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03. 05. 2024

Julius Lukeš of the Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre, CAS, was elected among international members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of the United States. The NAS is a private nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. This year´s elected 120 members and 24 international members bring the total number of active members to 2,617 and the total number of international members to 537.

15. 05. 2024

Dr Petr Cígler and his collaborators are working on refining molecular systems for transporting ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules into cells. The question of how to effectively deliver RNA to a designated place in the body in order to silence a malfunctioning gene is one of the greatest challenges of the rapidly developing field of gene medicine. Now, researchers from IOCB Prague have taken yet another significant step towards achieving this goal. They have described in detail the preparation of a novel composite vector nanomaterial for transporting RNA, in which they focused mainly on ensuring its non-toxicity to cells. The reason is that the harmfulness of hitherto known nucleic acid vectors presents a serious obstacle to the expansion of gene therapy. A new article on the topic has now been published in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials.

14. 05. 2024

The highest energy cosmic ray particles are likely to penetrate much deeper into the atmosphere than previously thought. The incoming particles are therefore likely to be much heavier. New and fundamental insights emerge from a method that generalises the approach to predicting models of cosmic particle collisions with the Earth's atmosphere. The accuracy of Jakub Vícha's method has been confirmed by hundreds of international scientists at the Pierre Auger Observatory, as shown in a study published these days in Physical Review D.

15. 04. 2024

A group of renowned scientists, nominated by academies through the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism, have advised Commissioners on the use of AI in science. Patrícia Martinková from the Institute of Computer Science of the Czech Academy of Sciences was a member of the expert team.

03. 04. 2024

A new biosafety laboratory BSL3 was opened today at the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec (BIOCEV), enabling safe work with highly infectious viruses and bacteria. This laboratory was built with funding from the EXCELES project of the National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology. The state-of-the-art facility costing nearly 65 million CZK will enable scientists to study, for example, hepatitis B, Rift Valley fever, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as SARS-CoV-2. Studying the properties and life cycles of these and other viruses and studying their interaction with vectors will enable the identification of diagnostic and therapeutic targets.

25. 03. 2024

Some molecules respond to external light pulses by changing their structure and holding certain states that can be switched from one to another. These are commonly referred to as photoswitches and usually have two possible states. Recently, however, scientists from IOCB Prague have developed a molecule that takes the possibilities of photoswitches a step further. The new molecule can be switched not between two, but between three distinct states. This gives it the ability to hold much more complex information in its molecular structure than has been possible so far. A paper on the topic, co-authored by PhD student Jakub Copko and Dr Tomáš Slanina, has now been published in the journal Chemical Communications.

27. 03. 2024

The New Guinea region is known for being one of the most species-rich places in the world. Located north of Australia and south-east of Asia, New Guinea’s topographical complexity and geographic isolation has given rise to a huge diversity of life, much of it endemic. The island is home to at least 40 small mammal species found nowhere else on earth. However, small mammals in this region are not extensively monitored and we know little about their ranges, population statuses and threats.

06. 03. 2024

Scientists found evidence that termites which lived millions of years ago engaged in the same mating behaviors described in their living relatives today. Approximately 40 million years ago two termites were in the middle of courtship behavior when they got entrapped by tree resin and preserved in fossilized amber. This so far oldest and only known fossil of an Electrotermes affinis termite pair gave researchers from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) the unique chance to analyze the mating behavior of the extinct insects. Their findings were now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

06. 03. 2024

The oldest currently known human occupation of Europe lies near the town of Korolevo in western Ukraine. New findings by an international team led by Roman Garba from the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Institute of Archaeology of the CAS, Prague, have confirmed that the lowermost layer with the stone tools at Korolevo dates to 1.4 million years ago. Until now, the earliest inhabited location was thought to be Atapuerca in Spain, some 200,000 to 300,000 years later. The results, published today in Nature, also show that early hominins took advantage of warm interglacial periods to colonise Europe from the east or southeast. A recent advance in mathematical modelling combined with applied nuclear physics has enabled the precise dating of the Korolevo’s earliest occupation. The four-year long research project involved scientists from five countries and more than ten research institutions from around the world.

04. 03. 2024

All animals undergo embryogenesis, the development of the embryo. Until recently, it was thought that the main goal of early embryogenesis was mainly to initiate developmental processes correctly. But an international team of scientists has found that in parasitic bitterling fish, the embryos already develop a set of important adaptations during this early stage that give them major survival advantages.

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