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  • Robert Koch proved that microbes cause infectious diseases and famously identified the etiological agents of anthrax, tuberculosis, and cholera.
  • Louis Pasteur proved that life does not spontaneously generate from non-living material, made a significant advance in chemistry, invented pasteurization, and revolutionized vaccines.
  • Koch and Pasteur had a bitter rivalry over the invention of the anthrax vaccine.
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Marine biologists discover 4 new types of photoreceptor

How do these little beasties detect light anyway?

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  • The ocean is full of simple single-celled organisms that somehow follow day-night cycles.
  • Researchers have just discovered four new groups of photoreceptors that help the organisms detect light.
  • The photoreceptors may find use in studies of the human brain.
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    4 microbes may lead to new type 2 diabetes probiotics

    A new study suggests that maintaining gut health to avoid diabetes may be little simpler than previously believed.

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    • Four out of trillions of gut microbes have been identified as being especially important for health.
    • The microbes may play a role in obesity that can result in type 2 diabetes.
    • Understanding the microbes' roles may lead to new probiotics for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
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    Finding aliens: Is there a ‘theory of everything’ for life?

    The search for alien life is far too human-centric. Our flawed understanding of what life really is may be holding us back from important discoveries about the universe and ourselves.

    • What, should it exist, is the universal law that connects all living things? To even dream of answering that question, and to one day find alien life elsewhere in the cosmos, humans must first reconcile the fact that our definition of life is inadequate.
    • For astrobiologist Sara Walker, understanding the universe, its origin, and our place in it starts with a deep investigation into the chemistry of life. She argues that it is time to change our chemical perspective—detecting oxygen in an exoplanet's atmosphere is no longer sufficient enough evidence to suggest the presence of living organisms.
    • "Because we don't know what life is, we don't know where to look for it," Walker says, adding that an unclear or too narrow focus could result in missed discoveries. Gaining new insights into what life on Earth is could shift our quest to find alien life in the universe.
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    New tardigrade species withstands lethal UV radiation thanks to fluorescent 'shield'

    Another amazing tardigrade survival skill is discovered.

    Credit: Suma et al., Biology Letters (2020)
    • Apparently, some water bears can even beat extreme UV light.
    • It may be an adaptation to the summer heat in India.
    • Special under-skin pigments neutralize harmful rays.
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