Biology

How did bacterial glycogen branching enzymes evolve?

Glycogen is a sugar which plays important roles in carbon and energy storage in bacteria. Glycogen with a highly branched, compact structure offers a more durable energy source – a characteristic linked with bacterial environmental durability, such as the ability to survive in deep sea vents. Dr Liang Wang at the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai and Ms Qing-Hua Liu at […]

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Arts & Humanities

The evolution and spiritual journey of two former Black Panther Party members: George Jackson and Eldridge Cleaver

Dr Trevin Jones is an English Professor at St. Louis Community College. In his dissertation on African American prison writers, he explores how different African American male prison writers explore issues of activism, masculinity, identity, and spirituality. In particular, he focuses on two former members of the Black Panther Party: George Jackson and Eldridge Cleaver. Although coming from similar perspectives, […]

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Physical Sciences

Unravelling the mysteries of deep-blue luminescence

Some molecules glow as brilliantly as fireflies through a process known as luminescence. Different molecules can emit different colours of light, including red, green, and blue. However, not all colours are as easy to generate as others. Dr Masahito Oh-e at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, together with his collaborator Dr Akira Nagasawa, Professor Emeritus of Saitama University in Japan, […]

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Earth & Environment

Is sustainable palm oil production in Honduras achievable?

Palm oil is the world’s most used vegetable oil. Its production increases the GDP of developing nations and improves the livelihoods of farmers. However, palm oil production has wrought substantial environmental harm to the regions, which grow it through deforestation and biodiversity loss. This leads Dr Ingrid Fromm at Bern University of Applied Sciences to the question: is it possible […]

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Biology

Longer not stiffer: Targeting jute fibre quality

Jute is a phloem bast fibre crop grown for its fibres that are used in the manufacture of various goods. Due to its cheapness and biodegradable nature, jute is now in greater demand than other natural fibres. However, the fibre is short, making it hard to produce some jute products; moreover, the fibre is also stiffer than other plant fibres, […]

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Biology

Whither now for jute wither? Emergence of a new pathogen

Being sessile, plants face a number of threats, in the form of changing climate and microbes that cause disease. Plant diseases can wipe out entire fields of crops, leading to huge economic losses. In the jute fields in Bangladesh, there have been incidences of wilting of the plants, leading to their ultimate death. Scientists at the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute […]

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Health & Medicine

Understanding SARS-CoV-2: A closer look into its genome

A team of BARJ scientists from the Bangladesh Jute Research Institute, Dhaka, Bangladesh have conducted significant research on SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing COVID-19. In a recent research project, BARJ researchers collected samples from positive coronavirus patients and conducted a comparative study to analyse differential host responses in various SARS-CoV-2 infection systems. In another project, the research team predicted […]

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Biology

Cellular decoding via jute CDPKs

Plants grow and survive by cellular responses to various signals from the environment, other organisms, or from within themselves. The cellular machinery to decode these signals in plants is highly complex and consists of several specialised proteins. One such protein family is the calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK) group of proteins that decode developmental and environmental stimuli-induced calcium changes into physiological […]

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Biology

Getting retting better by bacterial blending

Jute is the second most important fibre crop after cotton. Harvesting of jute is followed by retting, where the fibres are separated from stems. This is performed in open waters where natural microorganisms decompose the plant material. The fibre quality depends on retting efficiency. Given the water scarcity in Bangladesh and the resulting delays in harvest, the quality of fibres […]

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Arts & Humanities

Doing good: Social change initiatives and ethical thinking

Social change is complex. Program designers and implementers need to deal with complexity in ethical ways. Ms Susan Igras and Dr Anjalee Kohli at Georgetown University and their co-authors examine the power dynamics of norms-shifting interventions in fostering health improvement. Their aim is to develop an approach to designing and carrying out interventions which more systematically take into account values, […]

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