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CCNY team makes single photon switch advance

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The ability to turn on and off a physical process with just one photon is a fundamental building block for quantum photonic technologies. Realizing this in a chip-scale architecture is important for scalability, which amplifies a breakthrough by City College of New York researchers led by physicist Vinod Menon. They’ve demonstrated for the first time the use of “Rydberg states” in solid state materials (previously shown in cold atom gases) to enhance nonlinear optical interactions to unprecedented levels in solid state systems. This feat is a first step towards realizing chip-scale scalable single photon switches.

In solid state systems, exciton-polaritons, half-light half-matter quasiparticles, which result from the hybridization of electronic excitations (excitons) and photons, are an attractive candidate to realize nonlinearities at the quantum limit. “Here we realize these quasiparticles with Rydberg excitons (excited states of excitons) in atomically thin semiconductors (2D materials),” said Menon, chair of physics in City College’s Division of Science. “Excited states of excitons owing to their larger size, show enhanced interactions and therefore hold promise for accessing the quantum domain of single-photon nonlinearities, as demonstrated previously with Rydberg states in atomic systems.”

According to Menon, the demonstration of Rydberg exciton-polaritons in two-dimensional semiconductors and their enhanced nonlinear response presents the first step towards the generation of strong photon interactions in solid state systems, a necessary building block for quantum photonic technologies.

Jie Gu, a graduate student working under Menon’s supervision, was the first author of the study entitled: “Enhanced nonlinear interaction of polaritons via excitonic Rydberg states in monolayer WSe2,” which appears in “Nature Communications.” The team also included scientists from Stanford, Columbia, Aarhus and Montreal Polytechnic universities.

The research of Professor Menon and his co-workers could have a tremendous impact on Army goals for ultra-low energy information processing and computing for mobile Army platforms such as unmanned systems,” said Dr. Michael Gerhold, program manager at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “Optical switching and nonlinearities used in future computing paradigms that use photonics would benefit from this advancement. Such strong coupling effects would reduce energy consumption and possibly aid computing performance.

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The research was supported by the Army Research Office, an element of DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory, through the MURI program and the NSF through the MRSEC program.

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Source: https://bioengineer.org/ccny-team-makes-single-photon-switch-advance/

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Largest-ever study of artificial insemination in sharks–and the occasional ‘virgin birth’

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It’s a tough time to be a shark. Pollution, industrialized fishing, and climate change threaten marine life, and the populations of many top ocean predators have declined in recent years. In addition to studying sharks in the wild, scientists working to save sharks rely on ones living in zoos and aquariums so that they can help build breeding programs and learn more about the conditions sharks need to thrive. One important way the scientists do that is by playing matchmakers to the sharks, pairing up individuals in ways that increase genetic diversity. In a new study in Scientific Reports, scientists undertook the largest-ever effort to artificially inseminate sharks.Their work resulted in 97 new baby sharks, including ones whose parents live on opposite sides of the country and a few that don’t have fathers at all.

“Our goal was to develop artificial insemination as a tool that could be used to help support and maintain healthy reproducing populations of sharks in aquariums,” says Jen Wyffels, the paper’s lead author who conducted the research for this paper with the South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation and is currently a researcher at the University of Delaware.

“Moving whole animals from one aquarium to another to mate is expensive and can be stressful for the animal, but now we can just just move genes around through sperm,” says Kevin Feldheim, a researcher at Chicago’s Field Museum and a co-author of the study who led the DNA analysis of the newborn sharks to determine their parentage.

Figuring out shark parentage can be tricky because shark reproduction isn’t always straightforward. In some species, female sharks can store sperm for months after mating and they use it for fertilization “on demand”, so the father of a newborn shark isn’t necessarily the male the mother most recently had contact with. Some female sharks are even capable of reproducing with no male at all, a process called parthenogenesis. In parthenogenesis, the female’s egg cells are able to combine with each other, creating an embryo that only contains genetic material from the mother.

To study shark reproduction, the researchers focused on whitespotted bamboo sharks. “When people think of sharks, they picture great whites, tiger sharks, and bull sharks–the big, scary, charismatic ones,” says Feldheim. “Whitespotted bamboo sharks are tiny, about three feet long. If you go to an aquarium, they’re generally just resting on the bottom.” But while bamboo sharks’ gentleness and small size make them unlikely candidates for Hollywood fame, those qualities make them ideal for researchers to try to artificially inseminate.

Before attempting artificial insemination, researchers have to make sure that the potential mothers aren’t already carrying sperm from a previous rendezvous. “Candidate females are isolated from males and the eggs they lay afterwards are monitored to make sure they are infertile,” says Wyffels. Egg-laying sharks regularly lay eggs on a regular schedule, much like chickens, says Wyffels, to the point that they’re nicknamed “chickens of the sea.” To determine if the eggs are infertile, scientists shine an underwater light through the leathery, rectangular egg cases (called “mermaid’s purses”) to see if there’s a wriggling embryo on top of the yolk. If there are no fertilized eggs for six weeks or more, the shark is ready to be inseminated.

Scientists collected and evaluated 82 semen samples from 19 sharks in order to tell the difference between good and bad samples. Some of the good samples went to nearby females for insemination, while others were kept cold and shipped around and across the country. Once the semen reached Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or Aquarium of the Pacific, where a female was waiting, researchers sedated her and placed the semen in her reproductive tract–the procedure took less than ten minutes. All in all, 20 females were inseminated as part of the study.

Baby sharks hatched from fertilized eggs after 4 months of incubation. “The hatchlings are about the size of your hand, and they have distinctive spot patterns that help to tell them apart,” says Wyffels. Tissue samples were taken from all the babies, along with their parents, so Feldheim could analyze their DNA at the Field Museum’s Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution.

Feldheim developed a suite of genetic markers to determine parentage. “We sequenced the DNA and found sections where the code repeats itself,” says Feldheim. “These repeating bits of code serve as signatures, and when we see them in the babies, we match them up to the potential dads.” The team found that freshly collected semen was effective in fertilizing eggs in 27.6% of cases; semen that had been cold-stored for 24 or 48 hours had 28.1% and 7.1% success rates, respectively. In the genetic analysis of the offspring, the team also found two instances of parthenogenesis, where the mother reproduced on her own without using the sperm she’d been inseminated with. “These cases of parthenogenesis were unexpected and help illustrate how little we know about the basic mechanisms of sexual reproduction and embryo development among sharks,” says Wyffels.

From these preliminary results, the scientists hope to help aquariums expand and manage their shark breeding programs. “There have been other reports on artificial insemination of sharks, but they include very few females. In this study, we’re in the double digits and as a result we could investigate different methods for preparing and preserving sperm for insemination” says Wyffels. “And a hatchling from shark parents that live almost 3,000 miles apart from sperm collected days in advance, that’s definitely a first.”

“One of the goals of this pilot project was to just see if it worked,” says Feldheim. “Now, we can extend it to other animals that actually need help breeding, from other species in aquariums to sharks under threat in the wild.”

The researchers also note that if studies like these contribute to the conservation of sharks in the wild, it will be largely thanks to aquariums. “We wouldn’t know about parthenogenesis in sharks if it wasn’t for aquariums,” says Feldheim.

“Aquariums allow you to observe the same individual animals over time, and that’s very difficult to do in the wild,” says Wyffels. “Aquarists have eyes on their animals every day. They pick up on subtle changes in behavior related to reproduction, and they tell us what they see. Research like this depends on that collaboration. We are already taking what we learned from this study and applying it to other species, especially the sand tiger shark, a protected species that does not reproduce often in aquariums.”

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This study was led by researchers from the South-East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction & Conservation in collaboration with, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, The Florida Aquarium, Adventure Aquarium and the Field Museum.

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Source: https://bioengineer.org/largest-ever-study-of-artificial-insemination-in-sharks-and-the-occasional-virgin-birth/

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Orangutan finding highlights need to protect habitat

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Wild orangutans are known for their ability to survive food shortages, but scientists have made a surprising finding that highlights the need to protect the habitat of these critically endangered primates, which face rapid habitat destruction and threats linked to climate change.

Scientists found that the muscle mass of orangutans on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia was significantly lower when less fruit was available. That’s remarkable because orangutans are thought to be especially good at storing and using fat for energy, according a Rutgers-led study in the journal Scientific Reports.

The findings highlight that any further disruption of their fruit supply could have dire consequences for their health and survival.

“Conservation plans must consider the availability of fruit in forest patches or corridors that orangutans may need to occupy as deforestation continues across their range,” said lead author Caitlin A. O’Connell, a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of senior author Erin R. Vogel, Henry Rutgers Term Chair Professor and an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Orangutans weigh up to about 180 pounds and live up to 55 years in the wild. One of our closest living relatives, they are the most solitary of the great apes, spending almost all of their time in trees. Orangutans in Borneo also spend some time on the ground. Deforestation linked to logging, the production of palm oil and paper pulp, and hunting all pose threats to orangutans, whose populations have plummeted in recent decades.

Orangutans also face great challenges in meeting their nutritional needs. With low and unpredictable fruit availability in their Southeast Asian forest habitats, they often struggle to eat enough to avoid calorie deficits and losing weight. Because these animals are critically endangered, researchers need to explore new ways to monitor their health without triggering more stress in them.

Researchers in Vogel’s Laboratory for Primate Dietary Ecology and Physiology measured creatinine, a waste product formed when muscle breaks down, in wild orangutan urine to estimate how much muscle the primates had when fruit was scarce versus when it was abundant.

In humans, burning through muscle as the main source of energy marks the third and final phase of starvation, which occurs after stores of body fat are greatly reduced. So, the research team was surprised to find that both males and females of all ages had reduced muscle mass when fruit availability was low compared with when it was high, meaning they had burned through most of their fat reserves and resorted to burning muscle mass .

“Orangutans seem to go through cycles of building fat and possibly muscle mass and then using fat and muscle for energy when preferred fruits are scarce and caloric intake is greatly reduced,” Vogel said. “Our team plans to investigate how other non-invasive measures of health vary with muscle mass and how the increasingly severe wildfires on Borneo might contribute to muscle loss and other negative health impacts.”

Rutgers co-authors include Andrea L. DiGiorgio, a lecturer at Princeton University and post-doctoral fellow in Vogel’s lab; Alexa D. Ugarte, the lab’s manager; Rebecca S. A. Brittain, a doctoral student in the lab; and Daniel Naumenko, a former Rutgers undergraduate student who is now at doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder. Scientists at New York University and Universitas Nasional in Indonesia contributed to the study.

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Source: https://bioengineer.org/orangutan-finding-highlights-need-to-protect-habitat/

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Scientists find molecular patterns that may help identify extraterrestrial life

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Upcoming Solar System exploration missions will search for extraterrestrial (ET) life, but ET life may not be like Earth life; a new mass spectrometry analysis technique may allow for process-based ways to find ET life that is compositionally alien

Scientists have begun the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System in earnest, but such life may be subtly or profoundly different from Earth-life, and methods based on detecting particular molecules as biosignatures may not apply to life with a different evolutionary history. A new study by a joint Japan/US-based team, led by researchers at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has developed a machine learning technique which assesses complex organic mixtures using mass spectrometry to reliably classify them as biological or abiological.

In season 1, episode 29 (“Operation: Annihilate!”) of Star Trek, which aired in 1966, the human-Vulcan hybrid character Spock made the observation “It is not life as we know or understand it. Yet it is obviously alive; it exists.” This now 55-year old pop-culture meme still makes a point: how can we detect life if we fundamentally don’t know what life is, and if that life is really different from life as we know it?

The question of “Are we alone?” as living beings in the Universe has fascinated humanity for centuries, and humankind has been looking for ET life in the Solar System since NASA’s Viking 2 mission to Mars in 1976. There are presently numerous ways scientists are searching for ET life. These include listening for radio signals from advanced civilisations in deep space, looking for subtle differences in the atmospheric composition of planets around other stars, and directly trying to measure it in soil and ice samples they can collect using spacecraft in our own Solar System. This last category allows them to bring their most advanced chemical analytical instrumentation directly to bear on ET samples, and perhaps even bring some of the samples back to Earth, where they can be carefully scrutinised.

Exciting missions such as NASA’s Perseverance rover will look for life this year on Mars; NASA’s Europa Clipper, launching in 2024, will try to sample ice ejected from Jupiter’s moon Europa, and its Dragonfly mission will attempt to land an “octacopter” on Saturn’s moon Titan starting in 2027. These missions will all attempt to answer the question of whether we are alone.

Mass spectrometry (MS) is a principal technique that scientists will rely on in spacecraft-based searches for ET life. MS has the advantage that it can simultaneously measure multitudes of compounds present in samples, and thus provide a sort of “fingerprint” of the composition of the sample. Nevertheless, interpreting those fingerprints may be tricky.

As best as scientists can tell, all life on Earth is based on the same highly coordinated molecular principles, which gives scientists confidence that all Earth-life is derived from a common ancient terrestrial ancestor. However, in simulations of the primitive processes that scientists believe may have contributed to life’s origins on Earth, many similar but slightly different versions of the particular molecules terrestrial life uses are often detected. Furthermore, naturally occurring chemical processes are also able to produce many of the building blocks of biological molecules. Since we still have no known sample of alien life, this leaves scientists with a conceptual paradox: did Earth-life make some arbitrary choices early in evolution which got locked in, and thus life could be constructed otherwise, or should we expect that all life everywhere is constrained to be exactly the same way it is on Earth? How can we know that the detection of a particular molecule type is indicative of whether it was or was not produced by ET life?

It has long troubled scientists that biases in how we think life should be detectable, which are largely based on how Earth-life is presently, might cause our detection methods to fail. Viking 2 in fact returned odd results from Mars in 1976. Some of the tests it conducted gave signals considered positive for life, but the MS measurements provided no evidence for life as we know it. More recent MS data from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover suggest there are organic compounds on Mars, but they still do not provide evidence for life. A related problem has plagued scientists attempting to detect the earliest evidence for life on Earth: how can we tell if signals detected in ancient terrestrial samples are from the original living organisms preserved in those samples or derived from contamination from the organisms which presently pervade our planet?

Scientists at the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (The National MagLab) in the US decided to address this problem using a combined experimental and machine learning computational approach. The National MagLab is supported by the US National Science Foundation through NSF/ DMR-1644779 and the State of Florida to provide cutting-edge technologies for research. Using ultrahigh-resolution MS (a technique known as Fourier-Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (or FT-ICR MS)) they measured the mass spectra of a wide variety of complex organic mixtures, including those derived from abiological samples made in the lab (which they are fairly certain are not living), organic mixtures found in meteorites (which are ~ 4.5 billion-year-old samples of abiologically produced organic compounds which appear to have never become living), laboratory-grown microorganisms (which fit all the modern criteria of being living, including novel microbial organisms isolated and cultured by ELSI co-author Tomohiro Mochizuki), and unprocessed petroleum (or raw natural crude oil, the kind we pump out of the ground and process into gasoline, which is derived from organisms which lived long ago on Earth, providing an example of how the “fingerprint” of known living organisms might change over geological time). These samples each contained tens of thousands of discrete molecular compounds, which provided a large set of MS spectra that could be compared and classified.

In contrast to approaches that use the accuracy of MS measurements to uniquely identify each peak with a particular molecule in a complex organic mixture, the researchers instead aggregated their data and looked at the broad statistics and distribution of signals. Complex organic mixtures, such as those derived from living things, petroleum, and abiological samples present very different “fingerprints” when viewed in this way. Such patterns are much more difficult for a human to detect than the presence or absence of individual molecule types.

The researchers fed their raw data into a computer machine learning algorithm and surprisingly found that the algorithms were able to accurately classify the samples as living or non-living with ~95% accuracy. Importantly, they did so after simplifying the raw data considerably, making it plausible that lower-precision instruments, spacecraft-based instruments are often low power, could obtain data of sufficient resolution to enable the biological classification accuracy the team obtained.

The underlying reasons this classification accuracy is possible to remain to be explored, but the team suggests it is because of the ways biological processes, which modify organic compounds differently than abiological processes, relate to the processes which enable life to propagate itself. Living processes have to make copies of themselves, while abiological processes have no internal process controlling this.

“This work opens many exciting avenues for using ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry for astrobiological applications,” says co-author Huan Chen of the US National MagLab.

Lead author Nicholas Guttenberg adds, “While it is difficult if not impossible to characterise every peak in a complex chemical mixture, the broad distribution of components can contain patterns and relationships which are informative about the process by which that mixture came about or developed. If we’re going to understand complex prebiotic chemistry, we need ways of thinking in terms of these broad patterns – how they come about, what they imply, and how they change – rather than the presence or absence of individual molecules. This paper is an initial investigation into the feasibility and methods of characterisation at that level and shows that even discarding high-precision mass measurements, there is significant information in peak distribution that can be used to identify samples by the type of process that produced them.”

Co-author Jim Cleaves of ELSI adds, “This sort of relational analysis may offer broad advantages for searching for life in the Solar System, and perhaps even in laboratory experiments designed to recreate the origins of life.” The team plans to follow up with further studies to understand exactly what aspects of this type of data analysis allows for such successful classification.

###

Reference:

Nicholas Guttenberg1,2,3, Huan Chen4, Tomohiro Mochizuki1, H. James Cleaves II1,5,6,*, Classification of the Biogenicity of Complex Organic Mixtures for the Detection of Extraterrestrial Life, Life, DOI: 10.3390/life11030234

1. Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ookayama, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan

2. Cross Labs, Cross Compass Ltd., 2-9-11-9F Shinkawa, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0033, Japan

3. GoodAI, Na Petynce 213/23b, 169 00 Prague, Czech Republic

4. National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University, 1800 East Paul Dirac Drive,
Tallahassee, FL 32310-4005, USA

5. Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Einstein Drive, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA

6. Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Seattle, WA 98104, USA

More information:

Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) stands at the forefront of research and higher education as the leading university for science and technology in Japan. Tokyo Tech researchers excel in fields ranging from materials science to biology, computer science, and physics. Founded in 1881, Tokyo Tech hosts over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students per year, who develop into scientific leaders and some of the most sought-after engineers in industry. Embodying the Japanese philosophy of “monotsukuri,” meaning “technical ingenuity and innovation,” the Tokyo Tech community strives to contribute to society through high-impact research.

The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) is one of Japan’s ambitious World Premiere International research centers, whose aim is to achieve progress in broadly inter-disciplinary scientific areas by inspiring the world’s greatest minds to come to Japan and collaborate on the most challenging scientific problems. ELSI’s primary aim is to address the origin and co-evolution of the Earth and life.

The World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to help build globally visible research centers in Japan. These institutes promote high research standards and outstanding research environments that attract frontline researchers from around the world. These centers are highly autonomous, allowing them to revolutionise conventional modes of research operation and administration in Japan.

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Source: https://bioengineer.org/scientists-find-molecular-patterns-that-may-help-identify-extraterrestrial-life/

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Life may have become cellular by using unusual molecules

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All modern life is cellular, but how life came to be cellular remains uncertain. New research suggests chemical compounds likely common on primitive Earth may have helped scaffold the emergence of biological cellularity.

Credit: Tony Z. Jia

All modern life is composed of cells, from single-celled bacteria to more complex organisms such as humans, which may contain billions or even trillions of cells, but how life came to be cellular remains uncertain. New research led by specially appointed assistant professor Tony Z. Jia at the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) at Tokyo Institute of Technology, along with colleagues from around the world (Japan, Malaysia, France, Czech Republic, India and the USA), shows that simple chemical compounds known as hydroxy acids, which were likely common on primitive Earth, spontaneously link together and form structures reminiscent of modern cells when dried from solution, as may have happened on or in ancient beaches or puddles. The resulting structures may have helped scaffold the emergence of biological cellularity, and offer scientists a new avenue for studying early proto-biological evolution and the origins of life itself.

Modern cells are very complex, precisely organized assemblages of millions of molecules oriented in precise ways which help traffic materials into and out of cells in a highly coordinated fashion. As an analogy, a city is not just a random collection of buildings, streets and stoplights; rather, in an optimized city, the streets are arranged to allow for easy access to the buildings, and traffic flow is controlled to make the entire system function efficiently. As much as cities are the result of a historical and evolutionary process when primitive roving bands of humans settled down to work together in larger groups, cells are likely the result of similar processes by which simple molecules began to cooperate to form synchronized molecular systems.

How cellularization emerged is a long-standing scientific problem, and scientists are trying to understand how simple molecules can form the boundary structures which could have defined the borders of primitive cells. The boundaries of modern cells are typically composed of lipids, which are themselves composed of molecules which have the molecularly unusual property of spontaneously forming bounded structures in water known as vesicles. Vesicles form from simple molecules known as “amphiphiles,” a word derived from the Greek meaning “loving both” to reflect that such molecules have propensity to self-organize with water as well as with themselves. This molecular dance causes these molecules to orient themselves such that one part of these molecules preferentially aligns with the water they are dissolved in and another portion of these molecules tend to align with one another. This kind of self-organizational phenomenon is observed when groups of people enter elevators: rather than everyone facing in random directions, for various reasons people in elevators tend to all align themselves to face the elevator door. In the experiments investigated by Jia and colleagues, the low molecular weight hydroxy acid molecules, upon joining together become a new type of polymer (that could be similar in nature to amphiphiles), form droplets, rather than the bag-like structures biological lipids do.

Modern cell boundaries, or membranes as they are called, are primarily composed of a few types of amphiphilic molecules, but scientists suspect the property of forming a membrane is a more general property of many types of molecules. As much as modern cities likely adapted roads, buildings and traffic controls to deal with the subsequent problems of handling foot traffic, horse traffic and automobile traffic, primitive cells may have also slowly changed their composition and function to adapt to changes in the way other biological functions evolved. This new work offers insights into the problems primitive emergent biological systems may have had tom adapt to.

The types of molecules that help modern cells form their boundaries are only a small subset of the types which could allow for this kind of spontaneous self-assembly behavior. Previously, Jia and colleagues showed that hydroxy acids can be easily joined together to form larger molecules with emergent amphiphilic and self-assembly properties. They show in their new work that the subtle addition of one more type of subtly different hydroxy acid, in this case one bearing a positive electric charge, to the starting pool of reactants can result in new types of polyesters that spontaneously self-assemble into still more unexpected types of cell-like structures and lends them new functions which may help explain the origins of biological cellularity.

The novel structures Jia and coworkers prepared show emergent functions such as the ability to segregate nucleic acids, which are essential for conveying heredity in modern cells, or the ability to emit fluorescent light. That such minor changes in chemical complexity can result in major functional changes is significant. Jia and colleagues suggest that by further increasing the chemical complexity of their experimental system, still further emergent functions could arise among the resulting primitive compartments that could lead to greater understanding of the rise of the first cells.

Jia notes that this work is not merely theoretical nor even just relevant to basic science research. Major COVID vaccines such as those devised by Moderna and Pfizer involve the dispersion of RNA molecules in metabolizable lipid droplets; the systems Jia and coworkers have developed could be similarly biodegradable in vivo, and thus polyester droplets similar to the ones they prepared could be useful for similar drug delivery applications.

###

Reference:

Tony Z. Jia1,4*, Niraja V. Bapat1,2, Ajay Verma2, Irena Mamajanov1, H. James Cleaves II1,3,4, Kuhan Chandru5,6*, Incorporation of Basic α-Hydroxy Acid Residues into Primitive Polyester Microdroplets for RNA Segregation, Biomacromolecules, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.0c01697

1. Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan

2. Department of Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, Maharashtra 411008, India

3. Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Einstein Drive, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, United States

4. Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Seattle, Washington 98154, United States

5. Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Technicka 5, 16628 Prague 6 — Dejvice, Czech Republic

6. Space Science Centre (ANGKASA), Institute of Climate Change, National University of Malaysia, UKM, Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan 43650, Malaysia

More information:

Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) stands at the forefront of research and higher education as the leading university for science and technology in Japan. Tokyo Tech researchers excel in fields ranging from materials science to biology, computer science, and physics. Founded in 1881, Tokyo Tech hosts over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students per year, who develop into scientific leaders and some of the most sought-after engineers in industry. Embodying the Japanese philosophy of “monotsukuri,” meaning “technical ingenuity and innovation,” the Tokyo Tech community strives to contribute to society through high-impact research.

The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) is one of Japan’s ambitious World Premiere International research centers, whose aim is to achieve progress in broadly inter-disciplinary scientific areas by inspiring the world’s greatest minds to come to Japan and collaborate on the most challenging scientific problems. ELSI’s primary aim is to address the origin and co-evolution of the Earth and life.

The World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to help build globally visible research centers in Japan. These institutes promote high research standards and outstanding research environments that attract frontline researchers from around the world. These centers are highly autonomous, allowing them to revolutionize conventional modes of research operation and administration in Japan.

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Source: https://bioengineer.org/life-may-have-become-cellular-by-using-unusual-molecules/

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