University of Maine: Researchers assess whether open educational resources improved biology instruction

University of Maine: Researchers assess whether open educational resources improved biology instruction. “The National Science Foundation awarded a nearly $2 million collaborative research grant for principal investigators from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Cornell University and UMaine to assess the effectiveness of open educational resources in teaching core biology concepts, facilitating student-centered learning and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion. Funding for the five-year project derived from the NSF’s Vision and Change Program.”

The Global Virome in One Network (VIRION): an atlas of vertebrate-virus associations (bioRxiv)

bioRxiv: The Global Virome in One Network (VIRION): an atlas of vertebrate-virus associations. “Data cataloguing viral diversity on Earth have been fragmented across sources, disciplines, formats, and various degrees of open collation, posing challenges for research on macroecology, evolution, and public health. Here, we solve this problem by establishing a dynamically-maintained database of vertebrate-virus associations, called The Global Virome in One Network (VIRION). The VIRION database has been assembled through both reconciliation of static datasets and integration of dynamically-updated databases.”

The Guardian: AI firm DeepMind puts database of the building blocks of life online

The Guardian: AI firm DeepMind puts database of the building blocks of life online. “Last year the artificial intelligence group DeepMind cracked a mystery that has flummoxed scientists for decades: stripping bare the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. Now, having amassed a database of nearly all human protein structures, the company is making the resource available online free for researchers to use.”

Mississippi State University: MSU faculty member devises automated system to aid museums in collecting genetic data

Mississippi State University: MSU faculty member devises automated system to aid museums in collecting genetic data. “Ryan A. Folk, an assistant professor of biological sciences and herbarium curator at MSU, is using a $432,781 three-year National Science Foundation grant to automate the data collection process by using a combination of unique object identifiers, QR codes and citizen scientists, or non-biologists recruited to help with data acquisition.”

Inverse: Is Bigger Always Better? Scientists Explain The Evolution Of Sperm Size

Inverse: Is Bigger Always Better? Scientists Explain The Evolution Of Sperm Size. “The researchers searched the scientific literature for data on sperm size, ultimately creating a database of sperm records from more than 3,000 species from 21 different animal groups known as ‘phyla.’ This is the largest known database on sperm length and fertilization methods, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. The study focuses on three classes of animals, depending on where and how their sperm fertilizes eggs during reproduction.”

ScienceDaily: Researchers create map of potential undiscovered life

ScienceDaily: Researchers create map of potential undiscovered life. “According to conservative scientific estimates, only some 10 to 20 percent of species on earth have been formally described. In an effort to help find some of these missing species, [Professor Mario] Moura and [Professor Walter] Jetz compiled exhaustive data that included the location, geographical range, historical discovery dates, and other environmental and biological characteristics of about 32,000 known terrestrial vertebrates. Their analysis allowed them to extrapolate where and what kinds of unknown species of the four main vertebrate groups are most likely to yet be identified.”

BBC: One of biology’s biggest mysteries ‘largely solved’ by AI

BBC: One of biology’s biggest mysteries ‘largely solved’ by AI. “One of biology’s biggest mysteries has been solved using artificial intelligence, experts have announced. Predicting how a protein folds into a unique three-dimensional shape has puzzled scientists for half a century. London-based AI lab, DeepMind, has largely cracked the problem, say the organisers of a scientific challenge.”

ScienceDaily: New virtual reality software allows scientists to ‘walk’ inside cells

ScienceDaily: New virtual reality software allows scientists to ‘walk’ inside cells. “The software, called vLUME, was created by scientists at the University of Cambridge and 3D image analysis software company Lume VR Ltd. It allows super-resolution microscopy data to be visualised and analysed in virtual reality, and can be used to study everything from individual proteins to entire cells.”

Machine learning takes on synthetic biology: algorithms can bioengineer cells for you (EurekAlert)

EurekAlert: Machine learning takes on synthetic biology: algorithms can bioengineer cells for you. “…scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new tool that adapts machine learning algorithms to the needs of synthetic biology to guide development systematically. The innovation means scientists will not have to spend years developing a meticulous understanding of each part of a cell and what it does in order to manipulate it; instead, with a limited set of training data, the algorithms are able to predict how changes in a cell’s DNA or biochemistry will affect its behavior, then make recommendations for the next engineering cycle along with probabilistic predictions for attaining the desired goal.”

EurekAlert: Human Brain Project launches ‘Brain Matters’ webinar series

EurekAlert: Human Brain Project launches ‘Brain Matters’ webinar series. “The hour-long sessions will focus on different areas of brain research and feature expert speakers, with the goal of highlighting the HBP’s scientific achievements and the state-of-the-art services offered by its new infrastructure for brain research, EBRAINS.” The webinars are free and open to the public.

Taipei Times: Taiwan’s wildlife database the second-largest in Asia

Taipei Times: Taiwan’s wildlife database the second-largest in Asia . “A database on biodiversity in Taiwan has compiled records of almost 10 million wildlife sightings, making it the second-largest wildlife index in Asia, with the vast majority of data coming from volunteers, the Council of Agriculture’s Endemic Species Research Institute said. The Taiwan Biodiversity Network, which was launched in 2007, has recorded 9.87 million animal and plant sightings, Ko Chih-jen (柯智仁), an assistant researcher at the institute, said… adding that India maintains Asia’s largest database with up to 19 million recorded sightings.”

Universiteit Leiden: New database brings structure to global fungal diversity

Universiteit Leiden: New database brings structure to global fungal diversity. “An organized overview of the current global fungal diversity, that is what Irene Martorelli and colleagues try to achieve with the new MycoDiversity Database (MDDB) she builds in collaboration with Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The new database will make it easier and quicker to observe which fungi are known and how they are distributed over the globe. This may lead to discovery of new fungal species.”

PLOS Blogs: Introducing the Biodiversity Conservation Collection

PLOS Blogs: Introducing the Biodiversity Conservation Collection. “It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of our Biodiversity Conservation Collection. This Collection showcases research on a broad range of conservation science related topics, including anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity, such as habitat degradation, the spread of invasive species and global warming; conservation of key ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration and pest regulation; and new management strategies to prevent further biodiversity loss.”

University of Virginia: UVA Creates Important New Tool For Developing Covid-19 Treatments, Vaccines

University of Virginia: UVA Creates Important New Tool For Developing Covid-19 Treatments, Vaccines. “Wladek Minor of the University of Virginia School of Medicine and other top structural biologists have led an international team of scientists in investigating the protein structures contained in the virus – structures that are vital to developing treatments and vaccines. The team has created a web resource that provides scientists an easy way to see the progress of the structural biology community in this area. It also includes the team’s assessment of the quality of the individual models and enhanced versions of these structures, when possible.”