Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly infectious viral disease affecting hoofed animals like cattle, deer, sheep and goats. The disease is often fatal, mostly affecting domesticated animals and causing huge losses to their owners. The contagious nature of the virus quickly destroys entire herds. The culprit behind the disease, the Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV) or picornavirus, tweaks the cells of the infected animals and forces it to make copies of the virus.
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Have you ever wondered what billions of years of evolution has left us with? Incredible answers to some of the toughest questions, say scientists. In fact, it has given rise to a new field called biomimicry that aims to provide some of the incredible solutions to design problems inspired by nature. Think of the aeroplanes, super fast bullet trains, artificial glues for bones, climate controlled buildings -- all these are a result of us looking close into nature’s way of dealing with problems and drawing an inspiration from them. But there are more such examples that are gamechangers. Read more to know how biomimicry is all set to influence our lives more than ever.
The Research Matters team caught up with Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, when he was in Bengaluru in June, 2017. Having won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011 for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae, our team wanted to know his views about the recent discovery of gravitational waves by LIGO and the Virgo Observatory. Read on to know more about his work on type 1A supernovae and share his excitement for the future of cosmology, after the discovery of gravitational waves.
Asteroids bring an image of shooting stars streaking across the sky. But did you know, they were the reason behind one of the biggest mass extinction events in the history of life? Often harmless, asteroids have been striking the earth for millions of years and there are still millions out there, wandering in outer space. On the occasion of International Asteroid Day, let us learn about these incredible space rocks and why it is important to track and study them.
Foodborne diseases, caused by Salmonella, are responsible for 1 in 10 illnesses globally. Treating Salmonella infections using traditional antibiotics is turning to be a challenge because of the development of drug resistant strains. Now, a new study at IISc has developed nanotechnology based nanocarries using silica that can deliver very small dosage of antibiotics to the affected cells, thus hitting the right target. Using laboratory experiments, the researchers found that these nanocarries performed much better than conventional antibiotics in all stages of the infection. The design of these nanocarries are generic, and can be used for delivering different antibiotics, they claim.
Gelatin, commonly used in jellys and ice creams, is a flavorless food additive derived from collagen, a protein, obtained from various animal body parts. Now, scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, may have found another novel application of gelatin -- as nanoparticles that could help in drug release. Through a process called protein desolvation, they have generated homogeneous nanoparticles of gelatin whose surface could undergo ‘erosion’ in the body due to other enzymes, thus releasing an entrapped drug or gene in the process.
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is regarded as the premier research institution in the country and a place where most of the cutting edge research happens. But have you wondered how the institution got to where it is today? Dr. Surja Datta, a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes Business School, tries to answer this question through the lens of history.
Our lifestyles influence our behaviour in a big way -- or so we think. But did you know our activities have a major influence on other creatures living around us? In an interesting study, scientists have uncovered how urbanization has influenced the courtship behaviour among south Indian rock agamas and their escape strategies. The study found that these agamas use change of colour of their body as communication signal during courtship and aggression and human activities and urbanization have a great influence in the everyday lives of these lizards.
Figs and wasps have a give and take relationship where figs need wasps to pollinate while wasps lay their eggs inside the fig fruits. However, not all fig-wasp relationships are this cordial. There are a set of parasitic wasps that cause more harm to the fig plant than good! A new study has uncovered some of the fascinating abilities of such wasps, especially their ability to sense smell. Ovipositors, specialized organs developed to lay eggs in wasps, have been found to act as a ‘nose’ in sniffing out the best position to lay their eggs, say the researchers. These organs can also detect many chemicals, potentially inspiring new kind of sensors, they claim.
Yoga is considered to be India’s gift of goodness and health to the world. With millions of people around the world having benefitted by regular practice, yoga indeed has changed several lives for the good. On this International Day of Yoga, here is all you need to know about the history, the scientific basis for Yoga and some of the benefits realised by those who practice Yoga regularly.