A multinational crew of four astronauts has been launched towards the International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX's Crew-7 mission. The new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, carries the Crew-7 quartet on the Crew Dragon capsule Endurance. The mission is set to last nearly six months, with the crew conducting scientific research and station maintenance. The study introduces a new perspective by uniting crew members from Denmark 🇩🇰, Japan 🇯🇵, Russia 🇷🇺, and the United States 🇺🇸, reflecting a unified objective despite diverse nationalities. The space station successfully docked to the ISS.
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The elusive neutrinos detected for the first time
Neutrinos, elusive and neutrally charged particles outlined by the Standard Model of particle physics, have been an enigma due to their low probability of interacting with other matter. Scientists have employed advanced detectors to observe neutrinos from sources like the sun, cosmic rays, and particle accelerators. Recently, two research groups, FASER and SND@LHC, have independently detected neutrinos inside colliders at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), marking a milestone in experimental particle physics. These observations could uncover answers to fundamental questions in the field and contribute to a better understanding of the universe's intricacies.
The climate's role in shaping species diversity
The phenomenon of varying species distribution across the Earth is highlighted by the latitudinal biodiversity gradient, where more species are found closer to the equator. Researchers from the University of British Columbia investigated this pattern using the fall webworm moth, exploring how climate and latitude influence the evolution of species. Amid global lockdowns, crowd-sourced science provided a solution, utilizing geotagged photos to analyze caterpillar populations. They found that climate, by affecting breeding times, plays a pivotal role in the process of speciation, shedding light on the intricate relationship between climate and species diversity.
Population disparities in immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 unveiled
A research collaboration led by Institut Pasteur reveals factors influencing differing immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 across populations. The study, published in Nature, highlights the roles of latent cytomegalovirus infection and human genetic factors driven by natural selection in the severity of COVID-19. Analyzing immune blood cells from diverse regions, the study identifies around 900 genes and 1,200 human genes that respond differently to the virus, with disparities attributed to both blood cellular composition and ancient introgression between Neanderthals and modern humans. The findings could contribute to improved patient management in future epidemics and pave the way for precision medicine strategies.
Alzheimer's disease: Immune cells' role and potential new treatment avenues
University of Washington-led research highlights immune cell differences in Alzheimer-afflicted brains, shedding light on potential treatment targets. Microglia, responsible for maintaining brain health, were found to be in a pre-inflammatory state more often in Alzheimer's patients, diminishing their protective capabilities. Using enhanced single-nucleus RNA sequencing, scientists identified distinct microglia clusters, including a new type more common in Alzheimer's brains, exhibiting inflammatory gene activity. This research suggests potential avenues for therapies that could mitigate Alzheimer's progression by altering microglia behaviour and addressing their contribution to the disease.
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