Another game just fell to the machines. Yesterday, after 20 days of play at a casino in Pittsburgh, an AI built by two Carnegie Mellon researchers officially defeated four top players at no-limit Texas Hold 'Em—a particularly complex form of poker that relies heavily on longterm betting strategies and game theory. Over the past twenty years, machines have topped the best humans at checkers, chess, Scrabble, Jeopardy!, and even the ancient game of Go. But no AI had ever beaten the best at such an extreme game of "imperfect information," a game where certain elements, such as the cards on the table, are hidden. Among humans, no-limit Hold 'Em requires a certain degree of intuition, not to mention luck. 'We’re playing against each other. But we’re also trying to win for the humans.' Carnegie Mellon professor Tuomas Sandholm and grad student Noam Brown designed the AI, which they call Libratus, Latin for "balance." Almost two years ago, the pair challenged some top human players with a similar AI and lost. But this time, they won handily: Across 20 days of play, Libratus topped its four human competitors by more than $1.7 million, and all four humans finished with a negative number of chips. Yes, poker is just a game. But the game theory exhibited by Libratus could help with everything from financial trading to political negotiations to auctions, says University of Michigan professor Michael Wellman, who specializes in game theory and closely follows the world of AI poker. In no-limit Hold 'Em, players aren't necessarily trying to win each small hand. They're trying to win the most money, and that means developing betting strategies that play out over dozens of hands. A machine that masters no-limit Texas Hold 'Em mimics the kind of human intuition these strategies require. According to the human players that lost out to the machine, Libratus is aptly named. It does a little bit of everything well: knowing when to bluff and when to bet low with very good cards, as well as when to change its bets just to thrown off the competition. "It splits its bets into three, four, five different sizes," says Daniel McAulay, 26, one of the players bested by the machine. "No human has the ability to do that." Related Stories Cade Metz Artificial Intelligence Is About to Conquer Poker, But Not Without Human Help Cade Metz Rival AIs Battle to Rule Poker (and Global Politics) Cade Metz What the AI Behind AlphaGo Can Teach Us About Being Human Cade Metz The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go So far, Sandholm has been coy about the particulars of how Libratus operates, but he has promised to share details in the days to come. The human players—who along with McAulay include Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Jimmy Chou—believe that the machine's play changed from day to day. If they ever felt they'd found a hole in its strategy, the hole would close. "It seemed to learn what we were doing and exploit it," McAuley said. Sandholm and Brown may have worked to change the machine's behavior from day to day, as they did when their earlier AI, Claudiro, went up against human players nearly two years ago. But the machine may also have learned from the match as it played out. If it seems unfair that the Carnegie Mellon researchers may have altered the machine between rounds, consider that the human players also used every tactic at their disposal. Though the game was heads-up Hold 'Em—meaning each player was playing his own game against the machine—they would share strategies in the evenings. "We spend a couple of hours conferring every night," McAuley said. "We're playing against each other. But we're also trying to win for the humans."
"Small black holes produced in the Big Bang can invade a neutron star and eat it from the inside," Fuller explained. "In the last milliseconds of the neutron star's demise, the amount of ejected neutron-rich material is sufficient to explain the observed abundances of heavy elements."
"As the neutron stars are devoured," he added, "they spin up and eject cold neutron matter, which decompresses, heats up and make these elements."
This process of creating the periodic table's heaviest elements would also provide explanations for a number of other unresolved puzzles in the universe and within our own Milky Way galaxy.
"Since these events happen rarely, one can understand why only one in ten dwarf galaxies is enriched with heavy elements," said Fuller. "The systematic destruction of neutron stars by primordial black holes is consistent with the paucity of neutron stars in the galactic center and in dwarf galaxies, where the density of black holes should be very high."
In addition, the scientists calculated that ejection of nuclear matter from the tiny black holes devouring neutron stars would produce three other unexplained phenomenon observed by astronomers.
"They are a distinctive display of infrared light (sometimes termed a "kilonova"), a radio emission that may explain the mysterious Fast Radio Bursts from unknown sources deep in the cosmos, and the positrons detected in the galactic center by X-ray observations," said Fuller. "Each of these represent long-standing mysteries. It is indeed surprising that the solutions of these seemingly unrelated phenomena may be connected with the violent end of neutron stars at the hands of tiny black holes."
Several research groups, including mine, are still exploring a range of alternative quantum causal theories. But the new model by Allen and colleagues is the first to meet all requirements of a quantum causal model, providing a uniquely quantum definition of causality. Thanks to results like this, we may find that quantum mechanics has a causal interpretation, just like classical mechanics. We might also reveal the mechanisms that are behind observed correlations and pinpoint the interventions that manipulate such mechanisms. In a few words, this would amount to bringing back some cause-effect “intuition” into the spooky and bizarre world of quantum mechanics.
This research is published in Physical Review X.
The worlds of chemistry and indistinguishable physics have long been thought of as entirely separate. Indistinguishability generally occurs at low temperatures while chemistry requires relatively high temperatures where objects tend to lose their quantum properties. As a result, chemists have long felt confident in ignoring the effects of quantum indistinguishability.....In short, Fisher and Radzihovsky are turning chemistry on its head. The key question behind this new thinking is whether quantum properties can really be ignored in most chemical reactions. Fisher and Radzihovsky say that while it may be generally true that quantum properties are lost at high temperatures, certain quantum phenomena endure.....It’s easy to think that nuclear spins have no significant effect on the way that electrons interact with each other in chemical reactions......But that isn’t the case, say Fisher and Radzihovsky. Nuclear spins can easily become coupled to other physical states, such as the way a molecule vibrates. When this happens, the properties of indistinguishability that are normally confined to nuclei leak out and influence the molecule as a whole.
Fisher and Radzihovsky say this has a particularly strong effect on small symmetric molecules, such as water or hydrogen.Fisher and Radzihovsky show that quantum indistinguishability influences the way molecules fit together because it prevents interactions that don’t match the symmetry of the of nuclei. The researchers go on to show that this effect causes para molecules to be significantly more reactive than ortho molecules, because their symmetry matches that of a wider range of other molecules.One area where this may play an important role is in enzymatic catalysis. Many enzymes rely on hydrogen to do their work. Now Fisher and Radzihovsky show that quantum indistinguishability must have a significant influence on this process. https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.05320
As Albertson explains, "We predicted that the baby fish are exercising their jaw muscles, which should impose forces on the bones they attach to, forces that might stimulate bone formation." Albertson and Hu observed that gaping frequency, which could reach as high as 200 per minute, varied by species "in a way that foreshadows differences in bone deposition around processes critical for the action of jaw opening."
Albertson, an evolutionary geneticist, says, "For over a hundred years, we've been taught that the ability of a system to evolve depends largely on the amount of genetic variation that exists for a trait. What is ignored, or not noted for most traits, is that less than 50 percent of genetic variation can typically be accounted for by genetics." He adds, "Variation in skull shape is highly heritable, so why can we only find genetic variability that accounts for such a small amount of variability in bone development? In my lab we have shifted from elaborating our genetic models to looking more closely at the interaction between genetics and the environment."
How the environment influences development is known as epigenetics in its original and broadest meaning, Albertson points out. Coined in the 1940s to mean anything not encoded in the nucleotide sequence, it has narrowed to refer to how the 3D structure of the DNA molecule is modified, he notes. "That meaning is true, but it isn't the only one. We're returning to the original definition."
In this sense, gaping is part of "a very dynamic developmental environment," Albertson notes. "Bones are not forming in static lumps of tissue. Rather, they are developing as part of, and perhaps in response to, a highly complex and dynamic system." The fact that species differ in gaping rate led the researchers to test the idea that differences in bone development could be accounted for by variation in this behavior.[I'm not philosophically against (and I *have* long been been against over-focus on genetics) but to what extent are they calling the mouth-gaping behavior "the" environmental factor, and, to what extent can we can that well, that behavior is due to (initially)genetics which then gets a slight environment kick in one directio or other, tiny kick perhaps, and that's what causes the differences in gaping behavior -HB][I did NOT read entire article..skimming now from bottom up, I need to read the "that same molecule" paragraph and several above it...to get clear on that...-HB]
The idea is that when an animal population is exposed to a new environment, certain molecules will enable them to respond by conforming their bodies to meet new challenges. If the new environment is stable, natural selection should favor genetic mutations in these molecules that fix the original, transient response. This theory establishes a framework for the initial steps in species divergence. "We think that we now have a molecular foothold into this process," Albertson explains. "These are exciting times."
By tweaking genes that turn adult cells back into embryoniclike ones, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reversed the aging of mouse and human cells in vitro, extended the life of a mouse with an accelerated-aging condition and successfully promoted recovery from an injury in a middle-aged mouse, according to a study published Thursday in Cell.
The study adds weight to the scientific argument that aging is largely a process of so-called epigenetic changes, alterations that make genes more active or less so
""Aging is something plastic that we can manipulate," says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, the study’s senior author and an expert in gene expression at Salk. In their study Belmonte and his colleagues rejuvenated cells by turning on, for a short period of time, four genes that have the capacity to convert adult cells back into an embryoniclike state.
In living mice they activated the four genes (known as “Yamanaka factors,” for researcher Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobelist who discovered their combined potential in 2006). This approach rejuvenated damaged muscles and the pancreas in a middle-aged mouse, and extended by 30 percent the life span of a mouse with a genetic mutation responsible for Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome, which causes rapid aging in children.
..some scientists see the study as further evidence that aging is driven by epigenetic changes. "I do think that epigenetic reprogramming is the ultimate way to reverse aging," says David Sinclair, a Harvard University geneticist and anti-aging researcher who was not involved in the study but is doing similar work. "My lab has a lot of evidence that the primary driver of what we call the hallmarks of aging is the epigenetic change."
Matt Kaeberlein, a molecular biologist at the University of Washington who studies aging but was not part of the work, says other researchers have found that the Yamanaka factors can rejuvenate cells--so in some ways this study is not surprising. But Kaeberlein says no one else had yet shown that the factors can treat age-related diseases in an animal by making the same changes. "That’s the wow fact," he explains.
Kaeberlein says the study suggests it may be possible not just to slow aging but to actually reverse it. "That's really exciting--that means that even in elderly people it may be possible to restore youthful function," he says. Plus, it is easier to imagine a treatment that makes changes to the epigenome than to consider going into every cell and changing its genes.
The study also showed how fine the line can be between benefit and harm. When the researchers treated mice continually, some developed tumors and died within a week. When the scientists cut the treatment to two days out of seven, however, the mice benefited significantly. Sinclair says this should be taken as a note of caution by anyone trying to increase the human life span. “We’ve all been playing with fire,” he says, adding that this fine line will make it challenging to get a drug approved by regulatory agencies. “This is going to be what we spend the next 10 years figuring out: how to reprogram cells to be young again without taking it too far so they become tumors.”
...“This work is the first glimmer that we could live for centuries,” Sinclair says, adding that he would happily do so himself: “Forty-seven years went by pretty quickly.”(Keywords: longevity lifespan -- helps delay when you need cryonics)
Harvard University’s Mikhail Lukin announced at the recently concluded 4th International Conference on Quantum Technologies (ICQT) in Moscow that his team had successfully built and tested a 51-qubit quantum computer.
The highlight of ICQT was supposed to be another quantum computing device, being designed by John Martinis, a professor at University of California at Santa Barbara who also works with Google toward working a scalable, practical quantum computer. On July 13, Martinis announced his team was building a 49-qubit machine, using superconductors, and hoped to have a working version in the very near future.
But on the morning of the very next day — Martinis was supposed to give a public lecture about his quantum device that evening — Lukin produced quite a surprise. He said during his talk that his group, along with colleagues from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had successfully built and tested a 51-qubit device in his lab at Harvard, using cold atoms to achieve this feat. This achievement puts Lukin and his group at the forefront of quantum computing in the world To make this quantum simulator, the researchers used atoms that were cooled with lasers and were held in place using optical “tweezers” — especially arranged laser beams. The more popular current approach, including the one being used by Martinis, is to employ superconducting ions connected with Josephson junctions. Another common approach is that of trapped ions, wherein ions are trapped within electromagnetic fields.
When asked about which technology he thinks was most likely to lead to viable quantum computers, Lukin told International Business Times in a chat following his presentation: “There are several platforms that are very promising, and they are all entering the regime where it is getting interesting, you know, system sizes you cannot simulate with classical computers. But I think it is way premature to pick a winner among them. Moreover, if we are thinking about truly large scales, hundreds of thousands of qubits, systems which will be needed for some algorithms, to be honest, I don’t think anyone knows how to go there.”
Lukin also said during his talk that his team used their 51-qubit machine to model the behavior of many-particle quantum systems, a problem which would take classical computers perhaps billions of years to solve. They made some new discoveries in the process as well, which was verified using approximate calculations on classical computers. The researchers plan to continue conducting more experiments on their system.
Researchers have shown previously that users who can make or measure qubits to convey instructions to the quantum computer could disguise their computation. The new paper extends that power to users who can only send classical bits - i.e. most of us, for now.
This is surprising because some computer science theorems imply that encrypted quantum computation is impossible when only classical communication is available.
The hope for security comes from the quantum computer not knowing which steps of the measurement sequence do what. The quantum computer can't tell which qubits were used for inputs, which for operations and which for outputs.
"It's extremely exciting. You can use this unique feature of the measurement-based model of quantum computing—the way information flows through the state—as a crypto tool to hide information from the server," says team member Tommaso Demarie of CQT and SUTD.
... The set of interpretations grows rapidly with the number of qubits. "The set of all possible computations is exponentially large - that's one of the things we prove in the paper—and therefore the chance of guessing the real computation is exponentially small," says Fitzsimons. One question remains: could meaningful computations be so rare among all the possible ones that the guessing gets easier? That's what the researchers need to check next.
There's a good deal of pseudoscience around quantum physics in popular culture including wishful thinking about our minds or about healing...but the *real* science is as or more exciting in many ways..just came across this.. The application of quantum research to cancer is futuristic sounding enough: 27 June 2017 A diagnostic technique that can detect tiny molecules signalling the presence of cancer could be on the horizon. The possibility of an entirely new capability for detecting cancer at its earliest stages arises from University of Queensland physicists applying quantum physics to single molecule sensing for the first time. But it gets *more* futuristic sounding &"[science]truth is stranger than [science]fiction"when you get to: "Project researcher Dr Lars Madsen said the project applied techniques used to detect gravitational waves from black holes in outer space to the nanoscale – super small – world of molecular biology. " ..“Our research translates this technological development over to the biosciences and offers the possibility of a new biomedical diagnostics technique capable of detecting the presence of even a single cancer marker molecule.” " Full: https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2017/06/physicists-make-quantum-leap-understanding-lifes-nanoscale-machinery
Today, David Simpson and pals at the University of Melbourne in Australia say they have built a magnetic resonance microscope with a resolution of just 300 nanometers that can study biochemical reactions on previously unimaginable scales.
neutrinos are produced from the scattering of other accelerated, high-energy particles in a facility near Chicago and beamed to a detector in Soudan, Minnesota, 735 kilometers (456 miles) away. Although the neutrinos leave Illinois as one flavor, they may oscillate along their journey, arriving in Minnesota as a completely different flavor.The MIT team studied the distribution of neutrino flavors generated in Illinois, versus those detected in Minnesota, and found that these distributions can be explained most readily by quantum phenomena: As neutrinos sped between the reactor and detector, they were statistically most likely to be in a state of superposition, with no definite flavor or identity. What's more, the researchers found that the data was "in high tension" with more classical descriptions of how matter should behave. In particular, it was statistically unlikely that the data could be explained by any model of the sort that Einstein sought, in which objects would always embody definite properties rather than exist in superpositions.... "They realized you get different predictions for correlations of measurements of a single system over time, if you assume superposition versus realism," Kaiser explains, where "realism" refers to models of the Einstein type, in which particles should always exist in some definite state. Formaggio had the idea to flip the expression slightly, to apply not to repeated measurements over time but to measurements at a range of neutrino energies. In the MINOS experiment, huge numbers of neutrinos are created at various energies, where Kaiser says they then "careen through the Earth, through solid rock, and a tiny drizzle of them will be detected" 735 kilometers away. According to Formaggio's reworking of the Leggett-Garg inequality, the distribution of neutrino flavors—the type of neutrino that finally arrives at the detector—should depend on the energies at which the neutrinos were created. Furthermore, those flavor distributions should look very different if the neutrinos assumed a definite identity throughout their journey, versus if they were in superposition, with no distinct flavor. ... when they compared these predictions with the actual distribution of neutrino flavors observed from the MINOS experiment, they found that the data fit squarely within the predicted distribution for a quantum system, meaning that the neutrinos very likely did not have individual identities while traveling over hundreds of miles between detectors. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-weird-quantum-effects-hundreds-miles.html#jCp
The key insight is that the total size of population that can be supported depends on the proportion of cooperators: more cooperation means more food for all and a larger population. If, due to chance, there is a random increase in the number of cheats then there is not enough food to go around and total population size will decrease. Conversely, a random decrease in the number of cheats will allow the population to grow to a larger size, disproportionally benefitting the cooperators. In this way, the cooperators are favoured by chance, and are more likely to win in the long term.
"It's very useful. It betters the descriptions that have been available up till now," Prof Eickhoff said. But he cautioned against describing the 97 freshly delineated regions as "new areas". "If you look at the classical brain maps, even from the 19th century - they were whole-brain maps; they had a label for every spot on the cortex. Any part of the brain has already been looked at. "[This work] certainly defines something clearly, where knowledge has been imprecise and maybe contradictory. But 'new' is a tricky term." <>..."It conceptually changes things. Brain areas are not coarsely divided with, say, 50 pieces that we need to figure out what they're doing. "As you get more and better data, you can subdivide it further and further - and we should be thinking about the brain in this much more granular way." (keywords Cryonics)(keyword alcor)
Clever crows have long been known to use tools. But one species is particularly technologically advanced: New Caledonian crows actually make their own hook-shaped tools, which they use for foraging.
Biologists have known about the shrewd tool-use of the South Pacific island-dwelling crows for a decade, but they had seen the birds make tools only in laboratory experiments. Sure, the crows built tools in that artificial setting, scientists reasoned, but how skillful were the feathered engineers in the wild?
In the 1960s, Irish physicist John Bell proposed a test that could discriminate between Einstein’s hidden variables and the spooky interpretation of quantum mechanics1. He calculated that hidden variables can explain correlations only up to some maximum limit. If that level is exceeded, then Einstein’s model must be wrong.
The first Bell test was carried out in 19812, by Alain Aspect’s team at the Institute of Optics in Palaiseau, France. Many more have been performed since, always coming down on the side of spookiness — but each of those experiments has had loopholes that meant that physicists have never been able to fully close the door on Einstein’s view. Experiments that use entangled photons are prone to the ‘detection loophole’: not all photons produced in the experiment are detected, and sometimes as many as 80% are lost. Experimenters therefore have to assume that the properties of the photons they capture are representative of the entire set.
(In practice, however, the entanglement-swapping idea will be hard to implement. The team took more than week to generate a few hundred entangled electron pairs, whereas generating a quantum key would require thousands of bits to be processed per minute, points out Gisin, who is a co-founder of the quantum cryptographic company ID Quantique in Geneva.)
Leifer is less troubled by this ‘freedom-of-choice loophole’, however. “It could be that there is some kind of superdeterminism, so that the choice of measurement settings was determined at the Big Bang,” he says. “We can never prove that is not the case, so I think it’s fair to say that most physicists don’t worry too much about this.” (yes, pragmatic, but still one might say "a very relaxed attitude!!")
A new study on the origin of life has found that short, positively charged hydrophobic peptide inducing electrostatic interactions were all it took to attach RNA structures to vesicle membranes. This new discovery comes to provide new insight into how membranes and RNA could have come together to form the precursors to life called protocells. This process was taking place around 4 billion years ago on Earth.
Scientists assume that RNA is the ancestral nucleic acid found in early cells. RNA can catalyze chemical reaction as well as store genetic information. Scientists also consider membranes an important piece in the puzzle. They are thought to have played an important role in prebiotic chemistry by promoting a variety of processes, trapping nucleic acids inside vesicles and co-localizing reactants on their surface.
The physical association of vesicle membranes and RNA may have been a significant event in early cellular evolution. Determining pre-biotically possible ways through which membranes and RNA and can associate is an important aspect of understanding the formation process of early cells.
A team at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, U.S., including Nobel laureate Jack Szostak found that peptides just seven amino acids long or even fewer are able to localize RNA to a basic cell membrane.
According to the first author of the research paper, Neha Kamat, this is a simple mechanism that has been also used in other fields to form RNA complexes from a variety of materials. She explains that the simplicity of their system makes this mode of RNA-membrane association plausible on our primitive Earth.
The authors of the study used small peptides containing a cationic group interacting electrostatically with phosphate groups of RNA negatively charged, and a hydrophobic group associating with the membrane.
Kamat explains that this kind of peptides may have helped to bring membranes and RNA together since they could have been present on the prebiotic Earth. According to the scientist, the peptides essentially act as a kind of glue that first binds membranes and then hold the RNA at the membrane surface.
The conclusion of the study is that the first forms of life were likely to be simple cells made of peptides and short strands of a nucleic acid such as RNA, explains David Deamer, chemist specialized in membrane evolution at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Such a system will enable ethical and more rapid and accurate testing of experimental drugs before the clinical trial stage and advance studies of genetic and environmental causes of central nervous system disorders. Rene Anand
“It not only looks like the developing brain, its diverse cell types express nearly all genes like a brain,” Anand said. “We’ve struggled for a long time trying to solve complex brain disease problems that cause tremendous pain and suffering. The power of this brain model bodes very well for human health because it gives us better and more relevant options to test and develop therapeutics other than rodents.”
"We are intimately familiar with the activity of these neurons. We know they are active every time you look at an image, or when you imagine that image. And now we see them active in a similar way when you move your eyes in REM sleep, so it becomes very probable that the eye movements represent some type of reset, or 'moving onto the next dream frame'.
"It's almost like when I was growing up and we had slide projectors. You move to the next dream slide, if you like."
Even people who are congenitally blind... can still dream about their aunt coming to visit from Florida: her voice, the emotions and all the associations that go with that.
"And when the dream changes from meeting this aunt to, say, taking your dog for a stroll in the park, then the brain activity changes and this happens in sync with eye movements."
He also emphasised that flickering of a dreamer's eyes, which only happens in brief spurts, does not mean they are surveying a scene.
"The eye movements are not actually scanning your dream - they're reorienting your visual thoughts," Prof Horne told BBC News.
Using a single vocal signal in multiple contexts - referred to as "functional flexibility" - was thought to be a human ability. And it is something we develop very early. Babies as young as 3-4 months, for example, have been shown to use squeals and growls across a wide range of situations, whether they are happy, distressed or neutral. These sit alongside other noises that are obviously tied to particular emotions, such as crying and laughing. 2015 aug
Working with colleagues from the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, Dr Clay found that the peeps used in several different positive or neutral situations - such as feeding or travelling - were acoustically identical, just as she had suspected. This is important because the "meaning" of the peeps must be determined partly from their context - whether that is other calls delivered in a sequence, or other things that the bonobos are doing. "On their own, [the peeps] don't tie so strongly to one meaning," Dr Clay explained. So it seems that this kind of "structural flexibility", considered one of the building blocks of human language, is not unique - in fact it turned up several branches back in our family tree. "Our capacity for this type of flexible signalling was probably a much older capacity than just the human lineage," Dr Clay said Dr Simon Townsend studies the evolution of animal communication at the University of Zurich. Commenting on the study, he agreed that it fits into an expanding view of the sophistication of primate "language" - and that bonobos are a somewhat neglected species in this field. "It's not easy to get access to these animals in the wild... and this is really important data," he told the BBC. "It goes along with a growing body of evidence that suggests that primates do have quite a bit of control... and goes against the general idea that animals are somehow constrained by their emotional state." .
...tried to head off such concerns by using 'non-viable' embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.
...says George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes"
Some say that gene editing in embryos could have a bright future because it could eradicate devastating genetic diseases before a baby is born. Others say that such work crosses an ethical line: researchers warned in Nature2 in March that because the genetic changes to embryos, known as germline modification, are heritable, they could have an unpredictable effect on future generations. Researchers have also expressed concerns that any gene-editing research on human embryos could be a slippery slope towards unsafe or unethical uses of the technique.
Serious obstacles The team injected 86 embryos and then waited 48 hours, enough time for the CRISPR/Cas9 system and the molecules that replace the missing DNA to act — and for the embryos to grow to about eight cells each. Of the 71 embryos that survived, 54 were genetically tested. This revealed that just 28 were successfully spliced, and that only a fraction of those contained the replacement genetic material. “If you want to do it in normal embryos, you need to be close to 100%,” Huang says. “That’s why we stopped. We still think it’s too immature.”
His team also found a surprising number of ‘off-target’ mutations assumed to be introduced by the CRISPR/Cas9 complex acting on other parts of the genome. This effect is one of the main safety concerns surrounding germline gene editing because these unintended mutations could be harmful. The rates of such mutations were much higher than those observed in gene-editing studies of mouse embryos or human adult cells. And Huang notes that his team likely only detected a subset of the unintended mutations because their study looked only at a portion of the genome, known as the exome.
Huang says that the paper was rejected by Nature and Science, in part because of ethical objections; both journals declined to comment on the claim (Nature’s news team is editorially independent of its research editorial team.)
But choosing the correct genes isn't an exact science. Now, they must coax the cells into various types of tissues to see if the new genes are properly expressed.
"Just making a DNA change isn't that meaningful," Church told Popular Science. "We want to read out the phenotypes."
If the genes do as they're supposed to -- instigate the growth of long -- -- hair and encourage the accumulation of subcutaneous fat, for example -- then the research team will attempt to convert the cells into an embryo that can be raised in an artificial womb.
uses as its active component an individual phosphorus atom patterned between atomic-scale electrodes and electrostatic control gates. While single-atom devices have been developed before, these had an error of about 10 nanometres in positioning of the atoms, which is large enough to affect functionality.
cientists studying the Plague of Justinian (AD 541–542), one of the most lethal pandemics in human history, which wiped out half of the world's population, extracted the teeth of two 1,500-year-old victims.
By doing so, they were able to trace the genetics of the ancient plague, concluding that the Justinian outbreak was caused by a different bacterial strain from that responsible for the later Black Death (AD 1348–50)...In both cases, the pathogen responsible was Yersinia pestis, which spreads to humans via rats and fleas... and while the Justinian strain vanished, the Black Death strain reappeared throughout history, most notably in the outbreak of the 1800s.. rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in many parts of the world.
Negotiations over directions often begin with a common signal known as the “let’s go” rumble. The elephants then engage in lengthy exchanges until a consensus is reached and the herd moves off in the chosen direction. Phyllis Lee, of Stirling University, Scotland - co-editor of The Amboseli Elephants, a new book revealing the research - said elephants can take up to an hour discussing which way to go. “It’s wonderful to watch and a real process of negotiation,” she said.
Researchers have debated whether chimps can work cooperatively for common purpose. Some have described their group hunts in the wild as coordinated, while others looking at different populations have described them as haphazard.(keywords AR animalrights animal-rights) SEARCH FOR google for "the enjoy puzzles"re chimps too...motivated by just the challenge..even if no external reward
According to the researchers, this provides confirmation there were at least four distinct types of human in existence when anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) first left their African homeland.
Along with modern humans, scientists knew about the Neanderthals and a dwarf human species found on the Indonesian island of Flores nicknamed "The Hobbit". To this list, experts must now add the Denisovans.
Recently discovered tool use by animals includes: Chimps using cleavers to chop food into bite-sized chunks Octopuses stealing coconut shells and then using them as camouflage Rooks using stones to raise the level of water in a pitcher, just as portrayed in Aesop's fable(10jan bbc) (keywords AR animal rights)
(criticism: when they say "Such an approach would allow researchers to simulate, on the level of an individual, how they will respond to a given drug or treatment" when a lot of evidence suggests deeper knowledge of other parts of the (general) human body (on top of political issues affecting what gets passed as 'safe' and 'effective') are more relevant and helpful compared with just adding individual-based info)[keywords: cryonics related / life extension some day? probably no time soon but one can hope for progress] (09 Apr) "Imagine you could follow in one of the most advanced Pentium chips today what each and every transistor is doing right now..Then I ask, 'What is happening? Is Word running? Are you doing a Google search?' You couldn't answer. Looking at this level you cannot figure it out. "This is very interesting research and I'm not criticising it, but it doesn't help us in computer science in having the intelligent behaviour of humans replicated." Professor Markram believes that by building up from one neocortical column to the entire neocortex, the ethereal "emergent properties" that characterise human thought will, step by step, make themselves apparent.