intend to improve this method to detect the magnetic field that forms between a white dwarf and a planetary nucleus in orbit around it. The magnetic field can, in fact, form a unipolar inductor circuit in which the remaining nucleus of the planet acts as a conductor thanks to the fact that inside the nucleus there are more than anything metallic compounds.

This is a real circuit whose radiations are emitted as radio waves that can be detected by terrestrial radio telescopes. Among other things, an effect of this kind has already been noted between Jupiter and one of his moons, Io.

According to Dimitri Veras, one of the authors of the study, “There is a weak point to detect these planetary nuclei: a nucleus too close to the white dwarf would be destroyed by tidal forces and a nucleus too far away would not be detectable. Also, if the magnetic field is too strong, it would push the core into the white dwarf, destroying it. Therefore, we should only look for planets around the white dwarf ones with weaker magnetic fields at a distance of about 3 solar rays, the distance Mercury-Sun.”

In any case, finding the only nucleus of a “naked” planet would represent a very important discovery that would help to discover the history of star systems as well as allowing you to take a look at the future history of our solar system and specifically of our planet which should not be very different.

Mark Romando

I am an amateur astronomer, computer science student and chess Fide Master. I originally joined The Chunk in mid-2019 as a volunteer contributor in the interest of writing about different scientific research that I felt would be interesting to a wide range of people. Since joining I have published numerous stories and intend to stay publishing for a long time to come.

4846 Charmaine Lane, Levelland Texas, 79336
806-598-6726
[email protected]
Mark Romando
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Scientists discover genes involved in the life extension of fruit flies

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A group of Russian geneticists studied the Drosophila melanogaster, also called “fruit fly,” a model organism widely used in the research world as its genome is very well known and contains genes related to 40% of human diseases.

Moreover other characteristics, like the duration of the life of only a couple of months and the fact that this insect has two sexes, unlike other creatures like the nematodes, push more and more the researchers to use them during the experiments in order then to make correlations with the human beings. It is also the case of this study, published in Scientific Reports, which analyzed the genetic activity of the fruit fly to better understand the biology underlying the aging of its longevity.

Specifically, they used a Drosophila strain bred with the partially suppressed E (z) gene. It is a gene that influences the activity of other genes. The flies with this mutated gene show a considerably longer lifespan than the others and present greater resistance to adverse environmental conditions.

The researchers not only confirmed the positive effect of this mutation that allows fruit flies to extend their lives by 22-23% but they also discovered a positive effect on fertility as Alexey Moskalev, one of the authors of the study, explains: “It is known that in Drosophila, the extension of lifespan induced by mutation is often associated with reduced reproduction. But in our case, we have seen an increase in mutant female fertility in all age groups.”

They then discovered 239 genes involved in the mutation as well as in the midge’s metabolism as the scientist himself explains: “We found that the mutation triggers a global alteration of metabolism. It affects carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism and nucleotide metabolism, as well as the activity of the immune response genes and protein synthesis.”

Important information that could be useful for further research regarding the extension of the life of these flies and in general concerns aging and metabolism linked to human longevity.

Mark Romando

I am an amateur astronomer, computer science student and chess Fide Master. I originally joined The Chunk in mid-2019 as a volunteer contributor in the interest of writing about different scientific research that I felt would be interesting to a wide range of people. Since joining I have published numerous stories and intend to stay publishing for a long time to come.

4846 Charmaine Lane, Levelland Texas, 79336
806-598-6726
[email protected]
Mark Romando
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Mini human liver created in the laboratory to simulate diseases and study them

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Miniature cultured human liver labs were created by a group of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The “mini livers” could help to simulate the progressions of various liver diseases and therefore to test their therapies.

The researchers transformed genetically modified human skin cells into 3D liver tissue in “stripped” mouse livers of their own cells. Real functional 3D mini livers have therefore blossomed in the laboratory with lots of blood vessels and structural features of a normal human liver.

Researchers have already managed to mimic in particular non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This condition sees the accumulation of fatty parts in the liver, a condition which in turn leads to very serious diseases such as cirrhosis or liver failure.

This is the first time that genetically modified human “mini livers” are created, as recalled by Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, professor of pathology in Pittsburgh and senior author of the study. This is an important result because very often the experiments that are carried out on animals, mainly on mice, even if promising, do not turn out to be effective in clinical studies on humans.

This is because, of course, “mice are not human,” as Soto-Gutierrez himself recalls. There are some important differences between us and them, including mutations that predispose us to specific diseases, which is not possible to study in mice.

Mark Romando

I am an amateur astronomer, computer science student and chess Fide Master. I originally joined The Chunk in mid-2019 as a volunteer contributor in the interest of writing about different scientific research that I felt would be interesting to a wide range of people. Since joining I have published numerous stories and intend to stay publishing for a long time to come.

4846 Charmaine Lane, Levelland Texas, 79336
806-598-6726
[email protected]
Mark Romando
Continue Reading

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