Scientists have directly seen the first step in a light-driven chemical reaction for the first time. They used an X-ray free-electron laser at SLAC to capture nearly instantaneous changes in the distribution of electrons when light hit a ring-shaped molecule called CHD. Within 30 femtoseconds, or millionths of a billionth […]

Catmint emits the odor nepetalactone which triggers a kind of ecstasy in sexually mature cats: They get high on sniffing at catmint plants, roll on the floor and exhibit an unusually playful behavior. Credit: Phil Robinson, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK Researchers discover the evolutionary origins of the cat attractant […]

For more than 40 years, scientists have hypothesized the existence of enzyme clusters, or “metabolons,” in facilitating various processes within cells. Using a novel imaging technology combined with mass spectrometry, researchers at Penn State, for the first time, have directly observed functional metabolons involved in generating purines, the most abundant […]

The 1950s and 60s Minamata tragedy was tied to mercury compounds dumped from a nearby chemical plant, but the precise form of mercury involved has remained unclear. A new study, performed in part at SLAC, has identified a previously unknown culprit. Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory The 1950s and […]

Fossil rudist bivalves (Vaccinites) from the Al-Hajar Mountains, United Arab Emirates. Beer stein-shaped distant relative of modern clams captured snapshots of hot days in the late Cretaceous. Earth turned faster at the end of the time of the dinosaurs than it does today, rotating 372 times a year, compared to […]

Scientists Identify Microbe That Could Help Degrade Polyurethane-Based Plastics A strain of an extremophile group of bacteria is capable of ingesting toxic organic compounds as its sole source of carbon, nitrogen, and energy. There may be a small answer to one of the biggest problems on the planet. German researchers […]

The golden color illustrates the deposition of biocompatible polymers on two genetically targeted neurons at right, sparing neighboring cells. The selective deposition of these polymers, which can be electrically insulating or conductive, makes it possible to modulate target cell properties in living tissues and animals. Blue diamond particles represent the […]

This image shows a fold (shape) that may have been one of the earliest proteins in the evolution of metabolism. Credit: Vikas Nanda/Rutgers University Rutgers researchers retraced the evolution of enzymes over billions of years. Rutgers researchers have discovered the origins of the protein structures responsible for metabolism: simple molecules […]

Is life a game of chance? To help answer one of the great existential questions — how did life begin? — a new study combines biological and cosmological models. Professor Tomonori Totani from the Department of Astronomy looked at how life’s building blocks could spontaneously form in the universe — […]

Monsanto’s controversial herbicides have been sprayed on fields for decades GETTY IMAGES German chemical giant Bayer is to appeal against a Missouri court’s award of $265m (£203m) to a US peach grower who blamed a herbicide for crop damage. Farmer Bill Bader sued Bayer and BASF, alleging that dicamba weedkiller […]