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Life Sciences - Health - 21.02.2020
African swine fever virus genome mapped
Researchers at UCL and the Pirbright Institute have mapped the expression of genes across the entire African swine fever virus (ASFV) genome, which has helped to establish their order of activation as well as uncovering new genes. The research, published in the Journal of Virology , could provide vital information for those developing vaccines and antiviral drugs to prevent the deadly pig disease caused by the virus.

Environment - Life Sciences - 21.02.2020
Himalayan wolf discovered to be a unique wolf adapted to harsh high altitude life
Himalayan wolf discovered to be a unique wolf adapted to harsh high altitude life
Researchers from the University of Oxford have discovered that the Himalayan wolf is a unique wolf characteristically adapted to the harsh life in the Asian high altitudes where low oxygen levels challenge all life forms. The Himalayan wolf is considered an ancient wolf as it evolved prior to the contemporary grey wolf which is found in large parts of North America and Eurasia.

Life Sciences - Health - 21.02.2020
Iron in brain shows cognitive decline in people with Parkinson’s
A cutting-edge MRI technique to detect iron deposits in different brain regions can track declines in thinking, memory and movement in people with Parkinson's disease, finds a new UCL-led study. The findings, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry , suggest that measures of brain iron might eventually help predict which people with Parkinson's will develop dementia.

Life Sciences - 20.02.2020
Watching TV helps birds make better food choices
By watching videos of each other eating, blue tits and great tits can learn to avoid foods that taste disgusting and are potentially toxic, a new study has found. By watching others, blue tits and great tits can learn quickly and safely which prey are best to eat.

Life Sciences - 18.02.2020
Uncovering the plastic brain of a fruitfly - new study
Genetic mechanisms that govern brain plasticity - the brain's ability to change and adapt - have been uncovered by researchers at the University of Birmingham. The work was carried out using the fruit-fly Drosophila, an important organism in neuroscience because it enables researchers to study an entire nervous system.

Social Sciences - Life Sciences - 18.02.2020
Lifelong antisocial behaviour linked to brain structure differences
People who engage in persistent antisocial behaviour long after adolescence have characteristic differences in brain structure, finds a new UCL-led study. The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry , identified brain differences between people who engage in antisocial behaviour - such as theft, aggression, violence, bullying, lying, or repeated failure to take care of work or school responsibilities - only during adolescence and those who persist throughout adulthood.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.02.2020
Gene tests for heart disease risk have limited benefit
Gene tests for heart disease risk have limited benefit
Genetic tests to predict a person's risk of heart disease and heart attack have limited benefit over conventional testing. This is the finding from scientists at Imperial College London , who devised a highly sophisticated test analysing thousands of so-called genetic variants linked to heart health.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.02.2020
How cancer cells communicate shown for first time
New technology developed at UCL is, for the first time, enabling cancer scientists to analyse the individual behaviour of millions of different cells living inside lab-grown tumours - a breakthrough which could lead to new personalised cancer treatments. The research, published ináNature Methods, provides new insight into how mutated cancer cells "mimic the growth signals" normally expressed by healthy cells - which allows cancer cells to grow unchecked.

Health - Life Sciences - 18.02.2020
How cancer cells communicate is seen for first time, thanks to UCL technology
New technology developed at UCL is, for the first time, enabling cancer scientists to analyse the individual behaviour of millions of different cells living inside lab-grown tumours - a breakthrough which could lead to new personalised cancer treatments. The research, published ináNature Methods, provides new insight into how mutated cancer cells "mimic the growth signals" normally expressed by healthy cells - which allows cancer cells to grow unchecked.

Environment - Life Sciences - 17.02.2020
Freshwater insects recover while spiders decline in UK
Many insects, mosses and lichens in the UK are bucking the trend of biodiversity loss, according to a comprehensive analysis of over 5,000 species led by UCL and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH). The researchers say their findings on UK biodiversity between 1970 and 2015, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution , may provide evidence that efforts to improve air and water quality could be paying off.

Health - Life Sciences - 17.02.2020
Zooming in on breast cancer reveals how mutations shape the tumour landscape
Zooming in on breast cancer reveals how mutations shape the tumour landscape
Scientists have created one of the most detailed maps of breast cancer ever achieved, revealing how genetic changes shape the physical tumour landscape, according to research funded published in Nature Cancer . We've shown that the effects of mutations in cancer are far more wide-ranging than first thought Carlos Caldas An international team of scientists, brought together by a ú20 million Grand Challenge award from Cancer Research UK, has developed intricate maps of breast tumour samples, with a resolution smaller than a single cell.

Life Sciences - Health - 13.02.2020
Huge bacteria-killing viruses blur the boundaries defining life
Hundreds of unusually large, bacteria-killing viruses with capabilities normally associated with living organisms, have been identified by a team involving UCL, blurring the line between viruses and living microbes. These phages - short for bacteriophage, so-called because they "eat" bacteria - are of a size and complexity considered typical of life, carry numerous genes normally found in bacteria, and use these genes against their bacterial hosts and other viruses, as reported in Nature .

Life Sciences - Environment - 13.02.2020
For bacteria, your community determines whether you evolve or not
For bacteria, your community determines whether you evolve or not
A study of puddles has shown that bacteria evolve and adapt differently depending on the make-up of the community of bacteria they live within. The findings could have implications for better understanding how bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, or for modelling how beneficial communities of bacteria are likely to respond to environmental changes and global heating.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 13.02.2020
Boom and bust for ancient sea dragons
Boom and bust for ancient sea dragons
A new study by scientists from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, shows a well-known group of extinct marine reptiles had an early burst in their diversity and evolution - but that a failure to adapt in the long-run may have led to their extinction. Ichthyosaurs were fish-like reptiles that first appeared about 250 million years ago and quickly diversified into highly capable swimmers, filling a broad range of sizes and ecologies in the early Mesozoic oceans.

Life Sciences - 11.02.2020
Technology takes a step forwards in genetic research
Technology takes a step forwards in genetic research
Genomes are the complete set of genes or genetic material within a cell or organism. These building blocks of DNA are quantified by counting their number of base pairs. The size of genomes can be vast and vary across different types of organisms, from a bacterium with 160,000 base pairs ( Carsonella ruddi ) to humans, with three billion base pairs ( Homo sapiens ).

Health - Life Sciences - 11.02.2020
HRH The Princess Royal opens new microscopy centre
A state-of-the-art centre for advanced biomedical research imaging was opened today (Tuesday) at UCL by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, giving researchers access to cutting-edge new microscopes from ZEISS. The UCL Multiscale Imaging Centre, in partnership with ZEISS (to be known as UZMIC), is the first ZEISS laboratory in Europe outside of Germany, strengthening UCL's connections across Europe.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.02.2020
Global initiative to use wearables to revolutionise disease detection
A global initiative involving UCL researchers will be using wearable technology such as wristbands and mobile apps to revolutionise the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. The Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN) initiative, led by Alzheimer's Research UK, will harness and analyse a wealth of digital data to develop signatures of disease - or "fingerprints" - that can be then detected using wearable technologies, such as smart watches.

Life Sciences - Health - 10.02.2020
The brain of migraine sufferers is hyper-excitable
Individuals who suffer from migraine headaches appear to have a hyper-excitable visual cortex researchers at the Universities of Birmingham and Lancaster suggest. Migraines are characterised as debilitating and persistent headaches, often accompanied by an increased sensitivity to visual or other sensory stimuli.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.02.2020
International team delivers research breakthrough for leading cause of blindness
Researchers have identified a new protein linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) that could offer new hope for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, which affects more than 1.5 million people in the UK alone. The research team, made up of scientists from Cardiff University, Queen Mary University of London, the University of Manchester, and Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, found significantly higher levels of a protein called factor H-related protein 4 (FHR-4) in the blood of AMD patients.

Life Sciences - Health - 06.02.2020
Artificial virus created to help fight against superbugs
An artificial virus capable of attacking superbug infections resistant to antibiotics has been bioengineered by researchers at UCL, NPL, University of Cambridge, University of Exeter and King's College London. The rise of superbugs is a serious concern in the medical community as bacteria evolve to evade existing treatments faster than new antibiotics can be developed.
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