Possibilities ‘virtually nil’ of discovering SARS-CoV-2 ancestor

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An octopus eaches out a tentacle to another octopus, which throws out shells.

After consuming, a feminine gloomy octopus (left) tosses away empty shells. This requires an uncommon place of the tube-shaped construction known as the siphon, suggesting that the throw is deliberate.Credit score: P. Godfrey-Smith et al./PLOS ONE (CC BY 4.0)

Octopuses are recognized for his or her solitary nature, however in Jervis Bay, Australia, the gloomy octopus (Octopus tetricus) lives at very excessive densities — and this appears to set off an uncommon behaviour. Researchers watched greater than 20 hours of undersea footage and caught the creatures throwing issues at one another, one thing that’s by no means been seen earlier than. “We weren’t capable of attempt to assess what the explanations is perhaps,” cautions ecologist and examine co-author David Scheel. However throwing, he says, “may assist these animals cope with the truth that there are such a lot of octopuses round”.

Nature | 3 min learn

SARS-CoV-2 and bat coronaviruses shared an ancestor only a few years in the past, finds a genome evaluation offered on the seventh World One Well being Congress in Singapore on 8 November. However will probably be very tough to seek out, in bats, the direct ancestor of the virus that causes COVID-19. Coronaviruses swap chunks of RNA with one another, a course of known as recombination. SARS-CoV-2’s direct ancestor most likely fashioned from a number of viruses, and has been recombining and mutating in bats ever since. Given how a lot time has handed, the probabilities of figuring out it “are virtually nil”, says evolutionary virologist Edward Holmes. “That ship has sailed.”

Nature | 4 min learn

Neuroscientists have recognized the nerve cells answerable for serving to paralysed individuals to stroll once more, opening up the potential of focused therapies that would profit a wider vary of individuals with spinal-cord accidents. In a trial, 9 individuals with completely different ranges of paralysis — together with three who had no sensation of their legs — had been helped to stroll once more by a method referred to as epidural electrical stimulation (EES), which delivers electrical pulses to nerves within the decrease backbone. 5 months into the trial, 4 individuals now not want the EES to be switched on to stroll. Neuroscientists used machine studying to establish the lower-spine nerve cells that make EES work and confirmed their findings in mice.

Nature | 5 min learn

Reference: Nature paper

Constructing international well being fairness collectively

Because the chief editor of Nature India, I’ve had the chance to highlight India’s analysis options to real-world issues. A few of the most urgent are in well being care: tuberculosis, maternal and toddler mortality, vector- and water-borne ailments, malnutrition, hygiene and sanitation, and antimicrobial resistance stay main points. Delivering well being care to a couple of billion individuals compounds these challenges. India’s thriving science and analysis ecosystem presents many examples of how the nation is rising to deal with these points. However well being analysis should occur in collaboration with the communities being served.

That’s why I’m delighted to be one of many judges for one thing new from Springer Nature: the Inclusive Well being Analysis awards. These awards, established in partnership with Takeda and providing three prizes of €20,000 (US$20,000) every, have a good time those that are driving a extra inclusive strategy to well being analysis and, in doing so, promote a way forward for higher well being fairness globally.

Be taught extra concerning the awards — and enter them your self, or suggest them to a colleague — on our web site. We welcome entries from anybody instantly engaged in actions linked to well being analysis, and particularly from these situated in low- and middle-income international locations or representing underserved communities. Purposes shut on 6 January.

Inclusive Well being Analysis awards

Options & opinion

A brand new e book by legislation scholar and librarian Sarah Lamdan unpacks the roles of knowledge brokers: firms corresponding to RELX and Thomson Reuters that commerce in info starting from tutorial analysis to monetary information. Lamdan argues that a few of their actions hurt people and society, and erode democracy. Her resolution is for public infrastructure that might ship important info with out sacrificing private privateness. However her name to motion falls in need of providing a transparent path forwards, writes reviewer and data scientist Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe.

Nature | 6 min learn

A lab-gear maker who hated his personal lab coat has pledged to banish the ill-fitting and impractical parts of the traditional geek garment. Flame-resistant materials, a extra protecting collar and stretchy cuffs that don’t catch on glassware are among the many improvements deliberate by Derek Miller’s firm, Genius Lab Gear, after an off-the-cuff survey revealed that 9 out of ten respondents disliked the enduring white garb. “I used to be not ready for a way emotional individuals bought about the issue,” says Miller.

Chemistry World | 4 min learn

Picture of the week

The lunar surface tinted red by the Earth’s shadow during the total lunar eclipse.

Astronomy photographer Andrew McCarthy caught Tuesday’s lunar eclipse through the use of two telescopes: one to seize intricate element on the floor and the opposite to seize the wealthy tones created by Earth’s shadow throughout the Moon. (Andrew McCarthy/cosmicbackground.io)

Quote of the day

Physicist Janet Conrad says that the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica has pinpointed a supply of mysterious high-energy neutrinos: the galaxy NGC 1068, also called Messier 77. (Physics Journal | 6 min learn)

Reference: Science paper



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