Same-sex mice give offspring
In October 2018, a pair of same-sex mice managed to give birth to mice using genome editing and stem cells. The babies were born to two females – the entire litter was completely healthy, and when the mice grew up, they managed to have their own children.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for mice born to two males: only two out of 12 survived.
Researchers from China published their work and clarified that although in the near future it is unlikely that people will be able to count on the appearance of offspring from two same-sex parents, this is a serious step.
Scientists have found the largest animal
In September, scientists from South Africa found a giant relative of the Brontosaurus, which is twice the size of an African elephant. The discovery was poetically named Ledumahadi mafube, which in the local dialect means “thunder at dawn.” Scientists are sure that at the moment it is one of the largest animals ever living on Earth. The big man weighed almost 12 tons. For comparison: modern enlarged buses weigh about 15 tons.
According to scientists, Ledumahadi was the so-called transitional dinosaur, a kind of experiment of nature in the early Jurassic period.
The oldest human drawing
People have always been drawn to the beautiful and got acquainted with art very early. In September, scientists discovered a rock painting that historians believe may be the earliest work created by Homo sapiens.
The drawing represents nine red lines drawn on a stone in South Africa. Its age is approximately 73 thousand years. Image found in Blombos Cave, 200 miles from Cape Town. There they also found teeth, spears, shell beads and objects made of bone.
So far, scientists are not sure what and for what purpose was depicted on the stone, but they know for sure that the lines are drawn on the surface intentionally.
Scientists grow vegetables in Antarctica
Plants need sun, right? Not properly! Scientists from Germany managed to grow lettuce, cucumbers and radishes in a high-tech, specially equipped greenhouse Neumayer Station III in Antarctica. While the temperature was about -20 degrees outside, the plants grew and matured calmly, and in April the researchers already managed to harvest.
Scientists have slowed down aging
True, so far only in mice. In March 2018, in the journal CELL, a Boston team of researchers led by Dr. David Sinclair published a paper claiming to have reversed aging in mice.
Aging in mammals is due to a special enzyme, NAD, which is essential for survival. As we age, the amount of NAD naturally decreases and this leads to a number of diseases associated with aging. When Sinclair found a way to increase the NAD levels in mice with nutritional supplements, their cells became younger and the overall health of the mice improved.
Sinclair and his team hope to start experimenting with humans in the future. If the results are similar in humans, this would mean that scientists will be able to slow down aging and avoid diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancer.
In March, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute developed the first autonomous soft robot that can move through water like a fish.
Now exploring the ocean, about which we still know so little, has become much easier.
Two patients with age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly, have experienced experimental stem cell therapy.
Both patients lost their sight gradually. And they couldn’t even read. The scientists implanted a stem cell patch on the damaged areas of the eye, and the vision of both patients was restored.
These are very promising experiments, and the goal of doctors in the future is to find out if such a procedure does not lead to serious side effects.