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Monday, February 26, 2024


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UW botanist studies extraterrestrial life

How did we get here? This is one of the most deep-seated questions in the human race. It is also David Baum’s, exobiologist in the department of botany at UW Madison, research. Life must have started at some moment when the “soupy mixture” of chemicals and minerals stopped being random and became alive. But what does it mean to be alive?

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UW progresses in Alexander disease research

Previous research explained the trademark protein accumulation by assuming an Alexander disease patient had a reduced ability to degrade and clear the protein. However, a recent study discovered the rate of GFAP protein degradation is actually increased in the pathology of the disease.

Newly found microfossils suggest life existed in the hostile, low-oxygen early earth conditions.

Newly discovered fossils are oldest evidence of life

Four billion years ago, Earth was a hostile place with a thin atmosphere made mainly of carbon dioxide, volcanoes everywhere and oxygen levels too low to support air-breathing organisms. Nonetheless, a recent discovery of 4.28—3.75 billion-year-old microfossils suggests life existed under such conditions.

Listeria, stained green in this image, invades a monkey's uterus during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Listeria poses risks in early pregnancy

Researchers at the UW-Madison recently found that listeriosis, the infection caused by the foodborne bacteria called Listeria, damages the placenta and results in miscarriages during the early stages of pregnancy in non-human primates.


Dispelling the concerns, misconceptions of GMOs

Although genetically engineered foods made their first appearance on grocery store shelves back in 1994, they still remain a topic of contention in today’s society. While some believe GE foods are the key to feeding Earth’s growing population, others see them as a threat to human and environmental health. These attitudes are shaped by a myriad of different stakeholders. The consensus of a National Academy of Sciences committee, as noted in their recent report on GE crops, is that no GE food created to date poses a threat to environmental or human health.

Badgerloop revealed their pod last December at a public event. The 15-foot, 2,100-pound pod did not take an attempt at the test track, but the team received an innovation award for their years' long work.

Badgerloop wins innovation award

Badgerloop, a team of mostly UW-Madison undergraduate engineering students, won an innovation award at last weekend’s SpaceX Hyperloop competition in California. Badgerloop began after SpaceX released a student Hyperloop competition with hopes to accelerate the implementation of Elon Musk’s idea of futuristic high-speed transportation.


UW primate research links caloric intake and aging

“Data from both study locations suggest that the [calorie restriction] paradigm is effective in delaying the effects of aging in nonhuman primates but that the age of onset is an important factor in determining the extent to which beneficial effects of [calorie restriction] might be induced,” Ricki Colman, a senior scientist of the WNPRC, commented on the data from the collaborative effort.


DNR revises statement on climate change, concerns UW scientists

Late last December, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources revised a statement on their website about climate change, rescinding a portion stating human activity could be a cause. In response, a group of UW-Madison scientists issued a public letter detailing the DNR’s factual inaccuracies in the revised statement and irresponsibility in drastically changing the wording.

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