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  1. Genome from Southern Africa Sheds Light on Human OriginsWhat can DNA from the skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tell us about ourselves as humans? A great deal when his DNA profile is one of the earliest diverged – oldest in genetic terms – found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.The man’s mitochondrial DNA was sequenced to provide clues to early modern human prehistory and evolution. Mitochondrial DNA provided the first evidence that we all come from Africa, and helps us map a figurative genetic tree, all branches deriving from a common “Mitochondrial Eve.”Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/genome-southern-africa-sheds-light-human-origins

    Genome from Southern Africa Sheds Light on Human Origins

    What can DNA from the skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tell us about ourselves as humans? A great deal when his DNA profile is one of the earliest diverged – oldest in genetic terms – found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

    The man’s mitochondrial DNA was sequenced to provide clues to early modern human prehistory and evolution. Mitochondrial DNA provided the first evidence that we all come from Africa, and helps us map a figurative genetic tree, all branches deriving from a common “Mitochondrial Eve.”

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/genome-southern-africa-sheds-light-human-origins

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  3. Stone Age Tools Weren’t African InventionA new discovery of thousands of Stone Age tools has provided a major insight into human innovation 325,000 years ago and how early technological developments spread across the world, according to research published in the journal Science.Researchers from Royal Holloway, Univ. of London, together with an international team from across the U.S. and Europe, have found evidence which challenges the belief that a type of technology known as Levallois – where the flakes and blades of stones were used to make useful products such as hunting weapons – was invented in Africa and then spread to other continents as the human population expanded.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/stone-age-tools-werent-african-invention

    Stone Age Tools Weren’t African Invention

    A new discovery of thousands of Stone Age tools has provided a major insight into human innovation 325,000 years ago and how early technological developments spread across the world, according to research published in the journal Science.

    Researchers from Royal Holloway, Univ. of London, together with an international team from across the U.S. and Europe, have found evidence which challenges the belief that a type of technology known as Levallois – where the flakes and blades of stones were used to make useful products such as hunting weapons – was invented in Africa and then spread to other continents as the human population expanded.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/stone-age-tools-werent-african-invention

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  5. Unmown Areas Benefit Nature, HumansCreating unmown areas in an urban park can significantly increase flowers and pollinating insects while also leading to a greater enjoyment of the space by people, according to a Univ. of Sussex study.Researchers at the university’s Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) monitored areas of one of Brighton & Hove City Council’s managed parks to see what would happen if the grass was left uncut for different periods of time.They found that, during the course of one year, the blocks of unmown land at Saltdean Oval saw a three-fold increase in the density of flowers, while the numbers of flower-visiting insects such as bees, butterflies and moths was up to five times higher in the least-mown areas compared with the areas mown regularly as normal, every two weeks.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/unmown-areas-benefit-nature-humans

    Unmown Areas Benefit Nature, Humans

    Creating unmown areas in an urban park can significantly increase flowers and pollinating insects while also leading to a greater enjoyment of the space by people, according to a Univ. of Sussex study.

    Researchers at the university’s Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) monitored areas of one of Brighton & Hove City Council’s managed parks to see what would happen if the grass was left uncut for different periods of time.

    They found that, during the course of one year, the blocks of unmown land at Saltdean Oval saw a three-fold increase in the density of flowers, while the numbers of flower-visiting insects such as bees, butterflies and moths was up to five times higher in the least-mown areas compared with the areas mown regularly as normal, every two weeks.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/unmown-areas-benefit-nature-humans

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  7. Scientist of the Week: Kristian CarlsonEvery Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Kristian Carlson from Wits Univ. He and a team studying the Taung Child — South Africa’s premier hominin — have cast doubt on the idea that this early hominin shows infant brain development in the prefrontal region similar to that of modern humans.The original article can be found here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/early-humans-skull-not-humanHe speaks about his work here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/scientist-week-kristian-carlsonHave a question for Kristian Carlson? Let us know and we’ll pass it on!

    Scientist of the Week: Kristian Carlson

    Every Thursday, Laboratory Equipment features a Scientist of the Week, chosen from the science industry’s latest headlines. This week’s scientist is Kristian Carlson from Wits Univ. He and a team studying the Taung Child — South Africa’s premier hominin — have cast doubt on the idea that this early hominin shows infant brain development in the prefrontal region similar to that of modern humans.

    The original article can be found here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/early-humans-skull-not-human

    He speaks about his work here: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/scientist-week-kristian-carlson

    Have a question for Kristian Carlson? Let us know and we’ll pass it on!

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  9. Europeans Descended from Three GroupsNew studies of ancient DNA are shifting scientists’ ideas of how groups of people migrated across the globe and interacted with one another thousands of years ago. By comparing nine ancient genomes to those of modern humans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have shown that previously unrecognized groups contributed to the genetic mix now present in most modern-day Europeans.“There are at least three major, highly differentiated populations that have contributed substantial amounts of ancestry to almost everybody that has European ancestry today,” says David Reich, an HHMI investigator at Harvard Medical School. Those include hunter-gatherers from Western Europe, the early farmers who brought agriculture to Europe from the Near East and a newly identified group of ancient north Eurasians who arrived in Europe sometime after the introduction of agriculture. That means there were major movements of people into Europe later than previously thought. The team, led by Reich and Johannes Krause at the Univ. of Tübingen in Germany, reported their findings in today’s issue of the journal Nature.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/europeans-descended-three-groups

    Europeans Descended from Three Groups

    New studies of ancient DNA are shifting scientists’ ideas of how groups of people migrated across the globe and interacted with one another thousands of years ago. By comparing nine ancient genomes to those of modern humans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have shown that previously unrecognized groups contributed to the genetic mix now present in most modern-day Europeans.

    “There are at least three major, highly differentiated populations that have contributed substantial amounts of ancestry to almost everybody that has European ancestry today,” says David Reich, an HHMI investigator at Harvard Medical School. Those include hunter-gatherers from Western Europe, the early farmers who brought agriculture to Europe from the Near East and a newly identified group of ancient north Eurasians who arrived in Europe sometime after the introduction of agriculture. That means there were major movements of people into Europe later than previously thought. The team, led by Reich and Johannes Krause at the Univ. of Tübingen in Germany, reported their findings in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/europeans-descended-three-groups

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  11. We Evolved Unique Faces for a PurposeThe amazing variety of human faces – far greater than that of most other animals – is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily recognizable, according to a new study by UC Berkeley scientists.Our highly visual social interactions are almost certainly the driver of this evolutionary trend, said behavioral ecologist Michael Sheehan, a postdoctoral fellow in UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Many animals use smell or vocalization to identify individuals, making distinctive facial features unimportant, especially for animals that roam after dark, he said. But humans are different.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/we-evolved-unique-faces-purpose

    We Evolved Unique Faces for a Purpose

    The amazing variety of human faces – far greater than that of most other animals – is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily recognizable, according to a new study by UC Berkeley scientists.

    Our highly visual social interactions are almost certainly the driver of this evolutionary trend, said behavioral ecologist Michael Sheehan, a postdoctoral fellow in UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Many animals use smell or vocalization to identify individuals, making distinctive facial features unimportant, especially for animals that roam after dark, he said. But humans are different.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/we-evolved-unique-faces-purpose

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  13. Scientists Can Reset Human Stem CellsScientists have successfully reset human pluripotent stem cells to the earliest developmental state – equivalent to cells found in an embryo before it implants in the womb (seven to nine days old). These pristine stem cells may mark the true starting point for human development but have been impossible to replicate in the lab until now.The discovery, published in Cell, will lead to a better understanding of human development and could in future allow the production of safe and more reproducible starting materials for a wide range of applications including cell therapies.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/scientists-can-reset-human-stem-cells

    Scientists Can Reset Human Stem Cells

    Scientists have successfully reset human pluripotent stem cells to the earliest developmental state – equivalent to cells found in an embryo before it implants in the womb (seven to nine days old). These pristine stem cells may mark the true starting point for human development but have been impossible to replicate in the lab until now.

    The discovery, published in Cell, will lead to a better understanding of human development and could in future allow the production of safe and more reproducible starting materials for a wide range of applications including cell therapies.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/scientists-can-reset-human-stem-cells

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  15. Non-dominant Hand Key to Evolution of ThumbIn the largest experiment ever undertaken into the manipulative pressures experienced by the hand during stone tool production, biological anthropologists at the Univ. of Kent analyzed the manipulative forces and frequency of use experienced by the thumb and fingers on the non-dominant hand during a series of stone tool production sequences that replicated early tool forms.It is well known that one of the main distinctive features between humans and our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes, is the morphology and manipulative capabilities of their hands. Key to this is the substantially larger, stronger and more robust thumb displayed by humans with such a thumb allowing humans to forcefully and yet dexterously manipulate objects within the hand, a trait first thought to have evolved alongside the earliest stone tool use between 2.6 – 1.4 million years ago.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/non-dominant-hand-key-evolution-thumb

    Non-dominant Hand Key to Evolution of Thumb

    In the largest experiment ever undertaken into the manipulative pressures experienced by the hand during stone tool production, biological anthropologists at the Univ. of Kent analyzed the manipulative forces and frequency of use experienced by the thumb and fingers on the non-dominant hand during a series of stone tool production sequences that replicated early tool forms.

    It is well known that one of the main distinctive features between humans and our closest evolutionary cousins, the great apes, is the morphology and manipulative capabilities of their hands. Key to this is the substantially larger, stronger and more robust thumb displayed by humans with such a thumb allowing humans to forcefully and yet dexterously manipulate objects within the hand, a trait first thought to have evolved alongside the earliest stone tool use between 2.6 – 1.4 million years ago.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/09/non-dominant-hand-key-evolution-thumb

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  17. Humans were Culturally Diverse Prior to Africa ExodusResearchers have carried out the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago found in the region between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia. They have discovered there are marked differences in the way stone tools were made, reflecting a diversity of cultural traditions. The study has also identified at least four distinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other with their own different cultural characteristics.The research paper also suggests that early populations took advantage of rivers and lakes that crisscrossed the Saharan desert. A climate model coupled with data about these ancient water courses was matched with the new findings on stone tools to reveal that populations connected by rivers had similarities in their cultures. This could be the earliest evidence of different populations “budding” across the Sahara, using the rivers to disperse and meet people from other populations, says the paper published in the journal, Quaternary Science Reviews.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/humans-were-culturally-diverse-prior-africa-exodus

    Humans were Culturally Diverse Prior to Africa Exodus

    Researchers have carried out the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago found in the region between sub-Saharan Africa and Eurasia. They have discovered there are marked differences in the way stone tools were made, reflecting a diversity of cultural traditions. The study has also identified at least four distinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other with their own different cultural characteristics.

    The research paper also suggests that early populations took advantage of rivers and lakes that crisscrossed the Saharan desert. A climate model coupled with data about these ancient water courses was matched with the new findings on stone tools to reveal that populations connected by rivers had similarities in their cultures. This could be the earliest evidence of different populations “budding” across the Sahara, using the rivers to disperse and meet people from other populations, says the paper published in the journal, Quaternary Science Reviews.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/humans-were-culturally-diverse-prior-africa-exodus

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  19. Researchers ID ‘Switchboard’ Important in Attention, SleepResearchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere, using a mouse model, have recorded the activity of individual nerve cells in a small part of the brain that works as a “switchboard,” directing signals coming from the outside world or internal memories. Because human brain disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder typically show disturbances in that switchboard, the investigators say the work suggests new strategies in understanding and treating them.In a study published in the journal Cell, a team led by Michael Halassa, assistant professor of psychiatry, neuroscience and physiology, and a member of the NYU Neuroscience Institute, showed how neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) — the so-called switchboard — direct sensory signals such as vision from the outside world, and internal information such as memories, to their appropriate destinations.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/researchers-id-%E2%80%98switchboard%E2%80%99-important-attention-sleep

    Researchers ID ‘Switchboard’ Important in Attention, Sleep

    Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere, using a mouse model, have recorded the activity of individual nerve cells in a small part of the brain that works as a “switchboard,” directing signals coming from the outside world or internal memories. Because human brain disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder typically show disturbances in that switchboard, the investigators say the work suggests new strategies in understanding and treating them.

    In a study published in the journal Cell, a team led by Michael Halassa, assistant professor of psychiatry, neuroscience and physiology, and a member of the NYU Neuroscience Institute, showed how neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) — the so-called switchboard — direct sensory signals such as vision from the outside world, and internal information such as memories, to their appropriate destinations.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/08/researchers-id-%E2%80%98switchboard%E2%80%99-important-attention-sleep

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  21. Humans, Monkeys of One Mind When It Comes to Changing It Covert changes of mind can be discovered by tracking neural activity when subjects make decisions, researchers from New York Univ. and Stanford Univ. have found. Their results, which appear in the journal Current Biology, offer new insights into how we make decisions and point to innovative ways to study this process in the future.“The methods used in this study allowed us to see the idiosyncratic nature of decision making that was inaccessible before,” explains Roozbeh Kiani, an assistant professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science and the study’s lead author.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/humans-monkeys-one-mind-when-it-comes-changing-it

    Humans, Monkeys of One Mind When It Comes to Changing It

    Covert changes of mind can be discovered by tracking neural activity when subjects make decisions, researchers from New York Univ. and Stanford Univ. have found. Their results, which appear in the journal Current Biology, offer new insights into how we make decisions and point to innovative ways to study this process in the future.

    “The methods used in this study allowed us to see the idiosyncratic nature of decision making that was inaccessible before,” explains Roozbeh Kiani, an assistant professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science and the study’s lead author.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/humans-monkeys-one-mind-when-it-comes-changing-it

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  23. Seafarers Brought Neolithic Culture, Genes to EuropeGenetic markers in modern populations indicate the Neolithic migrants who brought farming to Europe traveled from the Levant into Anatolia and then island hopped to Greece via Crete and then to Sicily and north into Southern Europe.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/seafarers-brought-neolithic-culture-genes-europe

    Seafarers Brought Neolithic Culture, Genes to Europe

    Genetic markers in modern populations indicate the Neolithic migrants who brought farming to Europe traveled from the Levant into Anatolia and then island hopped to Greece via Crete and then to Sicily and north into Southern Europe.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/seafarers-brought-neolithic-culture-genes-europe

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  25. Faces May Have Evolved Specifically to Handle PunchesWhat contributed to the evolution of faces in the ape-like ancestors of humans? The prehistoric version of a bar fight — over women, resources and other slug-worthy disagreements, new research from the Univ. of Utah, published today in the journal Biological Reviews, suggests.Univ. of Utah biologist David Carrier and Michael Morgan, a Univ. of Utah physician, contend that human faces — especially those of our australopith ancestors — evolved to minimize injury from punches to the face during fights between males.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/faces-may-have-evolved-specifically-handle-punches

    Faces May Have Evolved Specifically to Handle Punches

    What contributed to the evolution of faces in the ape-like ancestors of humans? The prehistoric version of a bar fight — over women, resources and other slug-worthy disagreements, new research from the Univ. of Utah, published today in the journal Biological Reviews, suggests.

    Univ. of Utah biologist David Carrier and Michael Morgan, a Univ. of Utah physician, contend that human faces — especially those of our australopith ancestors — evolved to minimize injury from punches to the face during fights between males.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/faces-may-have-evolved-specifically-handle-punches

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  27. Researchers Sequence DNA of First Near Eastern FarmersThe mitochondrial DNA of the first Near Eastern farmers has been sequenced for the first time. In the research, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, experts analyzed samples from three sites located in the birthplace of Neolithic agricultural practices: the Middle Euphrates basin and the oasis of Damascus, located in today’s Syria. The samples date from about 8,000 BC.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/researcher-sequence-dna-first-near-eastern-farmers

    Researchers Sequence DNA of First Near Eastern Farmers

    The mitochondrial DNA of the first Near Eastern farmers has been sequenced for the first time. In the research, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, experts analyzed samples from three sites located in the birthplace of Neolithic agricultural practices: the Middle Euphrates basin and the oasis of Damascus, located in today’s Syria. The samples date from about 8,000 BC.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/researcher-sequence-dna-first-near-eastern-farmers

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  29. Mice Can Mimic Human Breast Cancer at Gene LevelScientists have routinely used mice to replicate aspects of human breast cancer in an effort to find a cure to the most common type of cancer among women. But how effective are these preclinical models in actually mimicking the disease and giving scientists the ability to develop real comparisons?Eran Andrechek, a physiology professor in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State Univ., has discovered that many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/mice-can-mimic-human-breast-cancer-gene-level

    Mice Can Mimic Human Breast Cancer at Gene Level

    Scientists have routinely used mice to replicate aspects of human breast cancer in an effort to find a cure to the most common type of cancer among women. But how effective are these preclinical models in actually mimicking the disease and giving scientists the ability to develop real comparisons?

    Eran Andrechek, a physiology professor in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State Univ., has discovered that many of the various models used in breast cancer research can replicate several characteristics of the human disease, especially at the gene level.

    Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/mice-can-mimic-human-breast-cancer-gene-level

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