Technology helps personalized medicine, enabling epigenomic analysis with a mere 100 cells

A new technology, improving the efficiency of the studies in epigenomics, is the subject of a Nature Methods journal article by Chang Lu and Zhenning Cao of Virginia Tech and Kai Tan, Changya Chen and Bing He of the University of Iowa. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, following a seed grant from Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. —> Read More

Just A Cat-Like Critter, Chillin’ On A Rhino

A cat-like creature in Africa that became a social media sensation after it was spotted hitching rides on rhinos and buffaloes is at it again — and this time her antics were caught on video.

The little critter is a genet, a spotted carnivore who was captured on video riding an endangered black rhino in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

Wildlife ACT, which helps monitor endangered animals in the park and other locations in Africa, dubbed her Genet Jackson last year after she was photographed several times getting a lift.

The organization said the footage released last week is believed to be the first time this behavior has been documented on video. The “very grumpy black rhino” briefly tolerates the genet before bucking and running in what may be an attempt to shake her off.

As it fades out of camera range, the genet is seen clinging to the rhino’s back.

“This grumpy rhino certainly didn’t make things easy for our hitchhiking friend,” the organization wrote.

The image is a little reminiscent of the children’s book “Riley The Rhinoceros” about a good-natured rhino willing to give rides to baby animals, but who is exploited by all the larger creatures that want a lift.

The genet — or perhaps it’s Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty — even has her own Twitter account, which was set up by Wildlife ACT last year.

It’s nearly time for my film debut! Which megaherbivore do you think I’ll be riding this time? pic.twitter.com/hxph4HK32f

— Genet Jackson (@genetjackson) July 21, 2015

While the genet looks a little like a cat and even has some cat-like behaviors, it’s actually part of the viverridae family, which makes it more closely related to civets —> Read More

Flow means ‘go’ for proper lymph system development

The lymph system provides a slow flow of fluid from tissues into the blood. It returns fluid and proteins that leak from blood vessels, provides passage for immune cells from the tissues to the blood, and hosts key niches for immune cells. How this system develops hasn’t been well understood, but now researchers have found from that the early flow of lymph fluid is a critical factor in the development of mature lymphatic vessels. —> Read More

Cataclysmic event of a certain age

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago­ — give or take a few centuries — a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas. New research has narrowed the date to a 100-year range, sometime between 12,835 and 12,735 years ago. —> Read More

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light into electricity

Solar energy could be made cheaper if solar cells could be coaxed to generate more power. A huge gain in this direction has been made by a team of chemists that has found an ingenious way to make solar energy conversion more efficient. The researchers combined inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules to ‘upconvert’ photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum. —> Read More

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