Historical genomes reveal recent changes in genetic health of eastern gorillas
27 december 2018
The critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla has recently lost genetic diversity and has experienced an increase in harmful mutations. These conclusions were reached by an international team of researchers who sequenced eleven genomes from eastern gorilla specimens collected up to 100 years ago, and compared these with genomes from present-day individuals. The results are now published in Current Biology.
Simple method rescues stressed liver cells
21 december 2018
Isolated human hepatocytes are essential tools in preclinical and clinical liver research, but cell quality is highly variable. Now, researchers from Uppsala University have devised a simple protocol that improves hepatocyte quality and enables cells from a wider quality spectrum to be used in standard and advanced cell culture. The findings are published in Archives of Toxicology.
Surgery unnecessary for many prostate cancer patients
12 december 2018
Otherwise healthy men with advanced prostate cancer may benefit greatly from surgery, but many with this diagnosis have no need for it. These conclusions were reached by researchers after following a large group of Scandinavian men with prostate cancer for 29 years. The results are now published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Biologists shed new light on an old question
12 december 2018
For nearly 100 years biologists have argued about how exactly natural selection can possibly work. If nature selects the individuals with the best genes then why aren’t all organisms the same? What maintains the genetic variation that natural selection acts upon, the genetic variation that has ultimately led to the spectacular diversity of life on Earth today? Recent findings made at Uppsala University suggest that the answer could be sex.
White-browed Shortwing is not 1 but 4 species
26 november 2018
The White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana) has been considered to be a single species distributed from the central Himalayas to the southeast Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia. The mainland and Taiwan Island populations have recently been studied by an international team of researchers from Sweden, China, the UK and the USA. They analysed DNA, plumages, structure, songs and geographical distributio...
Hundreds of babblers’ DNA analysed
23 november 2018
Using DNA sequences for 402 of the 452 species of the world’s “babblers”, an international team from China, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and the USA have analysed the evolutionary relationships among these species. Many of these species have not previously been studied using genetic methods, and this is by far the most comprehensive analysis of this group of birds to date.
Gigantic mammal “cousin” discovered
22 november 2018
During the Triassic period (252–201 million years ago) mammal-like reptiles called therapsids co-existed with ancestors to dinosaurs, crocodiles, mammals, pterosaurs, turtles, frogs, and lizards. One group of therapsids are the dicynodonts. Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, together with colleagues in Poland, have discovered fossils from a new genus of gigantic dicynodont. The new species Lisowicia bojani is described in the journal...
Deciding not to resuscitate: nurses’ and physicians’ perspectives
15 november 2018
When deciding not to resuscitate patients in cardiac arrest, ethical issues arise. Nurses and physicians conflicting perspectives often cause frustration. In a new doctoral thesis from Uppsala University, Mona Pettersson examines clinical and ethical perspectives on “DNR orders” in cancer care.
The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
13 november 2018
An international team of drought scientists show that while many dams and reservoirs are built, or expanded, to alleviate droughts and water shortages, they can paradoxically contribute to make them worse. The study is published in Nature Sustainability.
Researchers capture in-action images of photosynthetic protein complex splitting water
07 november 2018
In a new article published in Nature an international research team presents high-resolution images of photosystem II, the protein complex that splits water into hydrogen ions and oxygen during photosynthesis. The images will help researchers better understand this complex mechanism, possibly opening up the door to developing cheap and efficient solar fuel devices.
New infrastructure for medieval literature launched
31 oktober 2018
Norse World is a new database which will make it easier for researchers to study perceptions of the surrounding world in Medieval Scandinavian literature. The new tool is a digital resource aimed at researchers in fields such as language history and philology, comparative literature, manuscript studies and digital humanities. It will be freely available to both researchers and the public.
Molecular details of protein evolution investigated
24 oktober 2018
Proteins govern the biology of the cell. Through random mutation the sequences of our proteins slowly change over time, usually without affecting function. But sometimes new functions will be invented in this process. Scientists at Uppsala University have studied such a case in molecular detail: the emergence and optimisation of an interaction between two proteins. The results are published in Science Advances and show how several factors cons...
Unravelling the genetics of fungal fratricide
15 oktober 2018
Selfish genes are genes that are passed on to the next generation but confer no advantage on the individual as a whole, and may sometimes be harmful. Researchers at Uppsala University have, for the first time, sequenced (or charted) two selfish genes in the fungus Neurospora intermedia that cause fungal spores to kill their siblings. Unexpectedly, the genes were not related to each other, perhaps indicating that selfish genes are more common t...
New knowledge about retrovirus-host coevolution
08 oktober 2018
Retroviruses have colonised vertebrate hosts for millions of years by inserting their genes into host genomes, enabling their inheritance through generations as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Researchers from Uppsala University now provide new knowledge about the long-term associations of retroviruses and their hosts by studying ERV variation and segregation in wild and domestic rabbit populations. The findings are being published in Proceedi...
Artificial enzymes convert solar energy into hydrogen gas
04 oktober 2018
In a new scientific article, researchers at Uppsala University describe how, using a completely new method, they have synthesised an artificial enzyme that functions in the metabolism of living cells. These enzymes can utilize the cell’s own energy, and thereby enable hydrogen gas to be produced from solar energy.
World speed record for polymer simulations
04 oktober 2018
Star polymers are within the most topologically entangled macromolecules. For a star to move the current theory is that one arm must retract to the branch point. The probability of this event falls exponentially with molecular weight, and a quicker relaxation pathway eventually takes over. With a simulation over a hundred times faster than earlier studies, it is demonstrated that the mean square displacement scales with a power law 1/16 in tim...
New study shows cells produce specialised protein factories under stress
03 oktober 2018
Prevailing dogma in biological research holds that the cell’s protein factories, the ribosomes, function the same way in all cells and in all conditions. In an international study with participation from Weill Cornell Medicine and Uppsala University, published today in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers show that this is a truth that seems to not hold true.
Well established theories on patterns in evolution might be wrong
27 september 2018
How do the large-scale patterns we observe in evolution arise? A new paper in the journal Evolution by researchers at Uppsala University and University of Leeds argues that many of them are a type of statistical artefact caused by our unavoidably recent viewpoint looking back into the past. As a result, it might not be possible to draw any conclusions about what caused the enormous changes in diversity we see through time.
Genetic risk: Should researchers let people know?
24 september 2018
Should researchers inform research participants, if they discover genetic disease risks in the participants? Yes, many would say, if the information is helpful to the participants. However, the value of complex genetic risk information for individuals is uncertain. In a PhD thesis from Uppsala University, Jennifer Viberg Johansson suggests that this uncertainty needs to be acknowledged by both geneticists and ethicists.
Bravery cells found in the hippocampus
07 september 2018
Why do some people comfortably walk between skyscrapers on a high-wire or raft the Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel whereas others freeze on the mere thought of climbing off escalators in a shopping mall? In a new study, scientists have found that a certain type of cells in the hippocampus play a key role.
How sleep loss may contribute to adverse weight gain
23 augusti 2018
In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University now demonstrate that one night of sleep loss has a tissue-specific impact on the regulation of gene expression and metabolism in humans. This may explain how shift work and chronic sleep loss impairs our metabolism and adversely affects our body composition. The study is published in the scientific journal Science Advances.
Catastrophic floods can trigger human resettlement away from rivers
22 augusti 2018
A new study by researchers at Uppsala University, published in the journal Science Advances, uses satellite nighttime light data to reveal how flood protection shapes the average distance of settlements from rivers.
Working memory might be more flexible than previously thought
16 augusti 2018
Breaking with the long-held idea that working memory has fixed limits, a new study by researchers at Uppsala University and New York University suggests that these limits adapt themselves to the task that one is performing. The results are presented in the scientific journal eLife.
There is not one kind of “good sperm” – it depends on other qualities in the male
16 augusti 2018
In a study published in Behavioral Ecology researchers from Uppsala University show that the same type of sperm is not always the best for all male birds. Depending on how attractive or dominant you are you might be more successful with longer or shorter sperm.
Magnetic antiparticles offer new horizons for information technologies
15 augusti 2018
Nanosized magnetic particles called skyrmions are considered highly promising candidates for new data storage and information technologies. Now, physicists have revealed new behaviour involving the antiparticle equivalent of skyrmions in a ferromagnetic material. The researchers demonstrated their findings using advanced computer simulations that can accurately model magnetic properties of nanometre-thick materials. The results are published i...
The end-Cretaceous extinction unleashed modern shark diversity
02 augusti 2018
A study that examined the shape of hundreds of fossilized shark teeth suggests that modern shark biodiversity was triggered by the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event, about 66 million years ago.
Magma storage and eruptive behaviour at Bali volcano
16 juli 2018
A new study by researchers at Uppsala University and the Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) published in the journal Scientific Reports sheds light on magma storage under the currently active Agung volcano on the island of Bali in Indonesia. Magma at Agung is stored at both mantle (~20 km) and shallow crustal (~5 km) depths, which may be a potential cause for sudden pressure-driven eruptions in this densely popula...
New research detects brain cell that improves learning
05 juli 2018
The workings of memory and learning have yet to be clarified, especially at the neural circuitry level. But researchers at Uppsala University have now, jointly with Brazilian collaborators, discovered a specific brain neuron with a central role in learning. This study, published in Neuron, may have a bearing on the potential for counteracting memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
Striking differences in brain morphology between wild and domestic rabbits
25 juni 2018
The most characteristic feature of domestic animals is their tame behaviour. An international team of scientists has now used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study how domestication has affected brain morphology in domestic rabbits. The results show that domestication has had a profound effect on brain morphology in particular regions of the brain involved in fear processing, the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex. The s...
UCDP: fatalities in organised violence still decreasing
18 juni 2018
New data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), Uppsala University shows that the number of fatalities in organised violence decreased for the third consecutive year. In 2017, almost 90,000 deaths were recorded by UCDP, a decrease of 32% compared to the latest peak in 2014. The most significant drop took place in Syria.
Endocrine-disrupting pesticides impair frog reproduction
14 juni 2018
In a new study, researchers from Sweden and Britain have investigated how the endocrine-disrupting substance linuron affects reproduction in the West African clawed frog, Xenopus tropicalis. The scientists found that linuron, which is used as a pesticicide, impaired the males’ fertility, and that tadpoles developed ovaries instead of testicles to a greater extent, which caused a female&dash;biased sex ratio. The results are published in th...
Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century
13 juni 2018
The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed. This view is held by archaeologists from Uppsala and York whose findings are presented in the European Journal of Archaeology.
Extent of immune response associated with degree of inflammation and joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis
12 juni 2018
To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies to the amino acid citrulline are commonly measured. A new study from Uppsala University shows that a broad mix of different antibodies in the joints is the dominant factor that can be associated with severe inflammation and joint damage. These findings, published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, may eventually lead to improved diagnostics.
First public forecasts from ViEWS, a political Violence Early-Warning System
08 juni 2018
The challenges of preventing, mitigating, and adapting to largescale political violence are daunting, particularly when violence escalates where it is not expected. With funding from the European Research Council, ViEWS: a political Violence Early-Warning System is developing a system that is rigorous, data-based, and publicly available to researchers and the international community. On 7 June, ViEWS released its first public forecasts for Afr...
Shamus Khan awarded the 2018 Hans L. Zetterberg Prize
05 juni 2018
Professor Shamus Khan at Columbia University is the second recipient of the Hans L. Zetterberg Prize in Sociology. The prize sum is SEK 100,000.
Press Registration Now Open for Uppsala Health Summit 2018 on Cancer Challenges
04 juni 2018
The challenges of future cancer care are in focus when Uppsala Health Summit 2018 opens next week. The annual summit will be attended by important international actors from health organisations, academia, industry, civil society and policy organisations.
Uppsala University and EATRIS announce public–private collaboration
04 juni 2018
Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital and the European Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (EATRIS) have formed a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to deliver a clinical and scientific expert network for the development and application of innovative imaging methods for inflammatory diseases. This international multi-site hub will produce several projects per year with enhanced speed and throughput.
Ticks on migratory birds found to carry newly discovered hemorrhagic fever virus
01 juni 2018
In a new study, researchers at Uppsala University and other institutions have identified genetic material from the recently identified Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus in the tick species Hyalomma rufipes. The discovery was made after thousands of ticks were collected from migratory birds captured in the Mediterranean basin. The results indicate that birds could contribute to spreading the virus to new geographical areas.
Virus genes from city pond rescue bacteria
28 maj 2018
A key question in evolutionary biology is how new functions arise. New research at Uppsala University shows that bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) can contribute to new functions by revealing hidden potential in their bacterial hosts.
Uppsala Health Summit Report: "Time to ask tough questions about cancer"
22 maj 2018
The number of people who fall ill with cancer is increasing globally. While medical advances open up unprecedented opportunities for slowing down and treating cancer, the gap between what is medically possible and what healthcare can provide is constantly growing.
A lipid “trap” inside cells reduces drug effectiveness
17 maj 2018
Cellular lipids are more efficient than proteins in trapping most drugs and hence reducing the free intracellular drug concentration. This is shown by researchers at Uppsala University in an article published in Molecular Pharmaceutic.
The CD93 protein suggests new strategy to inhibit cancer development
15 maj 2018
One strategy for cancer therapy is to inhibit the development of blood vessels in the tumour. Researchers at Uppsala University show in a new study how the protein CD93 interacts with the protein network that is required for tumour vessels to form properly. Blocking this interaction could be used as a means to hamper blood vessel development and slow down the cancer. The study is published by Journal of Clinical Investigations.
New study links strong pupillary light reflex in infancy to later autism diagnosis
07 maj 2018
A new study published in Nature Communications shows that infants who are later diagnosed with autism react more strongly to sudden changes in light. This finding provides support for the view that sensory processing plays an important role in the development of the disorder.
Researchers redefine the origin of the cellular powerhouse
25 april 2018
In a new study published by Nature, an international team of researchers led by Uppsala University in Sweden proposes a new evolutionary origin for mitochondria – also known as the ‘powerhouses of the cell’. Mitochondria are energy-converting organelles that have played key roles in the emergence of complex cellular life on Earth.
Antibiotic resistance can be caused by small amounts of antibiotics
23 april 2018
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a global and growing problem in health care. To be able to prevent further development of resistance developing, it is important to understand where and how antibiotic resistance in bacteria arises. New research from Uppsala University shows that low concentrations of antibiotics, too, can cause high antibiotic resistance to develop in bacteria.
Most primitive kangaroo ancestor rediscovered after 30 years in obscurity
11 april 2018
A handful of tiny teeth have led scientists to identify the most distant ancestor of today’s kangaroos. The fossils were found in the desert heart of Australia, and then hidden away, and almost forgotten in a museum collection for over three decades. The findings are published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Jane Mansbridge is the 24th laureate of the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science
06 april 2018
Jane Mansbridge, Charles F. Adams Professor in Political Leadership and Democratic Values at Harvard University, is awarded the 2018 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. Professor Mansbridge wins the prize for “with sharpness, deep involvement and feminist theory having shaped our understanding of democracy in its direct and representative forms.”
Study reveals how ‘microbial axolotl’ repairs itself
05 april 2018
In a new study, published in Current Biology this week, a research team from Uppsala University in Sweden reports new insights into the regenerative capabilities of Stentor, a single celled model organism for regeneration biology. The study used novel gene expression methods that allowed the researchers to identify over one thousand genes that are involved in the regeneration process of individual stentor cells.
Unanticipated influences between neighbouring cells
05 april 2018
One way of studying the function of a gene is to examine the effect on cells when the gene is blocked. In a new study in Nature Communications researchers from Uppsala University show that it is important that the blocking is achieved in all cells, a results that should be considered in the development of gene therapy for diseases.
The relevance of GABA for diabetes is highlighted in two new studies published in EBioMedicine.
05 april 2018
Dynamic interactions between the nervous system, hormones and the immune system are normally on-going but in diabetes the balance is disturbed. The two studies published in EBioMedicine by an international research team from Uppsala University highlight the importance of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.