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. “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.”
La Cruces Bulletin: State museum puts fossil, biological specimens online. “The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS) has opened the door to more than 110,000 fossil and biological specimens. Thanks to an anonymous gift, the museum’s collection records are now publicly available through Arctos, an online database.”
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.”
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. “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 . “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. “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. “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. “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.”
Yale News: Yale, Field Museum map species diversity in South American national parks. “Park rangers, naturalists, tourists, educators, and land managers can now take a virtual tour of species diversity across three South American countries thanks to a new information dashboard created by researchers at Yale University and the Field Museum in Chicago. The Biodiversity Dashboard lists almost 5,500 species found in and around national parks in three of the world’s most biodiverse countries: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.”
PLOS Blogs: Introducing the Life in Extreme Environments Collection. “We are delighted to introduce a Collection entitled Life in Extreme Environments, consisting of papers published in PLOS Biology and PLOS ONE. This interdisciplinary Collection helps us better understand the diversity of life on Earth in addition to the biological processes, geochemistry, and nutrient cycling taking place in many of the Earth’s most inhospitable environments, while also enabling us to make inferences about the potential for life beyond Earth.”
Wired: Pop Culture May Evolve at the Same Rate as Birds and Bugs. “We like to think modern culture moves at a dizzying pace, fueled by a relentless parade of new works of music, literature, and technological design. Change in nature, by contrast, seems to follow a slower trajectory as genetic mutations over generations give animals bigger teeth, say, or a better camouflage. But maybe the opposite is true, and human culture doesn’t move so fast and we consumers are less eager to embrace change than we realize.”
BusinessWire: Kramer Levin Launches Biologics Law Blog (PRESS RELEASE). “Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP today launched the Bio Law Blog, which provides insights into intellectual property law and regulatory developments for biologic medicines. The blog is edited by Kramer Levin partners Irena Royzman, Ph.D., Jonathan S. Caplan and Hannah Lee.” I wasn’t sure what “biologic medicine” was, but MedicineNet helped me out.