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News from Natural Sciences

Nuclear mRNAs carry an ‘A tail’ at their end. Under normal conditions (left panel) the protein Nab2 binds to the A tail and this protects the RNA against decay, which allows RNA to be exported to the cytoplasm with the help of Mex67. Under export block conditions (right panel), Nab2 binds to the A-tailed RNAs accumulating in the nucleus and therefore gets in short supply for protecting newly made RNA, which instead gets degraded already in the cell nucleus by enzymes attacking it from the A tail end. Figure: Manfred Schmid.

2018.08.29 | Public / media

New method uncovers the importance of keeping a good nuclear RNA hygiene

How cells translate their genetic information into functional RNA and protein is a central question in biology. Researchers from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University have invented a new technology to study regulatory principles of gene expression.

2018.08.24 | Public / media

Flirting flies: more than just winging it

Studies of the song of the fruit flies reveal new findings of how the neurons in the brain function. These results can be used to uncover new knowledge on how brains in general function which in the longer term may have medical significance.

Photo: Colourbox

2018.08.28 | Public / media, Staff

Three projects focussing on clean water

What impact does the discharge of nutrients have on the pH balance in the sea and on eutrophication? Can more aquatic plants reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in watercourses and provide better water quality? These are just two of the questions Aarhus University will now help to answer with grants from the Velux Foundation totalling DKK 3.9 million.

The pictures show cancer cells that have been exposed to BE-43547 for six hours earlier and have received a green-fluorescent reagent that accumulates and changes the colour to red/yellow in the mitochondria with intact membrane tension. The difference between the two images is that the cells on the left had enough oxygen, while the cells to the right were deprived of oxygen. The lack of red/yellow colour shows that the mitochondrial membranes have been destroyed. The cancer cells are dead. Photo: Thomas B. Poulsen
Each of the two electron-microscope images shows a section of a cancer cell that has been deprived of oxygen for four hours, and a close-up of a mitochondrion in the relevant cell. The cell on the left has been treated with BE-43547, whereas the cell on the right has been treated with an inactive variant of the substance. The difference is clear: the Mitochondrial folded inner membranes (cristae) are intact in the cell to the right, while they have been destroyed in the suicidal cell to the left. Photo: Thomas B. Poulsen

2018.08.22 | Public / media

Natural substance makes cancer cells commit suicide

Researchers at Aarhus University have discovered that a natural substance can kill aggressive cancer cells in a new and effective way. The substance damages the power plants in cancer cells, the mitochondria, and initiates a suicidal process that seems to differ from known forms of programmed cell death, and which depends on the oxygen levels in…

Porpoises are the only whale species that breed in Danish waters. Researchers from Aarhus University have discovered that porpoises use their clicking sounds to find food and to communicate. Photo: Peter Verhoog.
A porpoise tagged with a sound recorder on its back. Photo: Department of Bioscience - Marine Mammal Research, AU.

2018.08.14 | Public / media

Porpoises communicate in high-frequency Morse code to avoid killer whales

Denmark's only whale, the harbour porpoise, makes use of the same high-frequency Morse-code-like clicking they use to find food to communicate with other porpoises, according to new research from Aarhus University. These new findings provide entirely new insight into the social life of the porpoise.

Professor Claudio Orlandi has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant worth €1.5M. Photo: Peter F. Gammelby, Aarhus University

2018.08.10 | Public / media, Grant, Staff

ERC Starting Grant for research in next level cryptographic protocols

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Associate Professor Claudio Orlandi from the Department of Computer Science at Aarhus University a starting grant worth €1.5M for research into private and efficient secure multiparty computation (MPC).

The last Tasmanian tiger (Thylacine) died in 930. By Unknown photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
The maps show the diversity of Australian big herbivorous marsupials (a mammalian infraclass) as is today, and as it would be today, had most of the species not been extinct. The phylogenetic tree to the right shows the evolutionary relationships among a sample of extant and extinct species, while the circles illustrate the size of each species as well as their status: EP = Extinct in prehistory, CR = Critically Endangered, NT = Near Threatened, LC = Least Concern. Graphics: Soeren Faurby, University of Gothenburg.
The blue colour shows the range of brown bear today. The red colour shows, where you would also find brown bears today, had they not been driven away by human activity. Graphics: Soeren Faurby, University of Gothenburg.

2018.08.07 | Public / media

For the first time, scientists are putting extinct mammals on the map

Researchers from Aarhus University and University of Gothenburg have produced the most comprehensive family tree and atlas of mammals to date, connecting all living and recently extinct mammal species – nearly 6,000 in total – and overturning many previous ideas about global patterns of biodiversity.