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Researchers led by public-health researcher Majid Ezzati at Imperial College London have projected how life expectancy will change in 35 developed countries by 2030, using data from the World Health Organization and a suite of 21 statistical models they developed.Life expectancy is expected to increase in all 35 countries, in keeping with steady progress in recent decades, the team found. source =
Life expectancy set to hit 90 in South Korea - By 2030, nation’s girls can expect to live to 91, says statistical analysis. South Korea is likely to become the first country where life expectancy will exceed 90 years, according to a study in The Lancet1.
Researchers led by public-health researcher Majid Ezzati at Imperial College London have projected how life expectancy will change in 35 developed countries by 2030, using data from the World Health Organization and a suite of 21 statistical models they developed.

Life expectancy is expected to increase in all 35 countries, in keeping with steady progress in recent decades, the team found.

But it is South Korean women who will be living longest by 2030: there is a nearly 60% chance that their life expectancy at birth will exceed 90 years by that time, the team calculates. Girls born in the country that year can expect to live, on average, to nearly 91, and boys to 84, the highest in the world for both sexes (see 'Ageing populations').

The nation's rapid improvement in life expectancy — the country was ranked twenty-ninth for women in 1985 — is probably down to overall improvements in economic status and child nutrition, the study notes, among other factors. South Koreans also have relatively equal access to health care, lower blood pressure than people in Western countries and low rates of smoking among women.
But gains in longevity around the world will put pressure on health-care systems and pensions and could push up retirement ages, the authors suggest.

One surprise of the study is the poor performance of the United States, the authors say. Life expectancy there already lags behind that of other developed nations, and is predicted to be among the lowest of these countries by 2030. It will lengthen by only a couple of years, to 80 for men (similar to the Czech Republic) and 83 for women (similar to Mexico).

Deepening inequalities in society and a lack of universal health care, as well as high child mortality and murder rates, are among the key culprits.
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"Reverse genetics allows us to generate artificially engineered viruses", says Associate Professor Takeshi Kobayashi, who led the study. "Using reverse genetics, we can mutate a gene and see its effects on the virus," he added. source

#Osaka University scientists generate a new plasmid-based reverse genetics system for rotaviruses #ReverseGenetics - Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhea and kill hundreds of thousands of infants a year. Although current vaccines are effective in preventing aggravation of rotaviruses, the development of more effective vaccines at lower cost is expected. Technology cannot study well how rotaviruses invade and replicate in a cell. To identify which genes are crucial for the infection of rotaviruses, scientists at the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases at Osaka University report a new plasmid-based reverse genetics system. The study can be read in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

"Reverse genetics allows us to generate artificially engineered viruses", says Associate Professor Takeshi Kobayashi, who led the study. "Using reverse genetics, we can mutate a gene and see its effects on the virus," he added.

Reverse genetics systems have been developed for a wide number of viruses to study the conditions in which a virus thrives, but systems for multiple-segmented RNA-based viruses like rotaviruses have proven more difficult. Kobayashi’s group solved this problem by including two viral proteins, FAST and VV capping enzyme, into their plasmid-based system. Taking advantage, the researchers tested their system by mutating a single protein of rotaviruses, NSP1, finding that they could decrease viral replication.

Through comprehensive testing of all proteins in future studies, Kobayashi expects to find the key determinants that make rotaviruses a severe pubic threat. "We could modify the propagation and pathogenicity of the rotavirus", he said.
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#Osaka University and physicists at #Durham University has developed tricolor-changing #MLC materials =
Materials that emit rainbows - #Mechanochromic luminescent (MCL) materials change their color in response to a change in their environment, like pressure and temperature. To date, most MCL materials only change between two colors, limiting their applications. The international research team comprising of chemists at Osaka University and physicists at Durham University has developed tricolor-changing MLC materials. Not only that, the developed materials exhibited efficient thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) and allowed high performance organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) devices. The findings can be read about in Chemical Science.

"Most MCL materials generate two colors by switching between a stable state and one metastable state. To realize multi-color MCL, more metastable states are necessary," explain Professors Youhei Takeda and Satoshi Minakata at the Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering of Osaka University. To create these states, the chemist team led by Takeda and Minakata designed a new molecule by applying a conformationally-switchable phenothiazine (PTZ) as the donor.
"By making the use of a promising and unique acceptor, dibenzophenazine (DBPHZ), which we previously developed, we made a PTZ-DBPHZ-PTZ triad," said Takeda. "In this structure, the PTZ moiety could take two distinct conformers, which therefore in principle creates in total four metastable states as a whole molecule."

In response to heating, fuming, and grinding, the molecule switched its color between yellow, red and orange. The team found that the three colors derive from different conformers in which each PTZ takes either an equatorial or axial conformation relative to the DBPHZ core.

"For red, both of PTZ units take an equatorial-equatorial conformer, for orange, PTZ had an equatorial-axial conformer, and for yellow, PTZ had an axial-axial conformer."
Most OLEDs devices with high energy conversion efficiencies depend on expensive precious metals. TADF light emitting devices, on the other hand, can achieve equal or better efficiency at much lower cost, which is why they have gained popularity for the design of displays in daily electronics like smart phones.

In collaboration with the physicists team at Durham University, the United Kingdom, led by Dr Data and Professor Monkman, they successfully made highly efficient OLED devices by applying the newly developed MCL-TADF molecule as an emissive material. Incorporating the PTZ-DBPHZ-PTZ triad into a light emitting device resulted in an efficiency three times higher than the theoretical maximum of conventional fluorescent materials.

Takeda says that, "Our molecule could become a basis for efficient light-emitting devices and pressure- and temperature-responsive sensors in the future."
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Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are powered by an electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen inside a fuel cell. While oxygen is provided by air, the hydrogen must be stored separately on the vehicle. Current fuel cell electric vehicles store hydrogen as a high-pressure gas. read more :
#Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance - Sometimes, you have to go small to win big. That is the approach a multilab, interdisciplinary team took in using nanoparticles and a novel nanoconfinement system to develop a method to change hydrogen storage properties. This discovery could enable the creation of high-capacity hydrogen storage materials capable of quick refueling, improving the performance of emerging hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, collaborated on the research, which was published Feb. in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.
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the researchers showed that this protein needs to be in an oxidized state —which means it has lost electrons—to bind tightly to DNA and participate in DNA electron transport. When the protein is reduced—meaning it has gained electrons—it does not bind tightly to DNA."The electronic state of the iron-sulfur cluster in DNA primase acts like an on/off switch to initiate DNA replication," says O'Brien. source = #caltech 
Electrons Use DNA Like a Wire for Signaling DNA Replication News #Caltech
In the early 1990s, Jacqueline Barton, the John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, discovered an unexpected property of DNA—that it can act like an electrical wire to transfer electrons quickly across long distances. Later, she and her colleagues showed that cells take advantage of this trait to help locate and repair potentially harmful mutations to DNA.

Now, Barton's lab has shown that this wire-like property of DNA is also involved in a different critical cellular function: replicating DNA. When cells divide and replicate themselves in our bodies—for example in the brain, heart, bone marrow, and fingernails—the double-stranded helix of DNA is copied. DNA also copies itself in reproductive cells that are passed on to progeny.

The new Caltech-led study, based on work by graduate student Elizabeth O'Brien in collaboration with Walter Chazin's group at Vanderbilt University, shows that a key protein required for replicating DNA depends on electrons traveling through DNA.
"Nature is the best chemist and knows exactly how to take advantage of DNA electron-transport chemistry," says Barton, who is also the Norman Davidson Leadership Chair of Caltech's Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

"The electron transfer process in DNA occurs very quickly," says O'Brien, lead author of the study, appearing in the February 24 issue of Science. "It makes sense that the cell would utilize this quick-acting pathway to regulate DNA replication, which necessarily is a very rapid process."

The researchers found their first clue that DNA replication might involve the transport of electrons through the double helix by taking a closer look at the proteins involved. Two of the main players in DNA replication, critical at the start of the process, are the proteins DNA primase and DNA polymerase alpha. DNA primase typically binds to single-stranded, uncoiled DNA to begin the replication process. It creates a "primer" made of RNA to help DNA polymerase alpha start its job of copying the single strand of DNA to create a new segment of double-helical DNA.

DNA primase and DNA polymerase alpha molecules both contain iron-sulfur clusters. Barton and her colleagues previously discovered that these metal clusters are crucial for DNA electron transport in DNA repair. In DNA repair, specific proteins send electrons down the double helix to other DNA-bound repair proteins as a way to "test the line," so to speak, and make sure there are no mutations in the DNA. If there are mutations, the line is essentially broken, alerting the cell that mutations are in need of repair. The iron-sulfur clusters in the DNA repair proteins are responsible for donating and accepting traveling electrons.

Barton and her group wanted to know if the iron-sulfur clusters were doing something similar in the DNA-replication proteins.
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At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, source:
#NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star - NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water -- key to life as we know it -- under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

"This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Answering the question 'are we alone' is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal."
>>>> At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets.

This exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1, named for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. In May 2016, researchers using TRAPPIST announced they had discovered three planets in the system. Assisted by several ground-based telescopes, including the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, Spitzer confirmed the existence of two of these planets and discovered five additional ones, increasing the number of known planets in the system to seven.
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The new method could be used as an additional step in the oil refinement process to get rid of the last traces of sulfur in fuels. source = #Caltech 
#Caltech - Getting Rid of the Last Bits of Sulfur in Fuel,
Caltech chemists come up with new strategy - Scientists led by a team at Caltech have developed a new method for potentially removing nearly all sulfur compounds from gas and diesel fuel.

Sulfur compounds in fuels such as gasoline and diesel create air pollution when the fuel is burned. To address that challenge, large-scale oil refinery processes remove the majority of sulfur from fuel down to a government-mandated level. The new technique, however, has the potential to reduce sulfur down to a fraction of that amount, which would further reduce air pollution and extend the lifetime of vehicles' catalytic converters, which control tailpipe emissions.

The results—from a team led by Caltech and BP, and in collaboration with researchers at UCLA, ETH Zürich, and China's Nanjing University—are described in a new study published online February 17 in the journal Nature Energy.
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The insects show sophisticated learning for non-bee related tasks, and can even improve on what they are taught. source
Bees learn football from their buddies - The insects show sophisticated learning for non-bee related tasks, and can even improve on what they are taught.
Bees quickly master an insect version of football — with a sweet reward at the end — just by watching another bee handle the ball, suggesting that the tiny pollinators are capable of sophisticated learning, says a study in Science1.

Bumblebees watched a fellow bee tugging a ball into a goal, which earned the athlete a gulp of sugar water. The observing bees could soon do the task themselves. They even figured out how to nab the reward with less effort. “They’re not just blindly copying. They’re doing something better,” says study co-author and behavioural ecologist Olli Loukola of Queen Mary University of London.

Previous research has shown that insects are capable of advanced cognitive tasks. But this is the first time that insects have shown they can become adept at actions far removed from the job of being a bee, the study authors say. The fact the creatures learned a complex skill by watching their fellow bees rather than by undergoing long, incremental training was also another first.
Loukola and his colleagues schooled a select group of buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to move a wooden ball to the centre of a platform to earn a sweet treat. These bees then strutted their stuff while observed by test bees. After three observation sessions, a test bee was allowed to control the ball. They achieved their goal almost every time, implying that they had picked up on social cues while watching the trained bees. Bees without the benefit of instruction scored around 30% of the time. read more :
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Researchers have developed a completely new type of display that creates 3D images by using a laser to form tiny bubbles inside a liquid “screen ". read:
Researchers Use Laser-Generated Bubbles to Create 3D Images in Liquid - New technology creates color 3D images that don’t require special viewing devices
— Researchers have developed a completely new type of display that creates 3D images by using a laser to form tiny bubbles inside a liquid “screen.” Instead of rendering a 3D scene on a flat surface, the display itself is three-dimensional, a property known as volumetric. This allows viewers to see a 3D image in the columnar display from all angles without any 3D glasses or headsets.

In The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers led by Yoshio Hayasaki of Utsunomiya University, Japan, demonstrated the ability of their volumetric bubble display to create changeable color graphics.

“Creating a full-color updatable volumetric display is challenging because many three-dimensional pixels, or voxels, with different colors have to be formed to make volumetric graphics,” said Kota Kumagai, first author of the paper. “In our display, the microbubble voxels are three-dimensionally generated in a liquid using focused femtosecond laser pulses. The bubble graphics can be colored by changing the color of the illumination light.”

Although the new work is a proof of concept, the technology might one day allow full-color updatable volumetric displays. These types of displays could be used for art or museum exhibits, where viewers can walk all the way around the display. They are also being explored for helping doctors visualize a patient’s anatomy prior to surgery or to let the military study terrain and buildings prior to a mission.

“The volumetric bubble display is most suited for public facilities such as a museum or an aquarium because, currently, the system setup is big and expensive,” said Kumagai. “However, in the future, we hope to improve the size and cost of the laser source and optical devices to create a smaller system that might be affordable for personal use.”
Using lasers to make bubbles
The bubbles for the new display are created by a phenomenon known as multiphoton absorption, which occurs when multiple photons from a femtosecond laser are absorbed at the point where the light is focused. Multiphoton absorption allowed the researchers to create microbubbles at very precise locations by moving the focus of the laser light to various parts of a liquid-filled cuvette that acted as a “screen.” Using a high-viscosity, or thick, liquid prevents the bubbles, once formed, from immediately rising to the top of the liquid.

The bubble graphics are viewable when they scatter light from an external light source such as a halogen lamp or high-power LED. The researchers produced monochromatic images in white, red, blue and green by switching the color of the illuminating LED. They say that illuminating the graphics with a projector could create different colors in different regions of the image.

Rather than creating each bubble one by one, the researchers used a computer-generated hologram to form 3D patterns of laser light that let them control the number and shapes of the microbubble voxels. This approach also increased the amount of light scattered from the microbubbles, making the images brighter.

In the paper, the researchers demonstrate their technique by creating a sequence of 2D bubble images of a mermaid, a 3D rendered bunny, and 2D dolphin graphics in four different colors. They also showed that microbubble formation depends on the irradiation energy of the laser and that the contrast could be modified by changing the number of laser pulses used to irradiate the liquid.

“Our bubble graphics have a wide viewing angle and can be refreshed and colored,” said Kumagai. “Although our first volumetric graphics are on the scale of millimeters, we achieved the first step toward an updatable full-color volumetric display.”

The researchers are now developing a system that would use a stream inside the liquid to burst the bubbles, allowing the image to be changed or cleared. They are also working on methods that could allow the formation of larger graphics, which requires overcoming spherical aberrations caused by the refractive index mismatch between the liquid screen, the glass holding the liquid, and air.

Paper: K. Kumagai, S. Hasegawa, Y. Hayasaki, “Volumetric bubble display,” Optica, Volume 4, Issue 3, 298-302(2017). DOI:
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Research topics beyond worms and their microbial prey could benefit as well. For example, the bacterial "sowing" by roundworms bears a striking resemblance to other dissemination processes in nature, such as seed dispersal and the spread of epidemics. Again, the ease of experimentally working with C. elegans and E. coli should give scientists a handy platform for testing out theories in these diverse fields.
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#Princeton #University : Worms farm germs: Discovery illuminates complex natural relationships
A common roundworm widely studied for its developmental biology and neuroscience, also might be one of the most surprising examples of the eat-local movement. Princeton University researchers have found that the organisms have a sure-fire method of ensuring a steady supply of a bacteria they eat — they grow their own.

The researchers reported Feb. in the journal +Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_ that the worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, carries a food source, the bacteria Escherichia coli, along with it as it tunnels through the rotting fruit and soil in which the worms and bacteria both naturally dwell. The bacteria adhere to the worm's sticky skin when the roundworm crawls through a bacterial patch.

Studying this activity in petri dishes, however, the researchers discovered that the worms do more than simply take their meals to go. As the worms pushed through a gelatinous medium they dropped bacteria along the way to create thriving new colonies of E. coli that the worms would later return to "harvest" and eat. read more :
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