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Tuesday, January 26, 2021


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.

Rhesus monkeys, left to right, Canto, 27, and on a restricted diet, and Owen, 29, and a control subject on an unrestricted diet, are pictured at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 28, 2009. The two are among the oldest surviving subjects in a pioneering long-term study of the links between diet and aging in Rhesus macaque monkeys, which have an average life span of about 27 years in captivity. Lead researcher Richard Weindruch, a professor of medicine in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and co-author Ricki Colman, associate scientist at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, report new findings in the journal Science that a nutritious, but reduced-calorie, diet blunts aging and delays the onset of such aged-related disorders as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and brain atrophy.

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.

The open water of still-unfrozen Lake Mendota laps against the icy shoreline of the Temin Lakeshore Path at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during another mild winter day on Jan. 6, 2016. The record for the latest seasonal freeze and ice cover on Lake Mendota is Jan. 30, 1932. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

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.

The Chemistry Building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is pictured on June 10, 2010. The view, which includes Lake Mendota in the background, is from the roof of the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science Building.

A new "luckier" way to build plastics

Professor Ive Hermans has a different philosophy when it comes to running a research group and laboratory full of brilliant students. Most graduate advisers simply tell their students what to do and expect them to follow their directions to a T.

By genetic engineering lactic acid bacteria, James Steele turns a negative into a positive in food science industries. 

Researcher rethinks lactic acid bacteria

Fermented products can range anywhere from beer to sourdough bread to soy sauce to ethanol fuels. In the microbial realm of fermentation, the process is fundamentally the same: Microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast metabolize sugars into alcohol. But often, the process can be plagued by a major drawback.

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