The growth of an organism rides on a pattern of waves

Study shows ripples across a newly fertilized egg are similar to ocean and atmospheric circulations.

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When an egg cell of almost any sexually reproducing species is fertilized, it sets off a series of waves that ripple across the egg's surface.

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Can synthetic biology protect us from coronavirus? And the next one?

The National Institutes of Health hopes synthetic biology can engineer vaccines that outperform nature.

(Photo: U.S. Department of State)
  • The first coronavirus vaccines will enter Phase 2 testing soon but won't be ready for another 18 months.
  • Synthetic biology may offer a "universal coronavirus vaccine" that can be quickly modified to combat future mutated forms.
  • Despite promising lab tests, synthetic vaccines remain speculative; we'll need to live with COVID-19 during the interim.
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Mystery virus found with mostly unknown DNA

The origin and phylogeny of the Yaravirus are not yet clear.

Image source: Rost9/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • A virus has been found whose DNA is 90% absolutely unfamiliar.
  • Scientists have no real idea what it developed from, or how.
  • Viruses used to be thought of as simple, jumbles of things — not so much any more.
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Could heart disease actually be contagious?

A new hypothesis suggests that you can "catch" noncommunicable diseases from other people via the microbiome.

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  • A newly published hypothesis suggests that some noncommunicable diseases can actually be transmitted between people via their microbiomes.
  • A new analysis even found that your microbiome can convey more information than your genes about your chance of developing various health conditions.
  • By being exposed to an unhealthy cluster of microbes, healthy people could put themselves at risk of "catching" noncommunicable diseases.
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First Mars samples are headed to Earth. What are the risks?

A Mars Space Flight team member warns that people need to be prepared for what's coming.

Image source: Marat Gilyadzinov/unsplash
  • A mission to and from Mars aims to bring back signs or examples of life.
  • Expect material direct from the Red Planet around 2031.
  • A special lab to quarantine the samples is being designed.
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