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Breaks in the genome

New method to improve the diagnosis of genetic diseases

28-Jul-2020

Breaks and rearrangements in the genome can lead to severe diseases, even if all genes remain intact. Hi-C, a method to map the three-dimensional structure of chromosomes, promises more reliable and accurate diagnoses of such defects, but is not used in the clinic yet. A team of researchers at ...

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The genetic basis of bats’ superpowers revealed

First six reference-quality bat genomes released and analysed

24-Jul-2020

For the first time, the raw genetic material that codes for bats’ unique adaptations and superpowers such as the ability to fly, to use sound to move effortlessly in complete darkness, to survive and tolerate deadly diseases, to resist ageing and cancer - has been fully revealed. Bat1K, a global ...

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The relationship of proteins

Researchers have for the first time uncovered the proteome of 100 organisms from all domains of life

19-Jun-2020

Proteins control life as one of the most important biomolecules - as enzymes, receptors, signal or structural building blocks. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry have for the first time uncovered the proteomes of 100 different organisms. The selected specimens come from ...

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The Higgs boson and superconductivity

New form of spectroscopy provides insights for the development of resistance-free current transport at ambient temperature

20-May-2020

Without the Higgs mechanism, particles would have no mass. The Higgs boson, which was discovered in 2012, is therefore also referred to as the “God particle”. It arises as an oscillating excitation of the Higgs field, which penetrates the world. Superconductivity displays similar properties. ...

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Weighing an ant on top of an elephant: Quantum jump tipping the balance

Tiny change in the mass of individual atoms for the first time measured

08-May-2020

A new door to the quantum world: when an atom absorbs or releases energy via the quantum jump of an electron, it becomes heavier or lighter, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity (E = mc²). However, the effect is minuscule for a single atom. Nevertheless, the team of Klaus Blaum and Sergey ...

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The lipid code

New chemical tools can control the concentration of lipids in living cells

21-Apr-2020

Lipids, or fats, have many functions in our body: They form membrane barriers, store energy or act as messengers, which regulate cell growth and hormone release. Many of them are also biomarkers for severe diseases. So far, it has been very difficult to analyze the functions of these molecules in ...

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Sensitive detection of molecules

Short pulses of strong laser light make the concentration of molecules visible

13-Mar-2020

To observe molecules, one has to use sensitive tools. Such measurements would be important for determining the concentration of minute particles in blood samples or during neuronal information transfer in the brain. A team of Max Planck scientists has taken a decisive step in this direction - ...

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Quantum logic spectroscopy unlocks potential of highly charged ions

31-Jan-2020

Scientists from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) have carried out pioneering optical measurements of highly charged ions with unprecedented precision. To do this, they isolated a single Ar¹³⁺ ion from an extremely hot plasma ...

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An ultrafast microscope for the quantum world

28-Jan-2020

Processes taking place inside tiny electronic components or in molecules can now be filmed at a resolution of a few hundred attoseconds and down to the individual atom. The operation of components for future computers can now be filmed in HD quality, so to speak. Manish Garg and Klaus Kern, ...

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Let’s build a cell

Researchers engineer a minimal synthetic cellular system to study basic cell function

24-Jan-2020

Cells are the basic unit of life. They provide an environment for the fundamental molecules of life to interact, for reactions to take place and sustain life. However, the biological cell is very complicated, making it difficult to understand what takes place inside it. One way to tackle this ...

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