Researchers use artificial intelligence language tools to decode molecular movements

UMD researchers use artificial intelligence language tools to decode molecular movements
Scientists from the University of Maryland applied a language processing system to the movements of a riboswitch molecule pictured here, to understand how and when the molecule takes different forms. Credit: Zachary Smith/UMD

By applying natural language processing tools to the movements of protein molecules, University of Maryland scientists created an abstract language that describes the multiple shapes a protein molecule can take and how and when it transitions from one shape to another.


A protein molecule’s function is often determined by its shape and structure, so understanding the dynamics that control shape and structure can open a door to understanding everything from how a protein works to the causes of disease and the best way to design targeted drug therapies. This is the first time a machine learning algorithm has been applied to biomolecular dynamics in this way, and the method’s success provides insights that can also help advance

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Researchers apply CRISPR technology to eliminate fusion genes present in tumor cells

The CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool is one of the most promising approaches to advancing treatments of genetic diseases – including cancer -, an area of research where progress is constantly being made.

Now, the Molecular Cytogenetics Unit led by Sandra Rodríguez-Perales at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has taken a step forward by effectively applying this technology to eliminate so-called fusion genes, which in the future could open the door to the development of cancer therapies that specifically destroy tumors without affecting healthy cells. The paper is published in Nature Communications.

Fusion genes are the abnormal result of an incorrect joining of DNA fragments that come from two different genes, an event that occurs by accident during the process of cell division. If the cell cannot benefit from this error, it will die and the fusion genes will be eliminated.

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arXiv now allows researchers to submit code with their manuscripts

Papers with Code today announced that preprint paper archive arXiv will now allow researchers to submit code alongside research papers, giving computer scientists an easy way to analyze, scrutinize, or reproduce claims of state-of-the-art AI or novel advances in what’s possible.

An assessment of the AI industry released a week ago found that only 15% of papers submitted by researchers today publish their code.

Maintained by Cornell University, arXiv hosts manuscripts from fields like biology, mathematics, and physics, and it has become one of the most popular places online for artificial intelligence researchers to publicly share their work. Preprint repositories give researchers a way to share their work immediately, before undergoing what can be a long peer review process as practiced by reputable scholarly journals. Code shared on arXiv will be submitted through Papers with Code and can be found in a Code tab for each paper.

“Having code on

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Researchers watch ants use tools to avoid drowning

Oct. 8 (UPI) — Scientists have observed ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers. In addition to helping ants avoid drowning, the strategy allowed them to more efficiently collect sugar water.

Researchers described the first-of-its-kind observation in a new paper, published Thursday in the journal Functional Ecology.

When scientists first presented black imported fire ants with containers of sugar water, the ants were able to float and feed on the surface without drowning. When researchers added a surfactant, the reduced surface tensions forced the ants to adapt.

Faced with the threat of drowning, the ants collected and deposited sand grains inside the containers.

“We found the ants used sand to build a structure that could effectively draw sugar water out of the container to then to be collected,” lead study author Aiming Zhou said in a news release.

“This exceptional tool making skill not only reduced the

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Researchers design the world’s fastest ultraviolet camera

INRS researchers design the world's fastest UV camera
Illustration of a compact, one-box UV-CUP system. Credit: Jinyang Liang

The team of Professor Jinyang Liang, a specialist in ultrafast imaging at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), in collaboration with an international team of researchers, has developed the fastest camera in the world capable of recording photons in the ultraviolet (UV) range in real time. This original research is featured on the front cover of the 10th issue of the journal Laser & Photonics Reviews.


Compressed ultrafast photography (CUP) captures the entire process in real time and unparalleled resolution with just one click. The spatial and temporal information is first compressed into an image and then, using a reconstruction algorithm, it is converted into a video.

Developing a Compact Instrument for UV

Until now, this technique was limited to visible and near-infrared wavelengths, and thus to a specific category of physical events. “Many phenomena that occur

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Finding a better route to treating social anxiety disorder may lie in another part of the brain, researchers suggest — ScienceDaily

Studies have long suggested that oxytocin — a hormone that can also act as a neurotransmitter — regulates prosocial behavior such as empathy, trust and bonding, which led to its popular labeling as the “love hormone.” Mysteriously, oxytocin has also been shown to play a role in antisocial behaviors and emotions, including reduced cooperation, envy and anxiety. How oxytocin could exert such opposite roles had largely remained a mystery, but a new UC Davis study sheds light on how this may work.

Working with California mice, UC Davis researches showed that the “love hormone” oxytocin can sometimes have antisocial effects depending on where in the brain it is made. (Mark Chappell/UC Riverside)

While most oxytocin is produced in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus, some oxytocin is produced in another brain area known as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, or BNST. The BNST is known

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Researchers identified that SUCLA2-deficient prostate cancer cells can be selectively treated with thymoquinone — ScienceDaily

The compound thymoquinone (TQ) selectively kills prostate cancer cells at advanced stages, according to a new study published in Oncogene. Led by researchers at Kanazawa University, the study reports that prostate cancer cells with a deletion of the SUCLA2 gene can be therapeutically targeted. SUCLA2-deficient prostate cancers represent a significant fraction of those resistant to hormone therapy or metastatic, and a new therapeutic option for this disease would have immense benefits for patients.

Hormone therapy is often chosen for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer but nearly half of patients develop resistance to the treatment in as little as 2 years. A mutation in RB1, a tumor suppressor gene that keeps cell growth under control, has been pegged as a particularly strong driver of treatment resistance and predicts poor outcome in patients.

“Mutations in tumor suppressor genes are enough to induce initiation and malignant progression of prostate cancer, but

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Has COVID-19 knocked us onto our backsides? Researchers study pandemic’s effects on physical activity and sedentary behavior — ScienceDaily

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most universities across the United States transitioned from face-to-face classes to remote learning, closed campuses and sent students home this past spring. Such changes, coupled with social distancing guidelines, have altered social interactions and limited our access to fitness facilities, parks and gymnasiums. This is concerning as positive social interaction and access to exercise facilities both promote physical activity. Recently, a group of Kent State University researchers sought to examine the impact of these pandemic-related changes upon physical activity and sedentary behavior, specifically sitting, across the university population.

Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services professors Jacob Barkley, Ph.D., Andrew Lepp, Ph.D., and Ellen Glickman, Ph.D., along with current and former Kent State doctoral students Greg Farnell, Ph.D., Jake Beiting, Ryan Wiet and Bryan Dowdell, Ph.D., assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity and sedentary behavior. More than 400 college

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‘Smart’ Male Chastity Device Vulnerable To Locking By Hackers: Researchers

A security flaw in an internet-connected male chastity device could allow hackers to remotely lock it — leaving users trapped, researchers have warned.

The Cellmate, produced by Chinese firm Qiui, is a cover that clamps on the base of the male genitals with a hardened steel ring, and does not have a physical key or manual override.

The locking mechanism is controlled with a smartphone app via Bluetooth — marketed as both an anti-cheating and a submission sex play device — but security researchers have found multiple flaws that leave it vulnerable to hacking.

“We discovered that remote attackers could prevent the Bluetooth lock from being opened, permanently locking the user in the device. There is no physical unlock,” British security firm Pen Test Partners said Tuesday.

“An angle grinder or other suitable heavy tool would be required to cut the wearer free.”

The firm also found other security flaws

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Researchers reconstruct the ancestral great ape Y and show its rapid evolution in bonobo and chimpanzee — ScienceDaily

New analysis of the DNA sequence of the male-specific Y chromosomes from all living species of the great ape family helps to clarify our understanding of how this enigmatic chromosome evolved. A clearer picture of the evolution of the Y chromosome is important for studying male fertility in humans as well as our understanding of reproduction patterns and the ability to track male lineages in the great apes, which can help with conservation efforts for these endangered species.

A team of biologists and computer scientists at Penn State sequenced and assembled the Y chromosome from orangutan and bonobo and compared those sequences to the existing human, chimpanzee, and gorilla Y sequences. From the comparison, the team were able to clarify patterns of evolution that seem to fit with behavioral differences between the species and reconstruct a model of what the Y chromosome might have looked like in the ancestor of

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