Single-celled kamikazes spearhead bacterial infection

How a few soldier cells confer virulence to an entire bacterial population by sacrificing themselves

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

“Honey, I shrunk the cookbook” – New approach to vaccine development

Bioinformatics: Publication in Cell Systems

Vaccine development aims at protecting as many people as possible from infections. Short protein fragments of pathogens, so-called epitopes, are seen as a promising new approach for vaccine development. In the scientific journal Cell Systems, bioinformaticians from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) now present a method for identifying those epitopes that promise safe immunisation across the broadest possible population group. They have also computed vaccine candidates against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 using their HOGVAX tool.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Molecular defenses: Study shows antibodies against polyethylene glycol in 83 percent of the German population

It has long been known that people can form defenses and thus antibodies against viruses. But antibodies can also develop against polyethylene glycol (PEG), a substance used in cosmetics, food and medicine. These influence the effectiveness of drugs. A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research has now investigated how widespread these antibodies already are in German society and how they might influence medical therapies using nanocarriers.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Umfangreiche medizinische Datensätze verstehen: ScPoli ermöglicht Multiskalenrepräsentation von Zellen und Proben

Nur die korrekte Analyse und Interpretation der stetig wachsenden Menge an medizinischen Daten kann zu wissenschaftlichen Durchbrüchen und essenziellen Therapien für Patient:innen verhelfen. Computerwissenschaftler:innen von Helmholtz Munich haben ein generatives Modell namens scPoli (single-cell population level integration) entwickelt, um die Datenintegration von hochauflösenden Einzelzell-Datensätzen durchzuführen. So können Referenzkarten des menschlichen Körpers auf Einzelzellebene, sogenannte Einzelzell-Atlanten, für die medizinische Forschung erstellt werden.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Interpreting Large-Scale Medical Datasets: ScPoli Enables Multi-Scale Representations of Cells and Samples

The increasing amount of data recorded in medical research can only lead to scientific breakthroughs and essential therapies for patients if interpreted and analyzed correctly. Computer scientists at Helmholtz Munich developed a generative model named scPoli (single-cell population level integration), that performs data integration of high-quality large-scale datasets of single cells to create valuable single-cell reference maps of the human body, so-called single-cell atlases, for medical research.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Das Erfolgsgeheimnis steckt im Verhalten

Während viele Arten gerade zahlenmäßig und hinsichtlich ihres Verbreitungsgebiets drastisch zurückgehen, scheinen andere gut zu gedeihen. So ist es beispielsweise einer Vogelart, den Großschwanzgrackeln, in den letzten Jahrzehnten gelungen, neue Populationen in ganz Nordamerika zu gründen. Forschende haben nun herausgefunden, dass der Schlüssel zum Erfolg der Tiere in ihrem Verhalten stecken könnte: Die Population am Rande des Verbreitungsgebiets ist beharrlicher und verfügt über eine größere Flexibilitätsvielfalt. Darüber hinaus hat die Vogelart ihren Lebensraum größtenteils in städtische, trockene Umgebungen verlagert.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Das genetische Erbe unserer ausgestorbenen Ahnen

Genfluss einer extinkten Gorilla-Population zu rezenten Berggorillas entdeckt

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

From shelf to bin: Representative study on causes of food waste

In view of a growing world population and the issue of global food security, the following number is staggering: According to the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture, 78 kilograms of food are thrown away per capita every year in Germany alone. Over 50 percent of global waste along the food value chain is generated in private households. People thus spend money on products that then end up in the garbage bin. But what is the background to this irrational behavior, which is more than a private decision in the face of resource scarcity?

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Cheetahs need more space: Reintroduction in India must consider their spatial ecology

In autumn 2022 and winter 2023, a total of 20 cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa were introduced to Kuno National Park in India to establish a free-ranging population – for the first time since their extinction in India 70 years ago. Although the idea may be commendable, getting it right is not so easy. Scientists of the Cheetah Research Project of Leibniz-IZW in Namibia see shortcomings in the reintroduction plan. The cheetah population density planned for Kuno National Park exceeds the usual population densities of cheetahs, the team argues in a letter in the scientific journal “Conservation Science and Practice”.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Geparde brauchen mehr Platz: Wiederansiedlung in Indien muss deren Raumnutzungsverhalten berücksichtigen

Im Herbst 2022 und Winter 2023 wurden insgesamt 20 Geparde aus Namibia und Südafrika im Kuno Nationalpark in Indien angesiedelt, um eine freilebende Population zu etablieren – zum ersten Mal seit ihrem Aussterben in Indien vor 70 Jahren. Obgleich die Idee zunächst großartig erscheint, ist die richtige Umsetzung nicht einfach. Wissenschaftler:innen des Gepardenforschungsprojekts des Leibniz-IZW in Namibia sehen Versäumnisse bei der Planung der Wiederansiedlung, die von zu hohen Bestandsdichten für die Geparde im Kuno-Nationalpark ausgehen.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Prevention and Health Promotion are the motto at the Local Health Authority Day 2023

The around 400 local health authorities in Germany – like local health authorities all over the world – are the backbone of all efforts to promote the health of the population. They also play a decisive role in prevention and health promotion, the motto for this year’s Local Health Authority Day on 19 March.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Passerine bird takes advantage of human settlements

Daurian redstarts move their nesting sites closer to or even inside human settlements when cuckoos are around. In doing so, they actively protect their nest against brood parasitism, as cuckoos avoid human settlements. An international team of scientists showed both observational and experimental evidence for this anti-parasitism strategy in a population of Daurian redstarts in northeastern China. Their research illustrates how the breeding behavior of two interacting bird species co-evolves. It also gives us a glimpse on how urbanization can affect interspecific interactions.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Symbiotic fungi transform terpenes from spruce resin into attractants for bark beetles

Bark beetles use volatile fungal metabolites of plant defense substances as important chemical signals in their attack on spruce trees. A research team led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology shows that the insects have olfactory sensory neurons specialized for detecting these volatile compounds. The fungal metabolites likely provide important clues to the beetles about the presence of beneficial fungi, the defense status of the trees, and the population density of their conspecifics. The study highlights the importance of chemical communication in maintaining symbiosis between bark beetles and their fungal partners.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Sex roles in the animal kingdom are driven by the ratio of females to males

How picky should females and males be when they choose a mate? How fiercely should they compete for mates? And how much should they engage in raising their offspring? The answers to these questions largely depend on the ratio of adult females to males in the social group, population or species. This is the conclusion of a review by a scientific team with the participation of the German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research (DPZ), the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence, in foundation, and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW). The paper is published in the journal “Biological Reviews”.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Oldest palaeogenome from the African continent tells of the extinction of the blue antelope

An international team of scientists led by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the University of Potsdam generated the first two nuclear genomes of the extinct blue antelope. At 9,950 years, one of the genomes is the oldest sequenced from the African continent to date. The genomic data provide insight into a species‘ extinction. The blue antelope is the only large African mammal species to have become extinct in historical times. The results of this study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, show that, despite low population sizes, the blue antelope survived the climatic upheavals of the last 10,000 and more years, until the arrival of European settlers put an end to the species.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Competing cells: Cleaning up after yourself brings benefits

When different cell types compete in a confined space, those which remove debris faster have a better chance to dominate their environment. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS) showed in their model that not only a higher net proliferation rate, but also the swift removal of dead cells provides a competitive advantage. They mixed two cell populations only differing in debris removal rate and showed that already after a few generations the population with the higher removal rate starts to dominate the confined space.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Heat-lovers are the lucky ones: Insects and climate change

Sparse data often make it difficult to track how climate change is affecting populations of insect species. A new study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has now evaluated an extensive species mapping database (Artenschutzkartierung, ASK) organized by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment (LfU) and assessed the population trends of butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers in Bavaria since 1980. The main finding: heat-loving species have been increasing.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

A two-step adaptive walk in the wild

An international team led by Angela Hancock at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne (Germany) and scientists from the Associação Projecto Vitó and Parque Natural do Fogo (Cape Verde), the University of Nottingham (UK), and the University of Bochum (Germany) studied a wild thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) population that colonized the base of an active stratovolcano. They found that a two-step molecular process rewired nutrient transport in the population. The study, published today in the journal Science Advances, reveal an exceptionally clear case of an adaptive walk in a wild population with broader implications for evolutionary biology and crop improvement.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Double agents: How stomach stem cells change allegiance upon injury

A stomach adult stem cell population can fulfill two distinct functions: either help with digestion under normal conditions or take the lead on injury response. Scientists at IMBA, Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, demonstrate that these functions are two sides of a coin. Upon injury, one “molecular switch” is enough to propel the stem cells from one state to the other. The findings, now published in Cell Stem Cell, could be instrumental in improving our understanding of gastric pathologies.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

“Vertical farming will play a role in future food production”

Alternative production systems to provide the growing global population with healthy, nutritious and sustainably produced foodstuffs are currently gaining considerable attention. In this interview, Senthold Asseng, Professor of Digital Agriculture at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), discusses the concept of vertical farming, which will allow agriculture of the future to take place under fully controlled and automated conditions.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Thawing permafrost could expose Arctic populations to cancer-causing radon

According to a new study, thawing of permafrost due to climate change could expose the Arctic population to much greater concentrations of the invisible, lung cancer-causing gas Radon.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Scientists identify malfunctioning brain cells as potential target for Alzheimer’s treatment

Scientists have identified a rare population of potentially toxic senescent cells in human brains that can serve as a target for a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Paddington, is that you? Researchers spot a “golden” bear while studying endangered spectacled bears in Peru

The number of spectacled bears in Peru might be larger than suspected, a new study in „URSUS“ suggests. A team of researchers from Gothenburg University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Stony Brook University studied the population of the endangered species in Northern Peru. By identifying individuals through facial patterns, they were able to estimate the population density in the area and identify an unknown hotspot. Intriguingly, the researchers also observed the first „golden“ bear.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Patients with atrial fibrillation and heart failure benefit from early rhythm control

A subgroup analysis of the EAST – AFNET 4 study population revealed: Early initiation of rhythm control therapy is associated with clinical benefit in patients with heart failure and recently diagnosed atrial fibrillation. The new findings were presented by Dr. Andreas Rillig, UKE Hamburg, at the HRS congress on 30.07.2021 [1], [2].

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Random effects make it difficult to optimise antibiotic therapy

Research team from the Kiel Evolution Center investigates the role of a reduction in bacterial population size and resulting random effects in the evolution of antibiotic resistance

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft