Science News: Week of August 30, 2009

Our weekly compilation of science news for the week of August 30, 2009.

A stem-cell discovery could help diabetics: Harvard stem-cell scientists have created the first insulin-producing cells from skin cells of Type 1 diabetes patients — and gained a deeper understanding of the disease.

To read the study:

Maehr, R., Chen, S., Snitow, M., Ludwig, T., Yagasaki, L., Goland, R., Leibel, R., & Melton, D. (2009). Generation of pluripotent stem cells from patients with type 1 diabetes Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906894106

Boron-based compounds trick a biomedical protein: Chemists and biologists have successfully demonstrated that specially synthesized boron compounds are readily accepted in biologically active enzymes, a move that, they say, is a proof of concept that could lead to new drug design strategies.

Chemists create 3-D DNA crystals: New York University chemists have created three-dimensional DNA structures, a breakthrough bridging the molecular world to the world where we live.

Gene found to cause premature skin aging: An international team of scientists led by Singaporean researchers say they’ve found a mutation of a specific gene causes premature skin aging.

To read the study:

Reversade, B., Escande-Beillard, N., Dimopoulou, A., Fischer, B., Chng, S., Li, Y., Shboul, M., Tham, P., Kayserili, H., Al-Gazali, L., Shahwan, M., Brancati, F., Lee, H., O’Connor, B., Kegler, M., Merriman, B., Nelson, S., Masri, A., Alkazaleh, F., Guerra, D., Ferrari, P., Nanda, A., Rajab, A., Markie, D., Gray, M., Nelson, J., Grix, A., Sommer, A., Savarirayan, R., Janecke, A., Steichen, E., Sillence, D., Haußer, I., Budde, B., Nürnberg, G., Nürnberg, P., Seemann, P., Kunkel, D., Zambruno, G., Dallapiccola, B., Schuelke, M., Robertson, S., Hamamy, H., Wollnik, B., Van Maldergem, L., Mundlos, S., & Kornak, U. (2009). Mutations in PYCR1 cause cutis laxa with progeroid features Nature Genetics DOI: 10.1038/ng.413

Last chance to save the saola from extinction?: Conservation biologists based in four countries gathered for an emergency meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR, August 19, to address the peril of extinction facing one the world’s most enigmatic mammals, the Saola.

Methane likely spewing into oceans through sea floor vents: Scientists worry that rising global temperatures accompanied by melting permafrost in arctic regions will initiate the release of underground methane into the atmosphere.

New hope for deadly childhood bone cancer: Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have shed new light on Ewing’s sarcoma, an often deadly bone cancer that typically afflicts children and young adults.

New jellyfish species discovered in Arctic waters: Experts say one of the types of jellyfish discovered in the Arctic, which is isolated from much of the water elsewhere on the globe, is completely new to science.

New zebra fish cloning method is created: Michigan State University researchers say they have created an improved zebra fish cloning method in a study that might further human health research.

To read the study:

Siripattarapravat, K., Pinmee, B., Venta, P., Chang, C., & Cibelli, J. (2009). Somatic cell nuclear transfer in zebrafish Nature Methods DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1369

Rats found to mentally re-enact events: U.S. scientists say they have discovered rats engage in a mental re-enactment of their recent experiences when choosing what actions to take.